Another commodity having a rough year is gold. Gold futures were down 4.8 percent in the third quarter. There are a number of factors working against gold. ADP showed that U.S. companies added 200,000 private-sector jobs in September, better than expected. As positive economic news comes out, the better the chances that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, which would be good for the U.S. dollar and bad for gold. A strong U.S. dollar is bad for gold prices, as well as with a number of other commodities. Gold finished the quarter at $1,115.20 an ounce on Comex, the lowest closing price in more than two weeks. Silver was down 6.8 percent for the quarter, closing at $14.518 an ounce. Platinum closed Wednesday at $907.20 an ounce for October. This marks a 25 percent decrease year to date. Copper has fallen 17 percent year to date and closed at $2.341 a pound.
Despite the stock market woes and global worries, Consumer Confidence in the U.S. grew in September. A survey of consumer confidence showed an increase in September to a level or 103.0. That is up from the August level of 101.1. The Present Situation Index, which is a measure of current conditions, climbed to an eight year high. It’s not all positive, however. The Future expectations Index fell from 91.6 to 91.0. This indicates that U.S. consumers do not see growth picking up in the near future. While consumers are feeling pretty good right now, there are still a lot of signs that show that the economy has a long way to go to fully recover. Annual growth in the U.S. has not reached 3 percent since 2005 and more than 16 million people who would like a full-time job cannot find one. There is good news, as well. Hiring is strong, job openings are at an all-time high, and there are some signs that wages are starting to increase as the unemployment rate shrinks.
The stock market got some positive news from China on Thursday. Chinese manufacturing numbers were stronger than expected. Unfortunately, the U.S. manufacturing numbers were not as positive. The Institute for Supply Management reported its Manufacturing Index dropped from 51.1 percent in August to 50.2 percent in September. The stronger dollar, along with a weaker global economy, are hurting U.S. exports.
Two other reports came out this week with concerning news. Jobless Claims increased last week to 277,000 -- up 10,000 from the previous week. Although this is the highest number of new claims in a month, the weekly average for the year is the lowest since the early 1970s. The news got worse Friday morning as the Non-Farm Payrolls rose by 142,000 in September -- missing expectations of a gain of 200,000 jobs. In addition, the August numbers were revised sharply lower to an increase of 136,000. It is believed that hiring in the U.S. has slowed due to the weakening global economy. This news sent the stock market lower. This may lead the Fed to delay an increase in interest rates.
In other news, U.S. house prices rose .6 percent in July. Cities in the west; such as, Portland and San Diego led the increase. Consumer Spending was higher in August. New automobile sales and strong back-to-school sales were driving factors in the increase.
This week we having the following reports coming out:
- Monday -- ISM Nonmanufacturing Index
- Tuesday -- Trade Deficit
- Wednesday -- Consumer Credit
- Thursday -- Weekly Jobless Claims and FOMC Minutes
- Friday - Import Price Index and Wholesale Inventories