The stock market was little changed over the week as investors are conflicted over strong corporate earnings and rising interest rates.  That said, the 10-year treasury yield continues to rise and finished the week 7 basis points higher at 3.20%.  However, the spread between the 10-year treasury yield and the 2-year treasury yield was nearly unchanged at 0.30%.  The price of gold and crude oil both saw a moderate increase, with gold rising roughly 0.37% to $1,229.60 an ounce and crude oil rising roughly 0.76% to $69.27 a barrel.  The U.S. dollar index rose from 95.33 to 95.68.


Index Started Week Ended Week Change Change % YTD %
DJIA 25,339.99 25,444.34 104.35 0.41% 2.93%
Nasdaq 7,496.89 7,449.03 -47.86 -0.64% 7.90%
S&P 500 2,767.13 2,767.78 0.65 0.02% 3.52%
Russell 2000 1,546.68 1,542.04 -4.64 -0.30% 0.43%



  • Retail sales increased 0.1% in September, much lower than the expected 0.6%.  Excluding the heavily weighted autos component, retail sales in fact dropped 0.1% as compared to the 0.4% increase expected.  Despite September’s underwhelming sales report, year-over-year retail sales are up a strong 4.9%.


  • Industrial production rose a strong 0.3% in September, with manufacturing production (which makes up 75% of industrial production) rising 0.2%.  Headlining the rise in production was a 0.5%  increase in mining production for a year-over-year increase of a significant 13.4%.


  • Housing starts came in slightly below expectations in September at a 1.2 million annualized rate, 5.3% lower than the month prior.  Housing permits also came in slightly below expectations, dropping 0.6% to an annualized rate of 1.24 million.  It should be noted that September’s housing data was affected by Hurricane Florence as housing starts in the South fell 13.7%.


  • The Federal Open Market Committee Minutes showed that Fed officials see a strong economy, justifying a continuation of gradual increases in the Federal Funds Rate.  Despite Fed officials’ optimism on a strong economy, they did show some skepticism over the impact that tariff’s might have on future growth.


  • Initial unemployment claims dropped by 4,000 to 210,000 for the week ending October 13th, however its 4-week average rose 2,000 to 211,750.  Continuing unemployment claims also dropped but by 13,000 to 1.64 million with its 4-week average down 1,250 to 1.65 million.  Both initial and continuing unemployment claims are at 45-year lows.


  • The Philly Fed’s General Business Conditions index dropped to 22.2 in October from 22.9 in September.  Even though the index dropped 22.2 it is still a very strong reading (i.e. any reading above zero indicates improving conditions).


  • Existing home sales dropped 3.4% in September to an annualized rate of 5.15 million.  Much like housing starts, existing home sales were also affected by Hurricane Florence with sales down 5.4% in the South.  However, year-over-year existing home sales are still down 4.1% as rising mortgage rates are driving down demand.



“Opportunities come infrequently.  When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.”

– Warren Buffet



Just 7% of actively managed funds have outperformed their benchmark index over the past 15 years, according to data from S&P Global.


Important Disclosures:  Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly from The Market Commentator℠, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for your portfolio.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in The Market Commentator℠ serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from The Milwaukee Company™.


In addition, The Market Commentator℠ may contain links to articles or other information that are contained on a third party website.  The Milwaukee Company does not endorse or accept responsibility for the content, or the use, of the website.  The Milwaukee Company assumes no liability for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions in or from any data or other information provided on the pages.  Thank you.