The bull market in U.S. stocks is getting old. This bull has been charging, standing, or sitting for more than eight years. In April, it became the second longest bull market in American history, according to CNN Money.
There are some good reasons the stock market in the United States has continued to trend higher. For one, companies have become more profitable. During the first quarter of 2017, companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reported earnings increased by 14 percent, year-over-year. That was the highest earnings growth rate since 2011, according to FactSet.In addition, the economy in the United States has been chugging along at a steady pace. CIO Charles Lieberman wrote in Bloomberg View:
“…U.S. economic growth is continuing at a moderate pace, an economic recovery is finally underway in Europe, inflation is under control, corporate profits are rising, and there is some prospect for tax reform and deregulation, even if whatever gets implemented is less than what is really needed. These conditions imply continued growth in corporate profits.”
Last week’s employment report boosted both stock and bond markets. Financial Times opined the report was weak enough to ease pressure on bond rates and strong enough to boost share prices higher.
We hope you have a great week,
Pat Meidell, Laif Meidell and Heidi Foster
Weekly Economic Update
JOB CREATION, JOBLESS RATE DOWN IN MAY
A day after ADP’s employment change report estimated a hiring gain of 253,000 in May, the Department of Labor’s latest jobs report told a far different story. It said employers added just 138,000 workers last month. The U-3 jobless rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3% in May, partly because of people dropping out of the labor force. The U-6 rate, counting the underemployed, decreased to a 10-year low of 8.4%. Annualized wage growth improved 0.2% to 2.5%.1,2
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX DECLINES
The Conference Board’s monthly consumer confidence gauge remained well north of 100 in May. It came in at 117.9. The index actually descended 1.5 points from its (downwardly revised) April reading of 119.4.1
FACTORY GROWTH MAINTAINS ITS PACE
Rising a tenth of a percentage point to 54.9, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing manager index showed healthy sector expansion in May. ISM last measured a sector contraction (a reading below 50) in August.3
PERSONAL SPENDING INCREASES
In April, consumer spending grew by 0.4% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Additionally, the BEA revised the previously flat March personal spending number up to a 0.3% gain. Personal incomes also rose 0.4% in the fourth month of the year, twice the improvement seen in March.1
NO REINING IN THE BULLS
Rising 0.93% across four trading days, the S&P 500 ended last week at 2,439.07. The Nasdaq Composite continued its red-hot run, gaining 1.50% for the week to a June 2 close of 6,305.80. Settling at 21,206.29 Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.56% across its last four trading sessions. The CBOE VIX “fear index” closed at a remarkably low 9.79 Friday, down 30.27% YTD.4,5
ISM’s May non-manufacturing PMI appears Monday, along with data on April factory orders, and earnings from Casey’s General Stores, Dave & Buster’s, and Thor Industries. Conn’s, Fred’s, and Michaels Companies announce earnings on Tuesday. Navistar reports quarterly results on Wednesday. Thursday, Wall Street examines new initial jobless claims figures and earnings news from Dell Technologies, J.M. Smucker, and Verifone. Nothing major is slated for Friday.