Many expect Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s first move will be to continue the tapering schedule set forth by former Chairman Ben Bernanke. Bond buying should decrease from $65B to $55B per month. Differing from her predecessor, unemployment rates might not be used as the benchmark in determining where the economy’s growth stands. The February unemployment rate came out at 6.6% (0.1% above the Fed threshold for increasing interest rates). Many believe unemployment figures do not give an accurate depiction of the labor markets, and often note that many individuals have left the workforce, rather than continue to claim unemployment. “Equity markets have been very strong so far this week leading up to the results of new Fed Chairman Janet Yellen’s first meeting, which is expected to include the continued easing of the bond buying program,” said David Krein, Head of Research, NASDAQ OMX Global Indexes.
INDEX MOVES THIS WEEK
- NASDAQ BIOTECHNOLOGY INDEX (NBI) was up this week with a 3.03% return since Friday’s close. Year-to-date performance for the index is up 15%.
- PHLX GOLD/SILVER SECTOR (XAU) was down 5.43% as of noon on Wednesday from the most recent Friday close. The price of gold is currently $1,338 per ounce, down over $40 this week.
- NASDAQ US Buyback Achievers Index (DRB) was up 1.5% this week with a return just south of 9% since the beginning of February, making it one of the highest performing US equity indexes over that timeframe.
INDEX TO WATCH
- Solar energy has consistently been reaping in great returns with year-to-date and current week performances being 30% and 6%, respectively. Look for activity in the space by tracking NASDAQ OMX Solar (GRNSOLAR).