The market summaries on this page are available in weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual editions, and also include a video, multimedia version of the monthly, quarterly, and annual editions. Market summaries contain information on the Dow, S&P 500, NASDAQ, Russell 2000, Global Dow, Federal Funds interest rate, and 10-year Treasury yields, along with highlights of recent events important to the markets and future dates for key data releases.

Key Dates/Data Releases

12/15: Industrial production, Empire State manufacturing survey, international capital flows

12/16: Housing starts

12/17: Consumer inflation, FOMC meeting

12/18: Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey

12/19: Quadruple witching options expiration

Market Week: December 15, 2014

The Markets

Concerns about the global economic impact of the ongoing turmoil in oil helped prompt a sharp drop in equities. The decline in oil prices, which accelerated last week, has left crude down more than 45% from its mid-June high. After seven straight weeks of gains in the S&P 500, equities investors took some money off the table, handing both the S&P 500 and Dow industrials their worst weekly point losses since 2011 and dragging the Russell 2000 small caps back into negative year-to-date territory. The Global Dow also suffered because of lower oil prices' potential ramifications for emerging markets and their currencies. The turbulence renewed demand for the security of the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note; its yield plunged as prices rose.

Market/Index2013 ClosePrior WeekAs of 12/12Weekly ChangeYTD Change
DJIA16576.6617958.7917280.83-3.78% 4.25%
Nasdaq4176.594780.764653.60-2.66% 11.42%
S&P 5001848.362075.362002.33-3.52% 8.33%
Russell 20001163.641182.431152.45-2.54% -.96%
Global Dow2484.102565.632459.30-4.14% -1.00%
Fed. Funds.25%.25%.25%0%0%
10-year Treasuries3.04%2.31%2.10%-21 bps -94 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week's Headlines

  • The International Energy Agency forecast that increased oil supplies and continued weak global growth would mean higher oil inventories during the first half of next year. Coupled with an announcement that Saudi production levels will remain at current levels, that helped cut oil prices to less than $60 a barrel; as recently as mid-June it was roughly $107. Those losses in turn prompted Russia and Norway to take measures to support their respective oil-dependent economies. Russia's central bank raised its key interest rate to try to support the ruble while Norway's central bank cut rates to try to stimulate domestic growth.
  • Despite a lackluster Black Friday weekend, retail sales shot up 0.7% in November, and the Commerce Department said they were 5.1% higher than in November 2013. Auto sales were almost 10% higher than a year earlier, and nonstore retail sales rose 8.7% in the same time.
  • Wholesale prices fell an average of 0.2% in November; a 3% drop in energy costs during the month was responsible for most of the decline. November's lower prices left the annual inflation rate at 1.4% for the last 12 months; according to Bureau of Labor Statistics records, that's the lowest annual rate since February. Even aside from the volatile food and energy sectors, producer prices were down 0.1% for the month.
  • The U.S. Congress passed a spending bill for the next fiscal year, eliminating the threat of a government shutdown. Conflicts over the bill's rollback of some Dodd-Frank banking regulations, higher limits on donations to political parties, and funding for the Homeland Security Department threatened to derail the legislation, which the White House has said the president will sign.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a vote of confidence for his so-called "Abenomics" fiscal policies; despite Japan's recent slide into recession, voters once again gave Abe's Liberal Democratic Party a majority in the country's parliament.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Investors are likely to focus on crude and "considerable time": whether oil prices are likely to stabilize, even temporarily, and whether the Federal Reserve will drop its "considerable time" estimate of how long it might preserve current interest rates. And as the end of 2014 draws closer, year-end tax-related profit-taking and/or tax-loss harvesting also could play an increasing role in market movements.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.





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