On Friday (December 19, 2014), the U.S stock markets were positive. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increased by 0.15% to 17,805; the S&P 500 (SPX) rose by 0.47%, to 2,071; the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) rose by 0.35%, to 4,765.
On weekly basis, DJIA increased by 3%; S&P 500 increased by 3.4%; Nasdaq Composite rose by 2.4%.
On the year-to-date basis, DJIA increased by 7.41%, S&P 500 rose by 12.03%, and Nasdaq Composite increased by 14.10%.
Last week, U.S. investors focused on the following economic data and developments;
- The decrease in oil prices continued to weigh on energy stocks earlyin the week
- The slide in oil prices hit the Russian economy since half of the economy depends on oil exports. As a result, Russian currency Ruble plunged. Russian central bank raised its key interest rates by 6.5 points to 17.0%
- US Fed replaced its “considerable time approach” with “patience approach” in the last meeting of 2014. Fed said that it would be patient to raise interest rates. According to its estimates, the federal funds rate was projected at 1.125% and 2.5% by year-end 2015 and 2016.
- US weekly initial jobless claims fell by 6.000 to 289,000, which is lower than the estimate of 295,000. The four-week moving average fell to 298,750.
- US housing starts fell 1.6% in November, while housing permits fell 5.2%.
- US consumer prices fell in November by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% from October, the largest one-month drop since December 2008. Core prices without food or energy rose 0.1%.
- Markit’s flash US PMI fell to 53.7 in December from a final reading of 54.7 in November.
- US leading indicators rose by 0.6% in November, the same with expectations.
- US Empire State Manufacturing Index fell to -3.58 in December from 10.16 in November.
- US industrial production rose 1.3% in November from 0.1% in October.
- Japan’s exports fell 1.7% by volume in November, hurt by China’s slowdown.
- The flash HSBC China Manufacturing PMI contracted to 49.5, slightly below the November reading of 50.0.