U.S. stocks continued their upward climb this week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Index trading above 25,775 and the S&P 500 rising approximately 1.5 percent for the week. The U.S. dollar traded off relative to the euro, which surged to a three-year high of $1.21.
Stocks picked up where they left off in 2017, rising across market caps and geographies for each of the first four trading days of the new year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average eclipsed the 25,000 mark this week and it took just 23 trading days to gain its latest 1,000 points—the fastest such gain in index history.
As the U.S. economy enters its 10th-consecutive year of growth, significantly it has been joined by an increasingly synchronized expansion of the major world economies. Though asset prices across-the-board are elevated at this stage of the economic cycle, we believe that in 2018 equity investors stand to benefit from further economic expansion and lower corporate tax rates that together could result in another year of double-digit earnings growth.
Stocks finished the last week of December relatively flat resulting in a 20+ percent total return for the S&P 500 for 2017. Interest rates were steady with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury ending the year at 2.41 percent, down slightly from a year ago.
This week the S&P 500 was up slightly as investors focused on the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which was signed into law by President Trump on Friday morning. Conversely, bonds sold off with interest rates moving higher with the 10-year U.S. Treasury increasing in yield from 2.39 percent to 2.48 percent, which is a substantial move in the span of a week. Bond investors are anticipating an increase in Treasury bond issuance with expected increased deficit spending due to the tax law.
Markets moved modestly higher this week with domestic stocks up nearly 1 percent and the benchmark 10-year Treasury was off 2 basis points. As if held up by a mysterious force, Bitcoin set a new high Friday just shy of 18,000.
Stocks climbed in the U.S., Asia and Europe as the U.S. government averted a shut down and the jobs report reinforced optimism. The U.S. added 228,000 jobs in the month of November, higher than the expected addition of 195,000 jobs, due to an accelerating hiring trend which economists expect to continue into the next year. The S&P 500 hit new highs today, trading above 2,650.
It was an eventful week in Washington and on Wall Street. Republicans appeared to be moving along on the tax bill, but a hiccup occurred Thursday evening that has delayed voting until sometime next week. Strong economic data and hopes for a corporate tax cut led the S&P higher by 1.6 percent this week.