October’s positive trend has continued into the first half of November, with all three major markets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow), the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ Composite Index (NASDAQ) posting solid returns.
News on the labor front continues to be positive. The first half of November recorded back-to-back weekly record lows for jobless claims. The November 5th new jobs report showed an increase of 531,000, surprising many economists. What’s more, the new jobs were from a number of sectors suggesting broad hiring across the economy. October unemployment fell to 4.6% from September’s 4.8%.
The Federal Reserve (Fed) announced they would begin tapering “asset buying” this month. At the present level of tapering, they could end all purchases by June 2022. The Fed was very careful to point out that there are no plans for any immediate changes to interest rates.
Inflation continues to be a major concern to both the markets and investors. The inflation report for the month of October showed a year-over-year increase of 6.2%. This is the largest increase we’ve seen in over 3 decades. Markets dropped dramatically on the news, although they did begin to recover the in the days following the announcement.
As of November 15th, the markets all posted positive returns for the first half of the month. The Dow gained 262 points (0.75%), the S&P 500 grew by 77 points (1.68%) and the NASDAQ increased by 355 (2.29%).