The Strength of the Market is: Strong but Weakening
After January's rout, stocks have now gained for two consecutive weeks. Last week, the S&P 500 was 1.5% higher, the Nasdaq rose 2.4% and the Dow Jones was up 1.1%. Friday's much stronger-than-expected jobs report looks to keep the Federal Reserve on track to begin raising interest rates, starting in March, and increase rates four or more times this year.
Economic reports from last week came back mostly positive: •Manufacturing (Dallas) - worse than expectation •Job Openings - better than expectation •Construction Spending - worse than expectation •Vehicle Sales - better than expectation •Private Employment - worse than expectation •Jobless Claims - better than expectation •Labor Productivity/Costs - better than expectation •Total Employment - better than expectation This week, investors will look for guidance from economic reports like Consumer Credit, Small Business Optimism, Consumer Sentiment and Jobless Claims.