Weekly Commentary

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Another wild week on Wall Street saw equity indexes end mostly down, as investors grappled with a stream of disappointing economic news and heightened concerns about Ebola. While the S&P 500, DJIA and Nasdaq all lost ground despite a sharp Friday rally, the Russell 2000 Index of small cap stocks posted its first weekly gain in seven weeks. The CBOE Volatility Index spiked to its highest level since 2011 before easing, while safety-seeking investors sent the yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury bond to its lowest level since May 2013.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Markets continued to oscillate wildly as fears of the economic growth prospects in Europe and Asia weighed heavily on investors; last week saw both the biggest one-day gain for the DJIA in 2014 as well as the biggest one-day loss. The Nasdaq delivered its poorest weekly performance since 2012, and European stocks fared even worse. The CBOE Volatility Index touched the highest level since December 2012, while yield on the benchmark ten-year Treasury fell to a 16-month low near 2.28% before recovering somewhat.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A sharp rally on Friday following a stronger-than-expected jobs report wasn’t enough to save equity markets from another negative week; weakness in Europe, fears about the spread of Ebola and the emergence of Hong Kong as a new geopolitical hotspot weighed heavily. Yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury bond fell about 10 basis points on the week to finish around 2.44%. After soaring more than 35% in September, the CBOE Volatility Index fell sharply to begin October. The price of gold fell to a four-year low, while crude oil also declined to multi-year lows.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Markets ended mostly down in a volatile week of trading — the DJIA delivered triple-digit moves all five days — as an uncertain global landscape had skittish investors seeking safe havens. The CBOE Volatility Index spiked to September highs before pulling back. Yield on the benchmark ten-year Treasury drifted lower, while the U.S. dollar hit a two-year high against the euro and a four-year high against a basket of major currencies.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Little change resulted from the latest meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee. Citing significant slack in the job market despite the much-improved unemployment rate, the Fed reiterated that it would keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” — a phrase some observers thought may be excised from its rhetoric at this meeting. The central bank also indicated that it would end its asset-purchase program in October if data trends remained intact. Meanwhile, the Fed lowered its forecast for 2015 GDP growth to 2.6–3.0% from 3.0–3.2%.

Monday, September 15, 2014

U.S. stock markets posted their first weekly decline in six weeks, as investors fretted over the possibility that the Federal Reserve could adopt a more hawkish tone at its policy meeting September 16-17. Generally positive economic reports in the United States provided a little counterweight. The ten-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to 2.61% and the U.S. dollar gained against the euro and yen. Gold, oil and other commodities also fell for the week.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

U.S. equity markets finished flattish in what was an up-and-down week for stocks, as investors digested news out of Europe on both the policy and geopolitical fronts. Data flow on the home front, meanwhile, was mostly strong, with the notable exception of the latest nonfarm payrolls report.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Despite an uptick in Ukrainian/Russian tensions, equity markets surged through a light-volume holiday week to finish off August on a high note. With the week’s advance, the S&P 500 broke through the 2000 level for the first time and delivered its best month since February and its best August since 2000. Ten-year Treasury yields hit their lowest levels in more than a year, trading as low as 2.33% last week.

Monday, August 25, 2014

With geopolitical fears easing and U.S. economic data suggesting a continuation of the second quarter’s rebound, markets surged — the S&P 500 set a new record high, while the Nasdaq is trading at its highest level since 2000 — though concerns about Russia’s continued involvement in Ukraine flared on Friday to put a bit of a damper on the week. Ten-year Treasury yields traded as low as 2.38%, though finished slightly higher for the period.

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