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Weekly Market Snapshot

October 2, 2015

Market Commentary
by Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Chief Economist

The economic data were mixed, but consistent with the theme of global softness and domestic strength. Unit auto sales improved further in September - and, combined with the August data on personal income and spending, suggest that inflation-adjusted consumer spending (70% of GDP) is on track to have expanded at an annual pace of 3.5% to 4.0% in 3Q15. The trade deficit in goods widened sharply in August, with that split evenly between stronger imports (despite lower oil prices) and weaker exports. Net exports and an inventory correction are expected to subtract significantly from 3Q15 GDP growth, but underlying domestic demand appears to have remained strong.

The September Employment Report disappointed, but was hardly a disaster. Nonfarm payrolls rose less than the median forecast, while the two previous months saw downward revisions. Market participants appear to have been leaning in the wrong direction, likely braced for an upside surprise (relative to expectations). Note that seasonal adjustment can be tricky in September, due to the start of the school year and the end of the summer travel season. It's possible that increased seasonal hiring in May and June simply led to more seasonal layoffs in August and September. Prior to seasonal adjustment, the economy added 1.5 million jobs in education, about what we saw a year ago. However, non-education jobs fell by 958,000, vs. 812,000 last year. The unemployment rate held steady, but labor force participation dropped (although not for the key 25 to 54 age cohort, suggesting seasonal adjustment issues for teenagers and young adults). Average hourly earnings were flat, up 2.2% y/y (in comparison, the Consumer Price Index rose 0.3% over the 12 months ending in August).

Next week, the economic calendar thins. The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index has some market-moving potential. The IMF will issue its latest World Economic Outlook on Tuesday. Fed policy meeting minutes are unlikely to tell us anything new, but there's always a chance that the financial markets will take something out of context.


  Last Last Week YTD return %
DJIA 16272.01 16201.32 -8.70%
NASDAQ 4627.08 4734.48 -2.30%
S&P 500 1923.82 1932.24 -6.56%
MSCI EAFE 1654.98 1639.29 -6.76%
Russell 2000 1097.55 1137.54 -8.89%

Consumer Money Rates

  Last 1 year ago
Prime Rate 3.25 3.25
Fed Funds 0.13 0.07
30-year mortgage 3.86 4.19


  Last 1 year ago
Dollars per British Pound 1.513 1.619
Dollars per Euro 1.120 1.262
Japanese Yen per Dollar 119.930 108.890
Canadian Dollars per Dollar 1.327 1.116
Mexican Peso per Dollar 16.923 13.455


  Last 1 year ago
Crude Oil 44.74 90.73
Gold 1113.61 1213.82

Bond Rates

  Last 1 month ago
2-year treasury 0.63 0.72
10-year treasury 1.92 2.15
10-year municipal (TEY) 3.25 3.44

Treasury Yield Curve – 10/02/2015

As of close of business 10/01/2015

S&P Sector Performance (YTD) – 10/02/2015

As of close of business 10/01/2015

Economic Calendar

Oct 5  —  ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (September)
Oct 6  —  Trade Balance (August)
IMF World Economic Outlook
Oct 8  —  Jobless Claims (week ending October 3)
FOMC Minutes (September 16-17)
Oct 9  —  Import Prices (September)
Oct 12  —  Columbus Day (bond market closed)

Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. There are special risks involved with global investing related to market and currency fluctuations, economic and political instability, and different financial accounting standards. There is no assurance that any trends mentioned will continue in the future. While interest on municipal bonds is generally exempt from federal income tax, it may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax, state or local taxes. In addition, certain municipal bonds (such as Build America Bonds) are issued without a federal tax exemption, which subjects the related interest income to federal income tax. Also municipal bonds may be subject to capital gains taxes if sold or redeemed at a profit. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss.

US government bonds and treasury bills are guaranteed by the US government and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and guaranteed principal value. US government bonds are issued and guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by the federal government. Treasury bills are certificates reflecting short-term (less than one year) obligations of the US government.

Commodities trading is generally considered speculative because of the significant potential for investment loss. Markets for commodities are likely to be volatile and there may be sharp price fluctuations even during periods when prices overall are rising. Specific sector investing can be subject to different and greater risks than more diversified investments.

Tax Equiv Muni yields (TEY) assumes a 35% tax rate. Municipal securities may lose their tax-exempt status if certain legal requirements are not met, or if tax laws change.

Material prepared by Raymond James for use by its financial advisors.

Data source: Bloomberg, as of close of business October 1, 2015.

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