Market Overview

12.1.14

If investors around the world were voting on their favorite stock market, there is little doubt U.S. markets would finish near the top. Barron’s explained, “For the past three years, Wall Street has been trouncing the world’s other markets, inducing investors to pile in and bail on other assets.”

So, how popular are U.S. markets? The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) has not moved lower for four consecutive days during 2014, according to experts cited by Barron’s. That breaks S&P 500’s previous record for longest period in a calendar year without four down days in a row which happened in 1997. The streak ended in late August of that year.

In September, more than $164 billion were invested in the United States by investors at home and abroad. The reason investors are attracted to U.S. markets is no secret. Last week’s economic data may have been mixed, but it didn’t change the fact U.S. economic growth has been relatively strong. Third quarter’s gross domestic product – the value of all goods and services produced in the United States – was revised higher last week from 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent. Both readings were above the consensus estimate of 3.3 percent. That’s pretty strong growth compared to some other countries:

“While U.S. gains have been modest compared with previous expansions, domestic growth is outpacing other advanced economies. Japan’s economy slipped into a recession in the third quarter and the eurozone’s growth barely stayed positive. The rate of growth in emerging markets from China to Brazil is also slowing,” reported The Wall Street Journal.

Although U.S. economic growth during the middle quarters of 2014 was the fastest in a decade, The Wall Street Journal suggested the improvement might be a modest acceleration rather than a major breakout. They cautioned U.S. exports and military spending made attractive contributions to third quarter growth, but that could change if there is a global slowdown or the government cuts military budgets.

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