John Hancock: Weekly Market Recap Week Ended January 17th
Trade pact signed
The United States and China on Wednesday signed a trade pact that removes many—but not all—U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports and commits China to purchase more U.S. goods. Negotiations on a potential second-phase deal addressing broader systemic disagreements are likely to begin soon, but they aren’t expected to be completed before the U.S. presidential election in November.
U.S. home building activity climbed to the highest level in 13 years, according to data released on Friday. New housing starts in December surged nearly 17% to an annual rate of 1.6 million units, exceeding expectations and rising to the highest level since December 2006.
Retail sales data from December eased concerns about soft sales figures from the preceding three months as holiday shopping got under way. Retail sales rose at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.3% in December compared with the prior month as gains were reported in nearly every retail category.
The major U.S. stock indexes rose around 2% for the week, pushing their record levels higher, and the Dow closed above 29,000 for the first time on Wednesday. For the S&P 500, it was the seventh positive week out of the past eight.