Markets move higher as the holiday period kicks off

The Big Number
The average spent per shopper during the 2018 holiday period.

What this means
Many investors are expecting another strong holiday shopping season this year due to a vibrant job market, strong consumer confidence, and healthy consumer balance sheets.  Online sales were a record $7.4 billion on Black Friday, up 19% from 2018, according to Adobe Analytics.

Market Notes
U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) was revised higher than previously reported – up 2.1% versus an earlier estimate of 1.9%. Trade talks continued to dominate sentiment with good news rewarded and bad news ignored for the moment. The U.S. Federal Reserve appears firmly on hold.

The Markets’ Reaction
U.S. markets hit another all-time high last week on continued optimism around trade. The S&P 500 climbed 1.0% while small caps, as measured by the Russell 2000, rallied, closing up 2.2%. Benchmark government interest rates ended modestly lower with the MOVE Index, a measure of volatility, at its lowest point since the last Fed rate cut in July.

What to Watch
It’s a big week for economic data.  Monday’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) manufacturing numbers came in better than expected across the board.  Wednesday’s PMI will offer a similar view of the services sector and the economy as a whole. Friday’s release of jobs report and consumer confidence data will provide an update on U.S. consumer health.

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