Last week provided a friendly reminder to investors that the stock market and the economy are not one-in-the-same. On the economic front, initial third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) was reported at a robust 4.9%, more than double the previous quarter and the fastest pace since 2021. The impressive growth was supported largely by American consumers who are spending more across the board, including on cars, dining, and travel. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
Meanwhile, all major stock indexes sold off last week. The S&P 500 Index, an index of large-cap U.S. stocks, reached correction territory by closing 10.3% lower than the peak on July 31st while still holding onto a +7% return for 2023. The same cannot be said for small-cap stocks, as the Russell 2000 Index sold off to levels not seen since November 2020 and is down just over 7% on the year. The S&P 500 is on pace to outperform the Russell 2000 by its widest margin since 1998. (Source: CNBC)
House Republicans elected Rep. Mike Johnson as House speaker on Wednesday by a narrow 220-209 margin after weeks of failed attempts to replace former speaker Kevin McCarthy. Congress will now need to move quickly to pass funding legislation by a November 17 deadline to avoid yet another potential federal government shutdown. More immediately, President Biden has asked Congress to provide $105 billion in aid to Israel, Ukraine, and the U.S. southern border. (Source: Associated Press)
Third quarter earnings season continues this week, led by Apple on Thursday. The Federal Reserve will announce their next interest rate decision on Wednesday, and Friday delivers a check on the labor market with October's nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate.
MORTGAGE APPLICATIONS DISSAPEAR - With mortgage rates eclipsing 8%, homebuyers are sitting on the sidelines. Applications for new mortgages are now down 50% since the start of 2023 and at their lowest levels since 1994. (Source: Mortgage Bankers Association)
MILLIONAIRES EVERYWHERE - The Federal Reserve revealed that the average net worth of American families eclipsed $1 million for the first time. This is heavily skewed by a small number of billionaires, as the median family net worth is $193,000. Still, approximately 16 million American families, just over 12%, have wealth exceeding $1 million. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
HALLOWEEN SPENDERS - This year, Americans are projected to spend $12.2 billion on Halloween-related goods and services, including $4.1 billion on costumes and $3.6 billion on candy. The average retail price of a pumpkin this year is $7.32, up 22% from just two years ago. (Source: Wallethub)
WEMBANYAMA ERA BEGINS - Victor Wembanyama, the 19-year old, 7-foot-4 Frenchman, made his NBA debut on Wednesday for the San Antonio Spurs. The number one overall pick and most hyped prospect in years scored 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in his first NBA game. (Source: ESPN)
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