October 19, 2020

Weekly Market Commentary October 12th to October 16th 2020

Consumer Prices remained stable in the month of September. The Core CPI (excluding food and energy) reading rose 0.2% as expected in the month and held steady at 1.7% on a year-on-year basis. Producer Prices were marginally higher than expected. Core PPI advanced by 0.4% in the month and 1.2% annually. Costs associated with hospital care were among the drivers of the increase.

Retail Sales in September were the strongest in three months, increasing by 1.9%. Strong vehicle, clothing, sporting goods and home improvement-related sales led to the better than expected advance.

Initial Jobless Claims rose unexpectedly last week to 898k from a revised 845k the prior week. This is the highest level of new claims since the last week in August. Continuing Claims however, declined from 11.18mm to 10.02mm, but when factoring in the additional workers collecting pandemic aid, there are still an incredibly large number (over 22 million) of workers collecting some form of aid.

Stronger than expected Retail Sales figures reported on Friday reversed a three-day slide for U.S. equities, driven lower for most of the week on concerns of rising virus cases and stalled stimulus talks. The S&P 500 slipped back into the black for the week in the final trading session to close up a modest 0.3% to 3,486. The Nasdaq Composite was higher by 0.8%.

The 10-year US Treasury yield traded in a range of 0.78% to 0.70% before closing down 3 basis points at 0.74%.

Key economic releases next week include Housing Starts, Building Permits and Existing Home Sales as well as another look at Jobless Claims.