Great week for the bulls with bookend big gains on both Monday and Friday. The NASDAQ actually ended at all time highs so that swift correction is in the books. While there was a lot of “trade war” riff raff, indexes showed it’s a side show. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn announced his resignation Wednesday but all that did was put the S&P 500 down fractionally for a day.
“It is not so much the resignation, but the role that Cohn has played in the administration. He was seen as the voice of economic stability and a spokesperson for financial markets,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, in a note to investors. “His resignation leaves the president with a set of economic advisers largely seen as outside of the mainstream, or at least perceived as less aligned with Wall Street interests. At a minimum, this introduces more uncertainty into economic policy and raises the chance of policy actions such as tariffs.”
For the week the S&P 500 roared higher 3.5% and the NASDAQ 4.2%. Boo yah.
On the economic front, ISM Services slipped to 59.5 from 59.9 a month earlier — a level that still signals rapid growth in service-sector activity. The U.S. trade deficit climbed 5% in January and hit a nearly 10-year high, continuing a steady rise since President Trump took over that could exacerbate already tense disputes between the administration and key trading partners. Friday’s employment report was pretty much all you could ask as there was a lot of job growth without much wage pressure:
The U.S. created 313,000 new jobs in February, the biggest gain since mid-2016 and a reflection of the strongest labor market in two decades. Economists had predicted a 222,000 increase in nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%. Hourly pay rose 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $26.75 an hour, the government said Friday. The economy added 54,000 more jobs in January and December than previously reported. Construction companies hired 61,000 people to mark the biggest increase in 11 years. Retailers added 50,000 jobs, as did professional-oriented businesses. And manufacturers filled 31,000 positions.