Financial and Economic Brief - January 3, 2017

by © Liberty Publishing, Inc.

Small Business Hiring Slows

According to a report from Paychex, small business hiring slowed in 2017. The Small Business Jobs Index closed 2017 at 99.70 after falling 0.16% in December and 0.78% for the year. Furthermore, small-business national hourly earnings were at $26.14 on average, up 2.76% year over year and 2.85% for 2017. “While small business jobs growth slowed this year, it's important to recall that small businesses led the hiring surge coming out of the recession and maintained high levels of growth for quite some time,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. He further noted, “We still have moderate job growth.”
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Oil above $60 a Barrel

U.S. crude oil prices rose 1% Friday to more than $60 a barrel, the highest close since June of 2015. In December, oil prices rose after the Keystone pipeline shut down following an oil spill. Due to the surplus of oil in recent years, OPEC was forced to cut production. In November, OPEC extended the production cuts until the end of 2018. With the war against OPEC halted and shale production re-energized, the U.S. is ready for record oil output in 2018.
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First Trading Day, Indexes Higher

Wall Street’s main indexes were higher today, the first trading day of the year, lifted by gains in technology and consumer discretionary stocks. The major stock indexes finished 2017 with their best performance since 2013. “The first week of trading usually suggests the overall trend of the markets which we expect to be positive,” noted Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. The December payrolls report, data on manufacturing and service sectors are some of the leading indicators expected this week, and will be analyzed for signs of improving economic health and the number of interest rate hikes in 2018.
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Financial and Economic Brief - January 3, 2017

• Small Business Hiring Slows - The Small Business Jobs Index closed 2017 at 99.70 after falling 0.16% in December and 0.78% for the year.

• Oil above $60 a Barrel - U.S. crude oil prices rose 1% Friday to more than $60 a barrel, the highest close since June of 2015.

• First Trading Day, Indexes Higher - Wall Street’s main indexes were higher today, the first trading day of the year, lifted by gains in technology and consumer discretionary stocks.

Financial and Economic Brief - December 19, 2017

• Industrial Production Rises - U.S. industrial production rose 0.2% in November due to a rebound in extracting oil and natural gas after a stoppage during hurricane season.

• Campbell Acquires Snyder’s - Campbell Soups is set to acquire Snyder’s-Lance in a $4.9 billion deal. The deal will almost double Campbell Soup's baked-snacks revenue.

• U.S. Stock Indexes Hit Record Highs - The major U.S. stock indexes hit record highs on Monday, as the tax bill looked set to be passed into law with its $11 billion in corporate deal making. The tax bill, aims to lower corporate taxes to 21% from 35%.

Financial and Economic Brief - December 12, 2017

• Powell’s Early Policy Views - Jerome Powell appears set to let the tax cut “run its course” through the economy as weak growth in wages and inflation promote his view that the economy remains “underpowered”.

• November Jobs Report Strong - According to the November jobs report released on Friday, employers added 228,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%.

• Launch of Bitcoin Futures - Derivatives exchange Cboe Global Markets launched its bitcoin futures late yesterday, marking the first time investors could get access to the market via a mainstream regulated exchange.

Financial and Economic Brief - December 5, 2017

• Mixed Numbers for Automakers - Major automakers posted mixed U.S. November new vehicle sales on Friday and predicted a competitive December as they rushed to sell vehicles and lift their 2017 numbers.

• CVS to Buy Aetna - CVS Health is buying Aetna for $69 billion in cash and stock in a deal that “reflects a rapidly shifting health care landscape”.

• Upcoming Fed Rate Hikes - The U.S. Federal Reserve is “almost certain” to raise interest rates later in December, a majority of whom also now expect three more rate rises in 2018.

Financial and Economic Brief - November 28, 2017

• Consumer Sentiment Rose More Than Expected - U.S. consumer sentiment saw “slight” gains in November compared to the mid-month reading, though the index remained below the decade high reached in October.

• Publisher of Time Agrees to Be Sold - The publisher of Time, People and Sports Illustrated agreed yesterday to be sold to another big magazine publisher, Meredith.

• New Home Sales at 10-Year High - Sales of new U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly rose 6.2% in October, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units, amid strong demand across the country.