The Week on Wall Street
Stocks advanced four days out of five during the past market week, erasing the losses of the week before.
The Nasdaq Composite surged 4.04%, the S&P 500 3.17%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average 3.00%. Foreign stocks also rallied: the MSCI EAFE index added 2.21%.
China Plans to Halve Some Tariffs
Thursday, investors woke up to the news that China would be lowering import taxes on about $75 billion of U.S. products. Later this week, a set of 10% tariffs is slated to drop to 5%, and a group of 5% tariffs is scheduled to fall to 2.5%.
This reduction is part of the phase-one trade deal that China agreed to last month, a pact which may be a step toward a trade truce with the U.S.
January’s Net Job Gain: 225,000
The Department of Labor’s latest employment report exceeded expectations. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 165,000 net new hires last month. The main jobless rate ticked north to 3.6%; the U-6 rate including the underemployed rose 0.2% to 6.9%.
This upside surprise points to ongoing strength in the economy. Stocks declined Friday after the report’s release, however, as traders viewing the data saw less reason for a Federal Reserve rate cut in the near future.
A Manufacturing Positive
The U.S. factory sector grew last month, for the first time since July. The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector, which traders view as a fundamental economic indicator, came in at 50.9 in January; any reading above 50 indicates sector expansion.
Investors should note that U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed on Monday, February 17 for Presidents Day.