Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through February 7th

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US stocks rose over the week over on stabilizing oil prices and improved corporate results.  The S&P 500 rose 3.0% and the Dow gained 3.8%.  Internationally, Europe was up 1.7%, but Japan edged down 0.1%.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury rose as investors moved away from safe havens to finish the week at 1.94%.  Oil ended the week at $51.69 a barrel.  Article

January’s unemployment report showed 257,000 new hires, topping expectations, and there were upward revisions to previous months to bring the three month total over 1 million the best stretch of hiring since 1997.  The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7% from 5.6% as more unemployed Americans resumed their search for work.  Article

Manufacturing activity fell in January to its lowest level since last January.  While still indicating growth, the pace has slowed significantly.  The exports gauge fell into contraction territory for the first time in two years showing how global growth issues are weighing on the US.  Article

Consumer spending fell 0.3% in December as consumers saved more.

The Fed’s preferred inflation measure was up just 0.7% in December from a year earlier, far below its 2% target.

US Auto sales jumped 14% in January helped by low rates and cheap gas.

The ECB announced it would no longer accept Greek bonds at collateral from banks.  The news puts a major dent into Greece’s attempts to ease its bailout terms.

China announced it was pumping $100 billion into the economy for banks to lend.  The news brought more unease about the country’s future growth.

Staples agreed to buy Office Depot for $6.3 billion.

RadioShack filed for bankruptcy.

With 309 companies reporting in the S&P 500, earnings are on pace to grow 3.5% from last year above initial forecasts of 1.1%.

S&P agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle allegations it misled investors with the ratings it assigned to mortgage bonds.



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