The holiday season continues to be off to a strong start as Cyber Monday sales show an increase in spending of 17% from last year. The U.S. economy received some additional welcome news on Friday during the jobs report after the ISM manufacturing number caused fear of a possible slowdown. The U.S. added 266,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% nationally. The latest jobs report likely reinforces the expected Federal Reserve move to hold interest rates steady at their final meeting of 2019. Conflicting trade news remains a spotlight for investors, as a fresh round of tariff hikes is slated to go into effect on December 15th; however, it was reported that China’s State Council began the process of exempting some agriculture products from punitive tariffs in a probable attempt to get December’s hikes curbed.
After a rocky start, a robust jobs report helped propel domestic equities out of a slump for a weekly gain, and both international and emerging market stocks similarly advanced – despite some disappointing data coming out of the heavy manufacturing economy of Germany. Germany has narrowly avoided a recession in the third quarter. The risk-on sentiment from the jobs report caused a slight rise in Treasury yields and a decline in other haven assets. The Aramco IPO was priced to receive a total valuation of $1.7 trillion making it the world’s largest public company and largest-ever IPO – shares will begin trading next week. An OPEC meeting led to deeper production cuts and pushed oil prices higher, helping move the broader commodity index.
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