U.S. Market Weekly Summary – Week Ending 01.12.2018

The Free Press WV

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.6% this week to a fresh closing high, extending the index’s 2018 rally, with the energy, industrial, consumer-discretionary and financial sectors all posting strong gains.

The market benchmark ended the week at 2,786.24, up from last week’s closing level of 2,743.15. The index also reached a new intraday high during Friday’s session at 2,787.85. The S&P 500 has now gained in eight of the nine trading days the US stock market has been open so far in 2018 amid the improving sentiment toward the economy as well as toward Q4 results.

The industrial and energy sectors had the largest percentage gains of the week, up 3.2% each. They were followed by the consumer-discretionary sector, which climbed 3.1% this week, and the financial sector, which posted a 2.9% weekly gain.

Just four sectors declined. The real-estate sector had the largest percentage drop of the week as it fell 3.5%. The telecommunications and utilities sectors had declines of 2.1% each, followed by a 0.6% slip in consumer staples.

Among the industrial sector’s gainers, Caterpillar’s (CAT) shares rose 5.1% on the week as JPMorgan upgraded its investment rating on the equipment manufacturer’s shares to overweight from neutral. 3M (MMM) shares climbed 1.6% this week as Deutsche Bank increased its price target on the stock to $240 from $180. Both companies plan to release their Q4 results on Jan. 25.

The energy sector’s advance follows a 3.9% jump in the sector in the first week of the year. The sector’s strong start to 2018 comes as crude-oil futures have been rallying to levels not seen in three years amid data detailing lower crude inventories and improving investor sentiment toward the economy.

This week’s gainers in the energy sector included Anadarko Petroleum (APC), up 7.2% on the week, as well as Chesapeake Energy (CHK), up 7.3% and Marathon Oil (MRO), up 5.2%. Goldman Sachs Equity Research said in a Thursday note to clients that it sees potential in the coming months for the energy sector to “grind higher as long as data points are favorable.“

In the financial sector, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shares rose 4.0% this week. The company kicked off Q4 bank earnings Friday with weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings amid impacts from the tax overhaul, but revenue topped expectations and investors are hopeful the bank’s profitability will improve as a result of the tax changes.

On the downside, the real-estate sector’s decliners included Regency Centers (REG), which fell 4.1% on the week despite the shopping-mall operator’s Thursday boost to its 2017 earnings guidance.

In the telecommunications sector, AT&T (T) shares slipped 3.3% this week. A report from Reuters said AT&T’s proposed deal to sell China’s Huawei Technologies smartphones in the US fell through.

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