This Weekly Financial Markets Update reviews the top market headlines: Momentum in Home Prices Continues, Consumers Remain Glum, Gold Hits a Record High

Top Three Market Headlines

Momentum in Home Prices Continues: Housing prices across the U.S. continued to show surprising resilience in September despite higher mortgage rates and slower sales activity. According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index, prices rose 0.7% in September from the prior month, the eighth straight monthly increase. Compared to the prior year, prices were 3.9% higher, the third straight month of rising year-over-year prices. Prices were higher compared to last year in 17 of the 20 cities, with the largest gains seen in Detroit (+6.7%), San Diego (+6.5%), and New York (+6.3%). According to S&P, the relative shortage of homes for sale has been a key driver for the price gains.

Consumers Remain Glum: Recent readings from two widely-followed surveys depicted a continued dour outlook among consumers about the economy. The latest University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment registered 61.3 for November, its fourth consecutive monthly decline and far below its 30-year average of 86.5. Meanwhile, the Consumer Confidence Index issued by the Conference Board showed a modest increase from a downwardly-revised 99.1 reading in October to 102.0 in November, though this remained well off a post-pandemic high of 128.9 in June of 2021.

Gold Hits a Record High: The price of gold reached an all-time high last week, as the futures price for the metal settled on Friday at almost $2,090 per ounce, surpassing the previous record of $2,069 in August 2020. The price of gold is up nearly 15% year-to-date, with much of that gain occurring since early-October. The recent rally has coincided with falling interest rates and a decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, both of which tend to support gold prices. Strong demand from global central banks has also underpinned prices; according to the World Globe Council, for instance, total gold purchases by central banks year-to-date through September 30 hit a record high.

As of December 04, 2023 Week Quarter-To-Date Year-To-Date One-Year
MSCI All Country World 0.92% 6.43% 17.13% 11.70%
S&P 500 0.89% 7.47% 21.52% 14.60%
Russell 2000 3.81% 4.63% 7.29% 0.57%
MSCI EAFE 0.93% 5.13% 12.57% 9.72%
MSCI Emerging Markets -0.58% -3.29% 5.17% 3.05%
FTSE NAREIT 5.02% 8.52% 6.19% 1.14%
Bloomberg Commodity -0.57% -2.30% -5.67% -8.01%
Barclays U.S. Aggregate 1.64% 3.76% 2.51% 1.03%