This Weekly Financial Markets Update reviews the top market headlines: Lukewarm Jobs Report for November, Business Surveys Continue to Diverge, Oil Price Correction Deepens

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Top Three Market Headlines

Lukewarm Jobs Report for November: The Labor Department reported last week that employers in the U.S. added 199,000 jobs in November, an increase from 150,000 in October but below September's total of 262,000. The average monthly gain of 204,000 over the past three months is down approximately one-third from the pace over the first three months of the year. Industries seeing the most job additions in November were health care and government. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate decreased to 3.7% in November from 3.9%, while average hourly wages rose at a 4.0% annual rate, down modestly from 4.1% in October.

Business Surveys Continue to Diverge: The U.S. manufacturing and services sectors continued heading in different directions in November, according to surveys of executives conducted by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM Manufacturing Index recorded 46.7% for the month of November, unchanged from October and the 13th consecutive month below the 50% threshold that differentiates expansion of activity from contraction. Conversely, activity in the services sector continued to expand, as the ISM Services Index registered 52.7% for November, exceeding 50% for the eleventh straight month.

Oil Price Correction Deepens: Oil prices came under further pressure last week, as the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures closed on Friday at $71.26 per barrel, down nearly 4.0% on the week. The price briefly dipped below $70.00 midweek, hitting a six-month low. After peaking at a recent cycle high of just over $90.00 per barrel in late September, the price of WTI has now fallen in eight of the last ten weeks, including the last seven. The downtrend has been driven by soft demand from China along with near-record high output in the United States, which have offset recent attempts by OPEC+ to prop up prices through production cuts.

As of December 11, 2023 Week Quarter-To-Date Year-To-Date One-Year
MSCI All Country World 0.13% 6.57% 17.29% 14.58%
S&P 500 0.24% 7.73% 21.81% 18.11%
Russell 2000 1.00% 5.67% 8.36% 5.10%
MSCI EAFE 0.39% 5.54% 13.01% 12.04%
MSCI Emerging Markets -0.71% 2.56% 4.42% 3.26%
FTSE NAREIT 0.26% 8.80% 6.47% 3.11%
Bloomberg Commodity -3.45% -5.68% -8.92% -7.36%
Barclays U.S. Aggregate 0.15% 3.91% 2.66% 0.67%