November was a month of highs for the stock markets. In fact, both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials Average came close to breaking their all-time highs at mid-month. And the Nasdaq crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time since the tech bubble, but is still below its all-time peak.
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Investors also saw better-than-expected real GDP numbers, which grew at an annual rate of 2.8% in the third quarter. And the Institute of Supply Management reproted an increase in manufacturing in October. Analysts had expected the index to drop to 55 but instead it climbed to 57.3, indicating expansion in that sector.
A lackluster Black Friday took some of the shine off the month, as the National Retail Federation reported spending was down compared to last year. On the other hand, online sales and foot traffic increased, likely due to stores starting their sales earlier in the week.
As we head into the last month of the year, market observers are keeping an eye out for the ADP jobs report and the Bureau of Labor Statistics nonfarm payroll data. An improving employment outlook could be seen as a sign of a strengthening economy and is expected to factor in the Federal Reserve’s upcoming meeting in mid-December. market participants will be looking to see if the central bank will begin to taper its quantitative easing program or raise its federal funds target rate.
As always, I’ll be watching the markets for any long-term trends that could affect your financial plan and will share relevant news with you. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or if you’d like to review your plan as we head into 2014. May the New Year and holiday season bring joy and prosperity to you and yours!
Jeremy Lott, CFP®
Investing involves risk, and investors may incur a profit or a loss. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index of 30 widely held stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ National Stock Market. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks. The performance mentioned does not include transaction costs which would reduce an investor’s return.