US stocks posted another week of gains on a dovish Fed meeting, strong earnings results and positive jobs report. The S&P 500 climbed 1.6%, while the Dow rose 1.3% for the week. Abroad, Japan edged up 0.1% and Europe gained 0.5% for the week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell from the previous week to finish at 2.69%.
The January jobs report blew away expectations with 304,000 new hires added compared to the 170,000 expected. It was the 100th straight month of job gains, more than double the longest previous streak. However, there were revisions to November and December lowering hiring numbers by 70,000. The unemployment rate rose to 4% from 3.9%, its highest level since June, but that reading was impacted by the government shutdown. Wage growth remained muted rising 0.1% over December, but is up 3% from a year earlier.
As expected the Fed left the Fed Funds rate unchanged at its January meeting, and said they planned to be flexible with policy moving forward. They also announced they would be keeping more bonds on the balance sheet than they had expected to when they started unwinding the portfolio. 1/31
France’s economy grew 1.5% in 2018 down from 2.3% the previous year and Germany cut its growth outlook from 1.8% to 1% for 2019.
With nearly half of S&P 500 companies reporting earnings, 70% have topped profit estimates and companies are on track to post a 12% increase in profit.