What's Now: Archive

Whats Now — week ended January 28, 2011
After enjoying a two-month winning streak that saw the Dow briefly surpass the 12,000 mark, investors decided protests in Egypt were a good excuse for taking some profits off the table. Only the small-cap Russell 2000 kept its head above water, though it remained negative for the year.

Market/Index 2010 Close Prior Week As of 1/28 Week Change YTD Change
DJIA 11577.51 11871.84 11823.70 -.41% 2.13%
NASDAQ 2652.87 2689.54 2686.89 -.10% 1.28%
S&P 500 1257.64 1283.35 1276.34 -.55% 1.49%
Russell 2000 783.65 773.18 775.40 .29% -1.05%
Global Dow 2087.44 2142.93 2139.11 -.18% 2.48%
Fed. Funds .25% .25% .25% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 3.30% 3.44% 3.36% -8 bps 6 bps

The performance data quoted represents past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results.  


Last Week's Headlines

  • The U.S. economy grew faster during the final quarter of 2010 than it had in the previous quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The initial estimate of a 3.2% annual growth rate was fueled by both consumer and business spending as well as stronger exports and reduced imports. It was a substantial improvement from the third quarter's 2.6% growth.
  • Sales of new single-family homes shot up 17.5% in December to the highest level since last March, according to the Commerce Department, though sales for all of 2010 were still more than 14% lower than the year before.
  • Home prices fell in November in 19 of the 20 metropolitan areas tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller Index. The 1.6% decrease was the sixth straight month of declines in the annual pace of sales.
  • The Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) will continue its bond purchases, saying inflation (other than food and energy prices) is not strong enough to warrant halting the program. Though the Fed acknowledged that the economy is beginning to recover, it said that recovery is not yet strong enough to improve the employment picture substantially.
  • Durable goods orders for such items as business equipment and automobiles fell 2.5% in December, according to the Census Bureau. The decline — the fourth in the last five months — was largely the result of lower numbers for transportation equipment; excluding transportation, orders actually rose 0.5%, though defense-related spending accounted for most of that increase. Business inventories were up for the 12th consecutive month.
  • The official commission charged with investigating the causes of the 2008 financial crisis said the disaster could have been avoided but that warning signs were ignored. The report cited failures in corporate governance and regulatory oversight, overleveraged consumers and companies, ill-prepared policymakers, and systematic breaches of accountability and ethics as keys to the debacle, which the report said could occur again if the issues aren't addressed.

The Week Ahead

Tensions in the Middle East may keep investors worried about the potential impact on oil prices (and the potential for higher oil prices to affect equities). Friday's unemployment figures coupled with Monday's data on incomes and spending will suggest the state of the consumer's wallet as earnings reports continue to roll in.

Key dates and data releases: Personal income/spending (1/31); auto sales, U.S. manufacturing, construction spending (2/1); labor productivity and costs, factory orders, U.S. services sector (2/3); unemployment/payrolls (2/4).

Whats Now — week ended January 21, 2011
After coming out of the long weekend at its highest level since August 2008, the NASDAQ plummeted more than 2.0%, with many tech companies being hit particularly hard. The small-cap Russell 2000, which has led for much of the multi-year rally, also took a hit, giving up all of its year-to-date gains and more. However, the Dow hit a new post-2008 high, assuming the role of year-to-date leader for domestic equities, and the S&P 500 had its eighth straight week of gains despite a midweek stumble.
2010 Close
Prior Week
As of 1/21
Week Change
YTD Change
S&P 500
Russell 2000
Global Dow
Fed. Funds
0 bps
0 bps
10-year Treasuries
9 bps
14 bps

The performance data quoted represents past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results.  

Last Week's Headlines
  • Building permits for December were up 16.7% for the month, though still 2.8% below the previous December. However, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said housing starts fell 4.3% from November.
  • Home resales rose 12.3% in December, according to the National Association of Realtors®, though the level was still roughly 25% lower than the 2005 peak.
  • According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the Chinese economy grew 10.3% in 2010, 1.1% higher than the previous year.
  • The Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators index rose 1% in December. It was the fourth consecutive monthly increase, and was led by improvements in housing permits, interest rate spreads, unemployment statistics and consumer expectations

Whats Now — week ended January 7, 2011


Those who believe the first five days of the year say something about the direction of stocks for the rest of the year should be happy. Despite a subdued reaction to the best news on the jobs front in almost two years, both the Dow and the S&P 500 saw their sixth straight week of gains, with most of that increase coming on the first trading day of the year.


2010 Close

Prior Week

As of

Week Change

YTD Change

DJIA 11577.51 11577.51 11674.76 .84% .84%
NASDAQ 2652.87 2652.87 2703.17 1.90% 1.90%
S&P 500 1257.64 1257.64 1271.50 1.10% 1.10%
Russell 2000 783.659 783.653 787.832 .53% .53%
Global Dow 2087.44 2087.44 2092.80 .26% .26%
Fed. Funds .25% .25% .25% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 3.30% 3.30% 3.34% 4 bps 4 bps

The performance data quoted represents past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results.  

Last Week's Headlines

  • December's 9.4% unemployment rate was the most improved since May 2009, and a substantial decline from November's 9.8% rate. Nonfarm payrolls added 103,000 jobs, with most of those jobs in health care as well as leisure and hospitality-related companies.
  • New factory orders continued to rise; the Commerce Department said new orders were up 0.7% in November, which was the fourth increase in the last five months. Construction spending was up slightly in November, with residential construction being responsible for much of the 0.4% increase over the previous month. However, residential building was still 6.0% lower than during the previous November.
  • Manufacturing in the U.S. continued to improve in December. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Index rose to 57, representing its 17th consecutive month of increases (anything over 50 indicates growth). The ISM's measure of the services sector was 57.1, which was more than two points higher than the November figure, and was the index's 12th straight monthly increase.
  • Minutes of the Federal Reserve's Open Markets Committee suggested that members weren't concerned about the rise in long-term interest rates that followed last year's new round of quantitative easing, attributing the increase primarily to economic recovery.
  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court raised new questions about future problems for the financial sector when it voided two home foreclosures on the grounds that the banks involved had failed to prove they held the titles to the homeowners' mortgages.



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