Last week was remarkable for many reasons.
One reason is that sky watchers around the world had an opportunity to see a total lunar eclipse. The moon, Earth and sun aligned, causing the moon to appear crimson. We won’t see another total lunar eclipse for three years, reported Denise Chow of NBC News.
Another reason, and one that’s far more important to consumers and investors, is that data suggested inflation may be waning. The Consumer Price Index, which is a measure of inflation, was released last week. It showed that prices rose more slowly than expected in October. On an annual basis:
- Headline inflation fell to 7.7 percent in October from 8.2 percent in September.
- Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, fell to 6.3 percent in October from 6.6 percent in September.
Investors were enthusiastic, hoping the Federal Reserve (Fed) might begin to take a more measured approach to monetary policy tightening. Fed officials were probably happy, too, although inflation remains well above their two percent target. “Central bank officials have emphasized they will need to see several months of deceleration in price gains before they will be convinced they have made progress in their fight against inflation,” reported Megan Cassella of Barron’s.
The inflation news may lift consumers’ spirits, too. Last week, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey reported that sentiment dropped sharply in October, erasing about half of recent gains. “Instability in sentiment is likely to continue, a reflection of uncertainty over both global factors and the eventual outcomes of the election,” reported Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne W. Hsu.
Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished the week up 5.9 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 4.1 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 8.1 percent, reported Avi Salzman of Barron’s. Treasury yields declined although the yield curve remained inverted.