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Weekly market wrap Dec. 8, 2017: Markets edge up as U.S. job creation booms
1/19/2019 3:48:13 PM
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By Fund Library News Wire  | Friday, December 08, 2017


By Mike Keerma

The main North American stock market gauges turned higher on the week following the release of robust U.S. job-creation data. Markets also cheered progress between the U.K and the European Commission on Brexit talks. The broad U.S. blue-chip S&P 500 Composite Index advanced 0.4% on the week, closing at a record high on Friday, while the Nasdaq Composite Index ended the week flat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed Friday at a record high of 24,329.16. Canada’s benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 0.4% on the week. Gold slid 2.6% on the week, while crude oil dropped 1.7% on rising U.S. production and increasing gasoline inventory.

The monthly U.S. job creation report showed that the economy added 228,000 new positions in November, while the unemployment rate remained at an ultra-low 4.1%, raising concerns that there aren’t enough workers to fill the available jobs. Wage growth remained tightly bound, rising only 0.2% in the month (an annual 2.5% rate). The strong job gains may augur a rate hike by the Federal Reserve Board next week, despite the tepid pace of wage growth. Markets were additionally buoyed as the U.S. Congress approved a two-week government funding bill to avert a weekend shutdown.

In business news, industrial giant General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), whose share price has been sliding steadily through the year, said that it plans to cut 12,000 jobs at its GE Power division, following an announcement last month that it is cutting its dividend by 50%, selling US$20 billion in assets over the next two years, and refocusing its business on aviation, healthcare, and energy.

And crypto-currency Bitcoin slipped back to the US$15,000 level on Friday after breaking through US$17,000 on Thursday. The controversial digital currency has advanced 1,600% in the year, with options set to begin trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Saturday, and futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in a week’s time.

In Canada, the Bank of Canada left its target overnight bank rate unchanged sat 1%, despite strong economic growth that continued in the third quarter. The Canadian dollar closed the week down at US$0.7779 as a result. The BoC pointed to the risks to Canada of NAFTA and other trade negotiations becoming unglued, and maintained a cautious stance on future rate policy.

Check Fund Library’s Market Activity page regularly for active updates on key market indexes and commodities.

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© 2017 by Fund Library. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part by any means without prior written permission is prohibited.

The foregoing is for general information purposes only and is the opinion of the writer. No guarantee of investment performance is made or implied. It is not intended to provide specific personalized advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice.

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