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Weekly Market Update – February 6, 2015

Stocks fell Friday despite another favorable monthly jobs report, the Dow finishing the day 61 points lower.  For the week the index was up 3.8% and for the year the Dow is now flat.

The January employment report showed a gain of 257,000 jobs (above estimates of 228,000) capping the largest three-month job gain in 17 years after the number of jobs created in December was upwardly revised to 329,000 from 252,000.  The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7% from 5.6% due to more Americans entering the workforce.  Interest rates rose on Friday in response to the stronger jobs number.  The positive jobs report keeps the Fed on track to raise rates sometime in the second half of this year.

The new Greek President and finance minister continued their tour of Europe, meeting with finance ministers and European Central Bank officials in an effort to come to an agreement on how the country will handle its debt going forward.  The two sides must agree to terms by the end of this month in order to trigger an additional round of financing.  On Friday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Greek’s debt rating to B- from B, a move that was expected.     
Oil rose over 3% Friday to close at $52.10 per barrel on the heels of a report showing another steep drop in oil drilling rigs.  The total number of drilling rigs is now almost 30% below the peak in October of last year.  For the week, oil gained 9.1%.

Next week’s economic calendar highlights include weekly jobless claims and January retail sales on Thursday and a consumer confidence report on Friday.  Expect weekly jobless claims to settle in the 280,000 – 290,000 range (from 278,000 this week), January retail sales to show a slight decline from December and consumer confidence to rise.


Ulland Investment Advisors

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