ETF Scorecard: January 11 Edition
January 11, 2019 at 07:00 AM EST
Despite worries about trade wars and an economic slowdown across the board, the U.S. job market is making great strides. In the last month of 2018, the U.S. economy added 312,000 jobs, nearly double the figure expected by analysts. The showing for November itself was revised up by 21,000 to 176,000. At the same time, hourly earnings increased by 0.4% in December on average compared with 0.3% expected by pundits. Such a rise in hourly earnings has not been seen since September. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate jumped from 3.7% to 3.9%, a sign the labor market is expanding and more people are joining the labor force. Amid market turbulence, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell attempted to ease market concerns, saying he was aware of the risks stemmed from raising interest rates too quickly and was listening carefully to what the markets had to say. Stocks posted a strong rally this week. On Thursday, Powell spoke again, saying the Fed can be patient on monetary policy given the stable inflation. The Federal Reserve minutes revealed that policymakers have become more dovish, finally acknowledging the risks related to a slowdown in China, trade wars and political turbulence. U.S. non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped dramatically in December, from 60.7 to 57.6, signaling a deteriorating sentiment. U.S. crude oil inventories declined by 1.7 million barrels in the week ended January 4, following two straight weeks of flat gains. Stockpiles have not seen a weekly rise since the end of November when they ended a ten-week streak of gains. U.K. economic output expanded 0.2% in November, beating expectations of 0.1%. The upbeat figure comes as the country still struggles to reach a Brexit solution, with the government and the Parliament at odds. An increasingly likely scenario is to push back the March 29 exit date to avoid chaos.