HURRICANES HURT SEPTEMBER JOB NUMBERS
For the first time in seven years, the economy went a month without payroll growth. The Department of Labor’s September employment report revealed the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: it showed 33,000 fewer people working. Average hourly wages rose 0.5% to take the annualized gain to 2.9%, but this may have been an effect of the net loss of 105,000 lower-paying bar and restaurant jobs. In a statistical fluke, the headline jobless rate fell to 4.2%, and the U-6 rate, counting the underemployed, declined to 8.3%, even as slightly more Americans looked for work.
ISM FACTORY PMI TOPS 60
Rising 2.0 points for September, the Institute for Supply Management’s factory purchasing manager index hit 60.8, its best mark since May 2004. ISM’s service sector PMI also made a nice leap in September, ascending 4.5 points to 59.8, its highest result since August 2005. Analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal expected the services PMI to tick down to 55.2 last month.
OIL HAS FIRST DOWN WEEK IN MORE THAN A MONTH
WTI crude settled at $49.29 on the NYMEX Friday, slipping 4.6% lower for the week. While Tropical Storm Nate put a drag on Gulf Coast oil production, traders also sensed OPEC members may retain caps on crude output through 2018.
STOCKS START THE QUARTER WITH GAINS
Blue chips set the pace in the first trading week of October. Across five days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.65% to 22,773.67. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.45% to 6,590.18 last week, while the S&P 500 gained 1.19% to 2,549.33.