Into the home stretch

  • Stocks post best week since Nov. 1, best month since June
  • Small caps, take a bow
  • This week: Jobs and manufacturing

It only had four days to do it, but last week the US stock market put together its best overall week since November 1, banging out a few new records and opening December on pace to make 2019 one of the strongest years of the past six decades.

Despite slumping on Friday, the SPX rallied 1% last week, pushed its November gain to 3.4%, and added three more all-time highs to its recent run:

Chart 1: S&P 500 (SPX), 10/25/19–11/29/19. S&P 500 (SPX) price chart. Latest records

Source: Power E*TRADE

The Thanksgiving-shortened week featured mostly market-friendly news, including more strong retail earnings, favorable signals on Tuesday about US-China trade negotiations, an upwardly revised Q3 GDP estimate (2.1%), and early indications of a strong holiday shopping season.1

One potential storm cloud appeared on Friday after President Trump signed two bills intended to show support for protestors in Hong Kong, a move China described as a “serious interference in China’s internal affairs.”2

The SPX, Dow, and NDX may have bagged the records, but small–caps led last week’s charge. Thanks in large part to a breakout rally on Monday, the Russell 2000 (RUT) pushed to its highest level since October 2018 and outgained the other major US indexes by a wide margin:

US stock index performance table for week ending 11/29/19. S&P 500 (SPX), Nasdaq 100 (NDX), Russell 2000 (RUT), Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

Source: Power E*TRADE

Sector roundup: The strongest S&P 500 sectors last week were consumer discretionary (+1.8%), information technology (+1.7%), and real estate (+1.4%). The weakest sectors were energy (-1.6%), utilities (-0.03%), and industrials (+0.3%).

Power moves: The Medicines Company (MDCO) surged for the second week in a row, jumping 22% to $83.75 on Monday. On Tuesday Chemocentryx (CCXI) exploded 281% to $30.73. On the downside, MTS (MTSC) fell 23% to $46.92 on Tuesday.

Futures action: A roughly 4.5% slide on Friday dropped January WTI crude oil (CLF0) to a six-day low of $55.45/barrel. December gold (GCZ9) stagnated around its four-month lows until a Friday rebound pushed prices to around $1,463/ounce.

Coming this week

Friday’s jobs report highlights a busy week of economic releases:

●Monday: PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending

●Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales

●Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, PMI Services Index, ISM Non-Manufacturing Index

●Thursday: International Trade, Factory Orders

●Friday: Employment Report, Consumer Sentiment, Wholesale Trade, Consumer Credit

This week’s earnings include:

●Monday: AZZ (AZZ)

●Tuesday: Land’s End (LE), Marvell Technology (MRVL), Healthequity (HQY), Workday (WDAY), (CRM), Zscaler (ZS)

●Wednesday: G-III Apparel (GIII), National Beverage (FIZZ), H&R Block (HRB), Five Below (FIVE), Campbell Soup (CPB), Children’s Place (PLCE), Slack Technologies (WORK), RH (RH)

●Thursday: Broadcom (AVGO), Ulta Beauty (ULTA), Tiffany (TIF), Dollar General (DG), Zoom Video Communications (ZM), Kroger (KR), Crowdstrike (CRWD), DocuSign (DOCU)

●Friday: Big Lots (BIG), Genesco (GCO)

Go to the E*TRADE market calendar (login required) for an up-to-date earnings schedule and a complete list of splits, dividends, IPOs, and economic reports. The Active Trader Commentary also lists earnings announcements, IPOs and economic report times each morning.

The air up there. The SPX’s 25.3% year-to-date return through November is the index’s sixth-highest since 1959. In fact, if the year had ended on Friday, it would have been the SPX’s 11th-strongest annual return of the past 60 years.

And for those who like to keep tabs on some of those big, round-number market milestones: The DJIA closed Friday just 3.4% below 29,000, and 7% below 30,0000.


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1 Black Friday online sales up 19% by mid-morning. Shoppers spent record amount online Thanksgiving Day. 11/29/19.

2 MarketWatch. China furious, while Hong Kong celebrates after U.S. legislation. 11/29/19.

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