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August 22nd Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals did a lot this week but by the time markets closed there was little to nothing to show for it. Over the course of the past 5 days, gold more or less remained steady while silver actually took a bit of a beating. From an opening position of near $20/ounce, silver is going to finish the week much closer to the $19 mark. This is by no means a huge psychological blow to investors because silver is still sitting pretty as far as annual gains are concerned. In fact, where silver is sitting right now is barely more than a Dollar off its 52-week high.

FOMC Minutes Cause a Stir

One of this week’s biggest stories came on Wednesday in the form of the release of the minutes from the FOMC’s most recent meeting. Though there were very few people expecting to hear anything groundbreaking from the minutes, they were—as they always are—hawked over by investors the world over. Surprisingly, the minutes were not as straightforward as originally anticipated. In fact, the minutes showed that there were quite a few FOMC members who would have liked to see interest rates hiked in July.

The initial reaction to the minutes was that they were much more hawkish than expected and perhaps insinuated that further interest rate hikes might be happening at some point in the near future. However, a day later, when everyone had time to actually digest the data, it was then deemed to be more dovish than anything. The reason for this was due to the fact that even though the FOMC was clearly divided, the consensus was, overwhelmingly, that there needs to be more consistent, upbeat economic data across all sectors of the economy in order for rate hikes to be justified.

This simple fact means that we are not likely to see rate hikes anytime soon.

Other US Economic Data Dealt

Apart from the weekly jobless claims that is released each and every week, there was a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve which showed that the manufacturing sector of the US economy is improving steadily. The manufacturing sector has long been the source of inconsistent data, and investors are hoping that this is the first of many positive reports to come streaming in.

Finally, there was the weekly jobless claims data that everyone had to contend with. After a few consecutive weeks of upbeat data, consensus forecasts were for this week to show a rise in first-time jobless claims. Expectations were for the seasonally-adjusted average number of jobless claims to tick back upwards towards 270,000, however that did not prove to be the case. Officially, last week saw 4,000 fewer first-time claims for unemployment benefits than the week before. This brought the seasonally-adjusted average number of claims down to 262,000 and gave investors more reason to believe that employment in the US is upbeat and will likely remain that way.

For gold and silver, this was not the best news that could have been dealt. With that being said, the USD Index has spent much of the last month in a slump and that is actively aiding the prospects of precious metals. If the USD Index’s slump is doing nothing else, it is helping keep precious metals in their elevated positions. Even though it may seem as though the past few weeks have emitted nothing but losses for gold and silver, the fact of the matter is that both metals are sitting just below yearly highs, and are thought to have a lot of upside potential between now and the end of the year.

August 15th Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals did not exactly impress this week as a slow week of data ended up taking its toll on spot values. In total, there were very few massive pieces of economic data, but because of the general lack of data investors have been honing in on fringe reports more than they would at most other points in the year. Still, so long as market conditions remain flat and stagnant, precious metals are constantly under threat of being pushed lower and lower.

There was a big focus on the crude oil market this week, and this ended up not being such a good thing for metals.

Crude Oil Called Into the Spotlight

From the early parts of this week through the last day of trading there was constant talk about crude oil. The first splash made by crude came as a result of an oil stockpile report from the United States. To make a long story short, the US currently has stockpiles of crude oil that far outpace what experts had believed to be in stock. This sent the value of crude oil shooting downward as the same oversupply worries are beginning to creep back in.

From then on, the week became more positive for crude oil. This is so because there were rumors which were later confirmed that held that OPEC would be meeting next month to once again discuss the possibility of member-nations reducing their daily output of crude oil. Even though similar meetings have ended up being mostly fruitless in the past, comments from Saudi Arabia’s energy minister seem to have given some folks that this time around will be different. With some people believing that OPEC will end up stabilizing the crude oil market, the spot value of the commodity rode these comments to a positive end of the week.

Also giving oil a marginal boost was a massive fire that broke out in Louisiana at an oil refinery. The first has since been extinguished, however it did well for crude oil on Thursday because it scared investors into a corner and forced them to make safe-haven investments in crude.

US Economic Data Dealt

The biggest piece of US economic data that was dealt this week came in the form of a productivity report from the second quarter of this year. Unfortunately, this report marked the 3rd consecutive that was far worse than expectations. What’s more, it was the 3rd consecutive US productivity report that showed a decrease in overall productivity. This news did help precious metals a bit, but it was never going to be enough for metals to be pulled out of the red.

