US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Rise on Strong Consumer Sentiment

A rebound in manufacturing buoys equities
David Becker

US stocks moved higher on Friday and closed slightly lower for the week. Bond prices moved lower for the week and notch up their second consecutive weekly decline. Most sectors were higher on Friday, lead by cyclicals, real-estate bucked the trend. Over the past 30-days, the healthcare sectors have been the best performing sector in the S&P 500 index, breaking out to fresh highs on Friday and up more than 10% over the last month. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bridgewater Associates LP has bet more than $1 billion that stock markets around the world will fall by March. US consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose. US flash manufacturing sector purchasing managers’ index rose more than expected for November.

Bridgewater Takes Big Bet on Lower Stock Prices

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bridgewater Associates has bet more than $1 billion that stock markets around the world will fall by March. Most of the bets taken by the world’s largest hedge funds were made up of put options, which are contracts that give investors the right to sell stocks at a specific price, known as a strike, by a certain date, according to the WSJ. According to the journal, the options expire in March and currently represent one of the largest bearish bets against the market.

Consumer Sentiment Surges

Sentiment continues to remain buoyed according to the most recent consumer confidence report released by the universities of Michigan index of consumer sentiment which climbed to 96.8 from 95.5 last month. Expectations had been for consumer sentiment to dip to 94.9 for November. An index reflecting consumer expectations moving forward also rose to 87.3 from 84.2 in October.

Manufacturing Rises More than Expected

IHS Markit reported that US flash manufacturing sector purchasing managers index rose to 52.2 in November from 51.3 in October. This is the fastest rate since April. Meanwhile, the US preliminary services sector purchasing managers index in November rose to 51.6 from 50.6. This is the quickest expansion since July.

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