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.
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.
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