Equities moved higher on the week to cap off a strong year. The S&P 500 was up 1.2% on the week, whereas the Russell 2000 Index of small caps pulled back 1.3%.
The housing market continues to be hot. In November, 6.690 million existing homes were sold. This number compares favorably to the expected 6.685 million. Construction on 1.547 million homes began in November as measured by the housing starts number, which is also stronger than the expected 1.525 million.
Equities inched up on the week with the S&P 500 gaining 0.80%. Small caps continue to perform well following a stellar November. They gained 2.7% on the week. The NASDAQ also did well with gains outpacing the broader S&P 500, which was held back by a pause in energy stocks.
Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) numbers for November were released this week. The positive momentum from last month continued into November. The reading of 58.6 for the PMI Composite indicates the economy continues to expand.
The S&P 500 finished the week up 1.1% and outpaced emerging market equities. Small caps cooled and the NASDAQ led the week. The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index was down 0.2%.
Strength in the housing industry continued this week as 999,000 new homes were built in October. This number is better than the expected 972,000.
Durable goods orders continued to be resilient in October.
The S&P 500 finished the week flat despite more positive news on vaccine developments. Small caps continued to perform well and gained 1.9% on the week. Value outpaced growth by 1.3% on the week and now more than 6% over the last two weeks.
S&P 500 one-week performance was strong. Over the period, the index was up 3.81%. This performance was led by Energy, up 14.29%, and Financials, up 10.20%. These are the two sectors which have struggled the most this year.
With a week having passed since Election Day, it would seem the path forward, politically speaking, should be relatively clear. Americans came out in force to cast their votes as the turnout for the 2020 election was the highest seen in 50 years, and as of last weekend, Joe Biden was declared by the Associated Press to be the president-elect.
The markets were positioned for this to be one of the highest-volatility elections ever. As of this writing, there are several states extremely close in their counts. Scrutiny on the ballot counting process added fuel to the fire, and it will likely be a lengthy process before a conclusion is reached.