Notes ALong the Path: weekly Market Update vol.1.8

Gordon Achtermann |

Market Recap


The S&P 500 index rose 0.8% this week, its fifth straight weekly gain, after the market benchmark concluded its strongest month in more than a year and began December on a bullish note.

The S&P 500 ended Friday's session at 4,594.63, up from last Friday's closing level of 4,559.34 and marking the highest closing level of 2023. The previous closing high this year, reached in July, was 4,588.96.

The fresh 2023 closing high comes just a day after the S&P 500 closed November with an 8.9% jump, the largest monthly increase since July 2022, amid easing inflation readings that helped temper investors' interest-rate concerns.

The S&P 500 is now beginning the final month of the year with a year-to-date gain of almost 20%. The total return on the index, which includes dividends, is 20.57%. By comparison, the Dow Industrials are up 11.68% (total return), Vanguard's Total US Stocks Fund (VTI) is up 19.35%, Vanguard's Total World fund (VT) is up 15.4%, and the MSCI Total World ex-US index is up 10.76%. 

This week's climb was led by the real estate sector, which rose 4.6%, followed by a 2.6% gain in materials and a 2.1% rise in industrials. Other gainers included financials, consumer discretionary, utilities, consumer staples, health care, and technology. Two sectors ended the week in the red: communication services fell 2.5% while energy eased 0.1%.

In the real estate sector, shares of Crown Castle (CCI) rose more than 14% this week as investor Elliott Investment Management called on the communications infrastructure real estate investment trust to make leadership changes and undertake a review of its fiber business, among other measures, citing the company's "history of underperformance."

The materials sector's gainers included shares of Packaging Corp of America (PKG), which climbed 9.4% as Wells Fargo increased its price target on the containerboard company's stock to $173 each from $147. Wells Fargo kept its rating on the shares at equal weight.

The decliners in communication services included shares of Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) amid a report that Microsoft (MSFT) is looking to set up its own mobile app store in a bid to challenge the dominance of Alphabet and Apple (AAPL). Alphabet's Class A shares fell 3.5%.

Next week, a number of economic reports will be released with November's nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate, due Friday, expected to garner the most attention.

Provided by MT Newswires


I'm going to try a new feature where I point you toward articles that I found interesting and (I hope) relevant. Here goes...

  • 4 Charts that Explain the Stock Market by Ben Carlson: The author provides a great reminder of two great truths of investing that I think we would benefit from hearing again. First, stocks tend to go up over time, and second, volatility is inevitable and cannot be avoided if we are to earn satisfactory long-term returns.

  • The Pay Raise People Say They Need to Be Happy by Joe Pinsker (WSJ Paywall*): If there’s one thing we ALL have in common, it’s that we all think we’d be happier if we had or earned more money. This article offers insights from a study conducted across virtually every income bracket. It’s fascinating stuff.  

          * Note that you can get a few free articles a week if you give up your email address.


The Long Long-Range Forecast Keeps Shifting


That’s why it’s a forecast, not an accurate account of what’s going to happen in the future.

This seems axiomatic, but our desire for certainty keeps letting us down.

The shifting of forecasts is evidence that they’re merely forecasts.

     -Seth Godin