It was another rollercoaster week in the markets. Early in the week, Asian markets were down sharply due to the standoff between pro-democracy protesters and the Chinese government in Hong Kong and this affected world markets, including the US. Then Ebola fears raised concerns as the first case starting in the US was reported. On Friday, stocks were bolstered by a very strong September jobs number. For the week U.S. and foreign stocks were lower. In particular this week:
- The Commerce Department reported that Personal Consumption Expenditures increased 0.5% in August following a revised July flat number. Also, personal income rose 0.3% in August following a 0.2% increase in July.
- The National Association of Realtors reported that pending existing home sales fell 1.0% in August.
- The Chicago Business Barometer (PMI) fell to 60.5 in September from 64.3 in August below expectations.
- The S&P/Case Shiller Home-Price Index rose 5.6% in July from a year ago.
- Auto sales were strong overall in September.
- The Institute for Supply Management reported that the purchasing managers index fell to 56.6 in September from 59.0 in August, much more than expected. Anything over 50 represents expansion so the number reported indicates slow expansion in September.
- The Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment fell 8,000 in the previous week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000 below the 297,000 forecast. The previous week’s number was revised up to 295,000. The four week moving average also fell to 294,750.
- On Friday the Labor Department reported that the US added 248,000 jobs much more than the 215,000 expected. Unemployment fell from 6.1 to 5.9%.