Benchmarks Set New Records, Defensive Sectors Outperform

Wall Street continued its record-setting trend with the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq setting all-time highs. The major benchmark averages ended the week higher for a third time in a row, building on post-Election Day rally that has advanced the blue chip index by more than 7% and the S&P 500 by 6%.

On Friday, consumer stocks were underpinned by upbeat holiday sales by retailers, while defensive sectors outperformed. Energy shares led decliners with oil down more than 3% after Saudi Arabia said it would not attend the non-OPEC meeting on Monday, raising doubts that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will agree to production cuts to support the price of oil. As a result, the energy sector of the S&P was the only sector in the red, down 0.39% from Wednesday.

Economic data was light in Friday’s shortened session and had little impact on the financial markets. The U.S.’s trade deficit in goods widened to a larger-than-expected $62.0 billion from $56.1 billion in September.

Additionally, the purchasing managers preliminary services sector index for November declined to 54.7 from 54.8 in October, but maintained its robust pace of growth.

Crude oil was down $1.63 to $46.34 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.06 to $3.21 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $9.90 to $1,179.60 an ounce, while silver was up $0.08 to $16.57 an ounce. Copper was up $0.06 to $2.68 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 3.19% to $10.33 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.89% to $8.08. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.15% to 20.48 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.71% $112.45. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.81% to $15.65.

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