Market Week: February 17, 2015

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Old 02-17-2015, 04:43 PM
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Default Market Week: February 17, 2015

The Markets Domestic equities continued to shake off their winter chill as the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 squeaked into record territory once again. The Dow industrials rose above 18,000 for the first time since New Year's Eve, and the Nasdaq's 3% gain put the index at its highest level since March 2000. Meanwhile, oil prices that remained above $50 a barrel and not-terrible European economic data provided some reassurance about the state of global growth.

Last Week's Headlines
Greece's relationship with the rest of the eurozone remained a source of uncertainty after a meeting of finance ministers on Monday. Greece's newly elected government, which promised to ease austerity measures, reportedly rejected a joint statement announcing a six-month extension of the existing bailout agreement, which is set to expire on February 28.
A 0.7% increase in German economic growth helped the eurozone's gross domestic product rise 0.3% (0.4% for the full 28-member European Union) during Q4 of 2014. Both were improvements from Q3, and represented annual growth of 0.9% for the eurozone and 1.4% for the EU.
Germany, Russia, France, and Ukraine appeared to have reached a cease-fire agreement designed to end the struggle for control over eastern Ukraine. However, reports of fresh equipment and fighting immediately afterwards raised questions about whether the EU would impose additional economic sanctions against Russia next week.
U.S. job openings in December finally surpassed their prerecession high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there were 5 million openings and 5.1 million new hires (the most since November 2007). Higher turnover and a willingness to change jobs suggests that workers are increasingly confident about the economy.
After a strong Q4, retail sales dropped off in January. However, the Commerce Department said that some of the 0.8% decline was the result of lower gas prices cutting into total sales at gas stations. Excluding gas, sales were basically flat.

Eye on the Week Ahead
In a holiday-shortened week, reaction to the showdown between Greece and the rest of the eurozone is likely to remain a focus. U.S. manufacturing and housing data as well as minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting also are on tap.

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All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful. Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. 2015.
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