Fund Library News Wire
| Friday, October 13, 2017
By Mike Keerma
The major U.S. stock indices again registered record high closes last week,
as market sentiment fed on positive earnings reports from the financial
sector, as well as a surge in consumer sentiment, an uptick in inflation
readings, and a jump in September retail sales. Market momentum brushed
aside any lingering concerns over natural disasters and rising geopolitical
tensions, including President Trump’s refusal on Friday to certify Iran’s
compliance with a 2015 nuclear agreement. The
S&P 500 Composite Index edged up 0.2% on the week, for a 14% year-to-date gain, while the
Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.2%, putting it ahead 23% year to date. Toronto’s benchmark
S&P/TSX Composite Index, meanwhile, posted a 0.5% gain on the week, led by broad strength in the
materials, base metals, mining, gold, and financial sectors.
Gold closed Friday with a 1.2% advance on the week, while
crude oil surged 4.2%.
The headline all-items U.S. consumer price index rose at an annual rate of
2.2% in September, up from 1.9% in August, the highest in six months, as
higher energy prices and offline refineries drove price increases through
the month. The core rate, which strips out volatile items like food and
energy, rose a more sedate annual rate of 1.7%, unchanged for the past five
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to its highest
level in 13 years, climbing to 101.1 in October, up from 95.1 in September,
as U.S. retail sales jumped 1.6% in the month, led by car and truck sales,
home-supply sales, and gas station sales in the wake of hurricane damage in
Florida and Texas.
President Trump announced on Friday that he will not certify Iran’s
compliance with a nuclear deal struck in 2015, and directed the Treasury
Department to impose sanctions on Iran’s authoritarian Revolutionary Guard
Corps. The Iran deal itself has been sent to Congress for a mandated 60-day
review on whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran. The move had little impact
on crude oil prices and even less on stock markets. Gold, however, posted a
1.2% gain on the week.
In company news, a decision by the Ontario Superior Court last week has
given the moribund
Sears Canada (OTC: SRSCQ) the green light to liquidate remaining assets in the absence of a viable
offer for what remains of the company. The move will see the closure of the
remaining 130 stores across Canada by Jan. 21, with a loss of 12,000 jobs.
The liquidation brings to an end the storied department store chain, which
for many of its 65 years in Canada dominated the retail landscape with both
its department store and catalogue operations in competition with other
such now defunct chains as Eaton’s and Simpson’s.
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