Hello and welcome to this week’s Jones Financial Blog! Our goal at Jones & Associates is to help keep you up to date with interesting current economic/market happenings as well as some proprietary portfolio happenings. Knowledge is power and thought we would share some of ours with you. Enjoy!
All data is for the week ended December 31, 2021.
Equities rose for the final week of the year in nearly all of the major markets in a week that has historically been marked by low volumes due to the holidays. The S&P 500 increased 0.87% while the Russell 2000 advanced 0.21%. The NASDAQ declined by 0.05%. Overseas, the international developed markets (MSCI EAFE) added 0.96% while the emerging markets (MSCI EM) grew 1.15%. In the US real estate and materials were the best performing sectors while communications services and consumer discretionary were the lagging sectors. Value outperformed growth stocks. (1)
Bond prices eased while yields edged up across most maturities. The 2-year, 10-year and 30-year Treasuries ended the week with yields of 0.73%, 1.52% and 1.90%, respectively. Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages were unchanged from the prior week at 3.27%. (1)
US crude oil inventories decreased by 3.6 million barrels during the week ended Dec. 24 from the prior week. Inventories are about 7% below the five year average for this time of year. (2) The price of West Texas crude finished the week at $75.21 per barrel, up 1.92% for the week (3). OPEC will meet this week to consider boosting oil production. (4)
First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to the second lowest tally during the pandemic, indicating continued recovery in the labor market. Initial jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 25 were 198,000, the lowest level since late 1969. Continuing claims dropped to a fresh pandemic low of 1.7 million. (5)
Proprietary portfolio happenings:
Company News (6)
Target Corp. (TGT), a Core Select holding, advanced 4.72% and The Home Depot (HD), a Core Select and G50 holding, advanced 4.52% following a report that US holiday sales across all retailers rose 8.5%, much stronger than anticipated given concerns for supply chain issues and the latest Covid variants. (7)
Did You Know? K-2 Is Also Known as the Savage Mountain
K-2 is the world’s second-highest mountain in the world, situated on the China-Pakistan border. It was named “the Savage Mountain” after George Bell (an American explorer) climbed the mountain in 1953 and said, “It’s a savage mountain that tries to kill you.”
Of all the highest mountains in the world, K-2 is indeed the deadliest.
(6) All weekly changes in company stock prices: Yahoo Finance