Market Wrap-up for Dec. 5 - Reviewing the First Week of December

Market Wrap-up for Dec. 5 – Reviewing the First Week of December

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The first week of December saw both the Dow and the S&P 500 log in record closes as investors digested severalĀ economic reports and earnings results. Below, we highlight the most important things that happened this week.

Monday

U.S. equity markets started off the first trading day of December on a sour note, with the Dow Jones Industrial average shedding 51.44 points.

Two factory reports from China showed only modest expansion for November. Data from Germany, France, and Italy showed a contraction in manufacturing sectors. As a result, shares of General Electric (GE) and Caterpillar (CAT) were among the worst performers of the day.

Further weighing on stocks was a rather disappointing weekend for retailers. Reports showed lower-than-expected Black Friday sales, and an 11% decline in sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. Big time retailers, like Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT), fell on Monday as a result.

Tuesday

On Tuesday, equities managed to push into positive territory, as energy shares rebounded from recent steep losses (due to a nearly 30% decline in oil prices this year). Chevron (CVX) and ExxonMobil (XOM) were among the best Dow performers.

On the economic front, construction spending rose 1.1% in October, beating analyst expectations for a 0.6% rise.

In corporate news:

Wednesday

Both the Dow and S&P 500 managed to close at record highs on Wednesday, with energy shares advancing roughly 1.2%. The energy sector rebounded after crude rose 0.7% to $67.38 a barrel.

In labor market news, private payrolls increased by 208,000 in November, below the expected 223,000 increase. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing purchasing managers index was also reported, rising from 57.1 to 59.3 in October, beating analyst expectations.

On the corporate front:

Thursday

Markets edged lower on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced that it will not introduce any additional stimulus until possibly early next year. Stocks managed to pare losses around midday, after a report from Bloomberg news indicated that the ECB will likely announce a bond-buying program sometime in January.

In corporate news:

Friday

U.S. equities rose on Friday, after a better-than-expected report from the Labor Department. Nonfarm payrolls roseĀ a seasonally adjusted 321,000 in November, the strongest figure seen since January 2012 and well above expectations of 230,000. The data also put payroll gains on track to log in its strongest year in more than 15 years.

The unemployment rate was reported at 5.8% for November, unchanged from October, but still at its lowest level since 2008.

On the corporate front, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) missed earnings estimates, but managed to beat revenue expectations.

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