The Markets (as of market close December 13, 2019)

Positive developments finally arrived in the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Last Friday, President Trump announced phase one of a trade deal with China. The president indicated that he would forgo the imposition of tariffs scheduled for December 15 and reduce existing tariffs on about $120 billion of Chinese imports. According to the president’s tweets, China has agreed to make large purchases of targeted farm, energy, and manufactured goods. A representative of the Chinese government said the purchases would total about $200 billion over two years. Meanwhile, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party enjoyed a robust victory in last week’s elections, securing a strong majority in Parliament. This development should give Johnson the votes needed to secure a Brexit deal and foster a new relationship with the European Union. Finally, the Federal Reserve maintained interest rates, noting strong consumer spending and steady economic growth.

All of this helped push stocks marginally higher for the week. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted gains, led by the Global Dow, most likely on the probability of a Brexit deal. The Nasdaq advanced close to 1.0%, followed by the S&P 500, the Dow, and the Russell 2000.

Oil prices inched higher last week, closing at $59.82 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week’s price of $59.12. The price of gold (COMEX) climbed last week, closing at $1,480.20 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week’s price of $1,464.50. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.561 per gallon on December 9, 2019, $0.014 less than the prior week’s price but $0.140 more than a year ago Click for more: Winthrop Partners Market Update 12-16-19