Weekly Market Snapshot

COVID-19 fears continued to drive the financial markets. Share prices were volatile and bond yields dove further into record lows. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) surprised the financial markets by moving two weeks ahead of its scheduled policy meeting, cutting the target range for the federal funds rate by half a percentage point, to 1.00-1.25%. The FOMC cited the downside risks from the coronavirus and left the door open for further action (federal funds futures are pricing in a March 18 cut). In a brief press conference, Fed Chair Powell noted evidence of supply chain disruptions and the effects on the tourism and travel industries. He indicated that “the virus and the measures taken to contain it will surely weigh on economic activity, both here and abroad, for some time.”

The February Employment Report was stronger than anticipated. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 273,000 (median forecast: +175,000), with 7,000 added census workers and a 37,000 increase in state and local government. The two previous months saw a net upward revision of 85,000. Private-sector payrolls rose by 228,000, leaving the three-month average at +205,000. Mild weather may have helped. There was no discernable impact from COVID-19. Leisure and hospitality added 51,000. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3%, up 3.0% y/y (in comparison, the Consumer Price Index rose 2.5% over the 12 months ending in January). The unemployment rate edged back down to 3.5% as labor force participation held steady.

Next week, COVID-19 fears should continue to dominate. The inflation reports ought to reflect the dip in gasoline prices. The UM consumer sentiment survey may show some virus-related concerns (as well as some impact from the recent stock market volatility).


  Last Last Week YTD return %
DJIA 26121.28 25766.64 -8.47%
NASDAQ 8738.59 8566.48 -2.61%
S&P 500 3023.94 2978.76 -6.40%
MSCI EAFE 1856.73 1867.64 -8.85%
Russell 2000 1478.82 1497.87 -11.37%

Consumer Money Rates

  Last 1 year ago
Prime Rate 4.25 5.50
Fed Funds 1.25 2.40
30-year mortgage 3.15 4.48


  Last 1 year ago
Dollars per British Pound 1.295 1.317
Dollars per Euro 1.124 1.131
Japanese Yen per Dollar 106.16 111.77
Canadian Dollars per Dollar 1.341 1.344
Mexican Peso per Dollar 19.846 19.360


  Last 1 year ago
Crude Oil 45.90 56.22
Gold 1668.00 1287.60

Bond Rates

  Last 1 month ago
2-year treasury 0.44 1.42
10-year treasury 0.71 1.60
10-year municipal (TEY) 1.51 1.91