On Thursday, the weekly jobless claims data was dealt and showed that last week saw 1,000 fewer applications for unemployment benefits than the week before it. This brings the seasonally-adjusted average number of claims down to 266,000. So long as this figure remains below 300,000, investors and market experts are going to look at the US job market positively.

Is a report like this going to be enough to spur the Fed into raising rates sooner than later? Probably not. But it does do well to show that the US economy is still performing well and, realistically, outpacing most of its rivals. The US Dollar did well in the beginning of the week and this is just one more thing that weighed on precious metals. As we look forward to next week, there is a strong likelihood that it will, in many ways, mimic what we saw these past 5 days. Being that we are in the middle of the summer, there really isn’t all that much action to talk about.

August 8th Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals began backing off almost as soon as the day began thanks to stronger employment data being dealt. As far as the week as a whole is concerned, this one was particularly busy and brought with it a lot of useful data for investors to hawk over and discuss. For gold and silver, much of this data translated into nothing other than losses. Bringing this week to a close, metals are reeling and have lost significant value to finish the 5-day trading session.

Host of Employment Data Dealt

Something that made this week particularly exciting was the fact that there were a host of employment reports dealt from the US. The first of these reports came on Wednesday when the payrolls processor ADP published its reading on private-sector job growth during the month of July. To be fair, no one was expecting this piece of data to be particularly robust, so it was extremely shocking to see just shy of 200,000 jobs being added to the economy last month. As is typical of the ADP report, investors and market experts alike did not read into the data too heavily as it rarely coincides with the all-important non-farm payrolls report that was dealt today.

This piece of data, which was made public by the Department of Labor earlier in the morning, showed an astonishing number of jobs having been added to the US economy during the month of July. Even though expectations were for around an even 200,000 jobs to have been added to the economy, actual figures showed that there were actually 255,000 jobs created during the month of July. This not only shatters expectations, it is also something that will refuel the interest rate hike debate.

In addition to all of this data, the weekly jobless claims report was also dealt. This piece of data did not do much in the way of moving markets, but it was something investors needed to take in nonetheless. Officially, a few thousand more first-time claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week than the week before. Though this pushed the seasonally-adjusted average upward a bit, it did nothing to scare investors or have them think that the US employment situation is anything other than strong and improving all the time.

Central Banks Make Moves

Though it wasn’t the Federal Reserve this time, we do have some central bank policy changes to discuss. First it was Japan who unveiled an increased stimulus plan through which they will increase purchases of ETFs steadily over time. This move was made in response to a Japanese economy that continue to flounder and not make much progress. As a result, the Yen took a big hit in the immediate wake of this announcement and gave the greenback room to move forward.

In addition, the Bank of England announced on Thursday a host of policy changes aimed at calming the UK economy down in the wake of BRExit. Though there were quite a few changes to policy announced, one that stuck out more than others was the fact that UK interest rates were slashed by considerable margins. Reactions to these changes were mixed and did not end up having too much of an impact on the wider global marketplace.

As we move forward and look ahead to next week, there is not much that sticks out to investors nor market experts. It is highly anticipated that next week will be a typically slow August week with very few fresh pieces of economic data being made public. For gold and silver, Monday will be pivotal in determining which direction they head going forward. With much of the world’s reaction to today’s jobs data needing to wait until the time markets open on Monday, it is likely that metals may be beaten down further.

August 1st Weekly Silver Market Update

For precious metals, this 5-day trading session ended up being a positive one and the gains accrued by gold and silver were nothing to scoff at. This is especially true when you consider the fact that Monday and Tuesday saw precious metals lose a lot of ground. All in all, this week brought with it a lot of talking points; something that is surprising when you consider the fact that we are in the middle of the summer.

By the time we open the marketplace again on Monday, investors will have plenty of month-end economic data to begin looking forward to.

BoJ Meeting Takes Center Stage

One of the biggest talking points this week did not end up actually coming to fruition until the early morning hours of Friday. It is at this time when the Bank of Japan announced that they have decided to increase their monetary stimulus program by only marginal amounts. Announcing that they have officially decided to increase the number of ETFs purchased monthly, the market was taken aback. The real consensus in the leadup to this meeting was that stimulus measures would be expanded by a large margin, but such did not prove to be the case.

