Market Commentary for the Week: 10 (5- 9 March 2018)

Stocks were up 3.5% on the week as markets rallied Thursday afternoon following President Trump’s proclamation that steel and aluminum tariffs would exclude imports from Canada and Mexico, and markets continued rising on Friday following February’s jobs report that showed robust job gains. Report shows that the economy added 313,000 jobs, much higher than the expected 205,000. This labor force growth kept the unemployment rate at 4.1%, matching its lowest level since 2000. But the 12-month increase in pay slipped to 2.6% from a revised 2.8% in January. The jobs report kept the Federal Reserve on track with interest-rate hikes this year. Markets appeared to largely push aside news that President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation to meet North Korea’s leader.

Stocks ended sharply higher on Friday. Dow Jones Industrial Average  advanced 1.8%, to 25,336. This is the first time the blue-chip index closed above 25,000 since Feb. 28. For the week, the Dow  was up by 3.3%.



The S&P 500 rose 1.7%, to 2,787. Financials, industrials and technology sectors all rallied more than 2%. The fourth-quarter earnings season is all but over, with most companies having reported results. It was a strong quarter. The percentage of S&P 500 companies that exceeded revenue projections is at a record high, and the percentage of companies that beat earnings estimates is the highest in more than six years.



The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1.8%. For the week, the S&P 500 was up by 3.5%, and the Nasdaq up by 4.2%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq notched its first closing record since Jan. 26. All three benchmark indexes posted their best weekly performance in three weeks.



Gold prices ended higher Friday, erasing their loss for the week. April gold rose $2.30, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,324 an ounce—up roughly 0.05%, for the week, leaving its year-to-date gain at roughly 0.8%.



Oil prices received a boost on Friday, notching a gain for the week, as the possibility of a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader prompted investors to take some geopolitical risk out of the equation for the crude market. News of the first weekly decline in the U.S. oil-rig count in seven weeks also contributed to oil’s price rise. April WTI crude rose $1.92, or 3.2%, to settle at $62.04 a barrel, turning what would’ve been a weekly loss into a climb of roughly 1.3% from the week-ago settlement.



Selling intensified for digital currencies on Friday. The price of a single bitcoin fell 3.6% to $8,981.03. For the week, bitcoin was down around 20%. The continued slide in bitcoin comes after a sharp drop on Thursday, which some suggested were due to technical factors. Others suggested regulatory worries could be rattling investors. On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission warned investors about investing in non- regulated and exchanges and called for tighter restrictions across all trading avenues. Futures markets tracked spot prices lower. The Cboe Global Markets March contract  closed down 3.2% at $9,135, while the CME Group Inc. March contract finished at $9,015, down 4.1%.



Other cryptocurrencies followed bitcoin lower. Ether was down 0.1% on Friday at $702.72, for the week 15.2%.