S&P 500 Near Record Territory

Last Week on Wall Street

The S&P 500 came within 0.1% of a record close Friday. Stocks were lifted last week by positive news on U.S.-China trade negotiations, plus positive U.S. corporate earnings announcements.

The Nasdaq Composite posted the largest weekly gain of the three major U.S. stock indices. It rose 1.90%. Last week also brought gains of 0.70% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 1.22% for the S&P. International Stocks also rose 1.14% while the U.S. Aggregate Bond Index gave back 0.15%.

Another Hint of Progress in Trade Talks

Friday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative stated that parts of a new trade deal with China were near completion. No specifics were given as of Friday's close, but the USTR noted that negotiators had "made headway" on key issues.

Analysts think both sides may cancel certain tariffs as part of a deal. President Trump has said that he would like to sign a new trade accord with China's President, Xi Jinping, next month.[4]

A Gain for Consumer Sentiment

Rising to a final October mark of 95.5, the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index advanced 2.3 points month-over-month. During August and September, the index's level varied from 89.8 to 93.2.

What's Next

The Federal Reserve meets this week. Will it make another interest rate cut? And if it does, could that be the last rate cut for a while? Traders will study the language of the statement and listen carefully to Fed chair Jerome Powell's Wednesday press conference for clues.

Fact of the Week

In the calendar year 2017, the top 1% of American taxpayers made at least $515,371 of adjusted gross income and paid 38.5% of the total federal income tax paid nationwide. The top 10% of taxpayers made at least $145,135 of income and paid 70.1% of all federal income tax.

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