This Weekly Financial Markets Update reviews the top market headlines: Inflation Recedes in October, Retail Sales Stall in October, Small Business Optimism Dips in October

Top Three Market Headlines

Inflation Recedes in October: The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was flat in October compared to the prior month, a slowdown from the 0.4% monthly rise recorded in September. Versus the prior year, the CPI increased 3.2% in October, down from 3.7% in September. A key contributor to the softer CPI reading in October was a 5.0% decline in the gasoline index, which helped offset gains in food and shelter. The "core" CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy items, rose by 0.2% on the month and was up 4.0% compared to the prior year, the slowest year-over-year rate since September 2021.

Retail Sales Stall in October: Sales at U.S. retail and food service establishments fell by 0.1% in October from the prior month, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported last week. This was the first monthly decline in seven months. Particular areas of weakness in October included auto dealers and furniture stores. Compared to the prior year, sales in October rose 2.5%, down from a 4.1% pace in September. Declining sales at gasoline station owing to lower gasoline prices contributed to the slower pace of annual growth in October, though strong sales growth for internet retailers and restaurants softened the blow.

Small Business Optimism Dips in October: The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported last week that its Small Business Optimism Index declined marginally in October for the third consecutive month. The latest reading of 90.7 marked the 22nd consecutive month the index fell below its historical average of 98. 23% of small business owners reported that labor quality was a top concern, while 22% reported inflation was the biggest problem faced in running a business. 43% of business owners reported that it was difficult to fill job openings; while this was down from 61% in June, it remains historically high.

Please note: There will be no Weekly Market Update published next Monday, November 27. We would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

As of November 20, 2023 Week Quarter-To-Date Year-To-Date One-Year
MSCI All Country World 3.59% 4.56% 15.08% 13.93%
S&P 500 3.92% 5.51% 19.29% 16.30%
Russell 2000 6.63% 0.90% 3.46% -0.68%
MSCI EAFE 3.26% 3.61% 10.95% 13.57%
MSCI Emerging Markets 2.13% 2.60% 4.47% 6.41%
FTSE NAREIT 4.90% 2.71% 0.51% -0.38%
Bloomberg Commodity -0.12% -2.07% -5.44% -6.87%
Barclays U.S. Aggregate 1.49% 0.54% 0.54% 1.19%