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Bob Carey
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  US Stocks Ended Jan. 6, 2017
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary

Last week the S&P 500 Index returned 1.76% in 2017's first week of trading. In observance of the New Year's holiday, the trading week was shortened to four days with advances coming everyday excluding Thursday. Equities opened higher the first day of trading with technology and health care sectors leading the way. Stocks reflected investors' expectations for the new year with economic data showing positive affirmation. The ISM Manufacturing Index came in at 54.7, showing the highest level since November 2014. Construction spending for the month also increased higher than expected. The release of the Federal Open Market Committee minutes from the December meeting also increased optimism with comments on a strengthened labor market, economic expansion and an accommodative monetary policy. US initial jobless claims of 235K were well below the consensus estimate of 260K and the previous week's 265K. Though nonfarm payrolls came in lower than expected, the previous month's level was revised upward showing a strong employment picture as the US unemployment rate remained low at 4.7%. Crude oil closed the week at $53.99 a barrel, advancing 0.50% from the previous week's close. Ten of the eleven economic sectors had positive performance for the week with the health care sector showing the best performance returning 2.96%. Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., an autoimmune and cardiovascular disease biopharmaceutical company, contributed to the sector with a 17.38% return for the week. The stock jumped after the company announced that no restatements were needed to their previously issued financials due to a probe into sales practices of their Soliris drug. Amgen Inc., a biotechnology medicines company, also helped the sector after it won a court ruling blocking the sale of a competing cholesterol lowering drug in the US. The information technology company Xerox Corp. had the best performance in the S&P 500 Index for the week with a 21.91% return. The company's completion of the Conduent Inc. spin-off was well received with both JPMorgan and Credit Suisse upgrading their rating of XRX. This week will bring earnings news from Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and others.
Posted on Monday, January 9, 2017 @ 8:15 AM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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