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After a sluggish start to the week, the S&P 500 strung together three strong sessions in a row and rebounded back near its record highs. The key highlights of the week on the corporate side were the fantastic earnings and industry commentary from Micron (MU), and the better-than-expected numbers from Nike (NKE). In the U.S., President Biden shot down the idea that the country will have to enter a March 2020-like lockdowns to combat rising Covid-19 cases. And from a seasonality perspective, the markets entered what usually is a profitable time for investors with the start of the Santa Claus rally.
Each S&P sector closed higher over the holiday-shortened trading week, but there was leadership in certain areas. Some of the sectors that got hit hardest last week came back with a vengeance, as consumer discretionary, tech, energy, communication services, and industrials all posted gains of over 2%. In fact, consumer discretionary (helped by Tesla) and tech each posted gains of over 3%.
The swing higher in tech was an important one for such a beaten-down sector. One of the catalysts behind the gains in the tech sector this week was the earnings and commentary from Micron, of course. As a memory and storage supplier in the semiconductor industry, Micron has exposure to so many different tech groups like the data center, mobile, pcs, graphics, and autos.
Health care, materials, and financials were in the middle of the pack, with each gaining about 1.5%, plus or minus 0.15%. And the more defensive sectors, consumer staples, real estate, and utilities, each posted modest gains of less than 1%.
Here is a quick look at some of the broader market measures we like to keep an eye on: The U.S. dollar index was about flat on the week at 96. Gold was about flat on the week, trading at about the $1,810 level. WTI crude prices rebounded above $73 as the market reassessed the impact the omicron variant will have on global demand. And the yield on the 10-year Treasury increased to nearly 1.50%.
No portfolio companies reported this week.
In addition to earnings, we received several key macroeconomic updates on Wednesday and Thursday:
-Gross Domestic Product (GDP): +2.3% QoQ (3Q21) vs. +2.1% estimate
-Core PCE YoY (3Q21): +3.6% YoY
-November Existing Home Sales seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR): +1.9% MoM vs. +3.0% estimate; +2.0% YoY
-November Durable Goods Orders: +2.5% MoM vs. +1.8% estimate
-Core Capital Goods Order: -0.1% vs. +0.7% estimate
-November Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE a.k.a. "Personal Spending"): +0.6% MoM vs. +0.6% estimate
-November Personal Income: +0.4% MoM vs. 0.4% estimate
-November Core PCE: +4.7% YoY vs. +4.5% estimate
-Initial Jobless Claims +205,000 vs. +205,000 estimate
-Four-week moving average: +206,250 (+2,750 vs prior week)
-November New Home Sales SAAR: 744,000 vs. 770,000 estimate; -14.0% YoY
What we are watching ahead:
No companies in the portfolio are scheduled to report earnings next week. It will be pretty quiet with only one company expected to report:
Close: Cal-Maine Foods (CALM)
On the macroeconomic front, in addition to keeping an eye on the geopolitical sphere, we will be watching out for the following releases (all times ET):
10:30 Dallas Fed Index
9:00 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices
10:00 Richmond Fed Index
8:30 Wholesale Inventories
10:00 Pending Home Sales
8:30 Jobless claims
9:45 Chicago PMI
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