Market Week: February 23, 2015

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Old 02-23-2015, 03:00 PM
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Default Market Week: February 23, 2015

The Markets Reprieve relief: Even a temporary agreement about Greek debt helped equities edge upward. Friday's relief rally gave the S&P 500 its third straight week of gains, though the Nasdaq continued to lead the pack. Meanwhile, as oil prices remained relatively stable at roughly $50 a barrel, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose.

Last Week's Headlines
The eurozone's finance ministers agreed to a four-month extension of Greece's current bailout, but gave Greece the weekend to produce a menu of proposed budget cuts and other economic reforms. Those proposals will be reviewed by the so-called troika that oversees the bailout (the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank).
Manufacturing data was mixed. According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production rose 0.2% in January and increased at an annual rate of 4.3% in Q4. However, both the Empire State and Philly Fed manufacturing surveys showed growth slowing slightly in February.
Minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy committee showed the Fed is trying to balance international economic weakness with slow but steady domestic growth. It was the first time in nearly two years that the official statement about the meeting had mentioned problems abroad as a factor in any rate increase decision.
A 6.7% cutback in construction of single-family homes led to a 2% decline in housing starts in January, according to the Commerce Department. However, housing starts were still 18.7% higher than a year earlier.
Wholesale prices plummeted 0.8% in January, largely because of the 10.3% drop in energy costs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the decline in the wholesale inflation rate was its single biggest monthly drop since November 2009. That left the Producer Price Index roughly where it was 12 months ago.

Eye on the Week Ahead
With creditors scheduled to begin to review proposals for Greek budgetary reform, investors will watch to see how the country's leaders attempt to navigate a tightrope between the anti-austerity sentiment that brought them to power and the eurozone's demands. Housing data and revised numbers on U.S. Q4 economic growth also are due.

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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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