Precious metals did end up benefitting from the BoJ’s decision, however not as much as they might have benefitted would the BoJ have expanded policy even further. Still, with all this being said, Japanese monetary policy continues to play in the favor of precious metals as most people anticipate that stimulus measures are highly likely to expand further before anyone even thinks about reducing them.

FOMC Meeting Offers Little Insight

Earlier in the week the FOMC met for their monthly policy meeting. To be fair, there were not many people who expected the FOMC to make any monetary policy changes, so this week’s meeting was not as big of an event as the FOMC meeting usually is. By the time things had settled down on Wednesday afternoon, the market was greeted with the Fed’s decision to leave monetary policy, specifically interest rates, unchanged.

In her post-meeting statement, Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen offered few clues as to when we can expect rates to climb once more. In her remarks she simply commented that the US economy is strong and gaining more strength all the time. She made a point to highlight employment growth, which has been particularly impressive in recent weeks.

Investors were still mostly disappointed with the meeting, however, as nothing new came of it. In the end it was nothing more than a waste of time for most people as the market did not even really react to what Yellen had to say.

To be fair, this week brought with it a bunch of noteworthy headlines but nothing across the global market really changed as a result. Investors are still holding out hope that interest rates will be raised before the year comes to an end, but even this does not seem to be like a likely occurrence. For gold and silver, the longer interest rates in the US remain at current levels the better it is.

In addition, if Japan does decide in the near future to raise interest rates, you can expect that metals will receive an additional boost. All in all, the near-term and long-term futures both look bright for metals. It will be interesting to see, upon markets opening up next week, if metals can continue to rally like they did towards the end of this week.

July 18th Weekly Silver Market Update

Having more or less spun their wheels throughout the whole week, precious metals are going to be heading into the weekend not having a lot of positives to take away from the past 5 days. There was quite a bit of economic data dealt, but most of it was fringe data that did not necessarily concern investors all that much. Even despite this rather lackluster, losing week, gold and silver bulls are still in control and hold a lot of momentum. As such, the safe-haven demand that fueled precious metals’ rally a few weeks ago is still hanging around. Unfortunately, it does not have the power it once did and is doing more to prevent losses from becoming overstated than anything else.

As we look ahead to the rest of the month of July, the FOMC policy meeting, which is fast-approaching, will slowly but surely be called into focus. With fresh discussions regarding interest rate hikes in the US being a hot topic this week, there is still a lot that the Fed can do to flip the current global marketplace on its head.

Interest Rate Hikes Still Expected

Despite what you may have been hearing since the BRExit vote, there is still a fairly high likelihood that interest rates in the United States will be raised before the end of the year. In fact, there are some who believe that rates will be raised at least twice before 2016 is through. President of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Patrick Harker was quoted this week as saying that he expects to see rates hike twice before this year is brought to an end.

With all this being said, the general consensus remains that we will only see one more rate hike, if that. The fact of the matter is that even though the US economy is doing well, the rest of the world is far from that and may hold the Fed back from hiking rates more than they already have. It will be very interesting to see what happens at this month’s FOMC meeting, especially if US economic data continues to perform as well as it has been.

Other US Economic Data Dealt

Other US economic dealt included the producer price index from the month of June. While most experts were anticipating to see prices rise by .3% during June, the actual figures showed an increase of .5%. This was widely unexpected and helped give the already potent US stock index even more of a boost. And that was basically the story for gold and silver all week—better-performing equities held spot values back and prevented them from venturing any further forward.

In other US economic news, weekly jobless claims were even from last week to this week. This was great news because most expectations held that the claims would increase by more than 10,000. Adding to the upbeat tone of US employment data was the fact that the 4-week moving average of claims fell by almost 6,000. For those who may not know, the 4-week moving average is widely considered to be the most reliable view of the current condition of the US employment sector.

Finally, the Bank of England wrapped up their monthly policy meeting and did not make any changes to policy. This added a sense of calm across the UK and the world. Helping calm things in the UK down even further was the fact that a new PM is soon to be sworn in. What this means for the near and long-term futures of European economic performance, however, remains to be seen. The rest of the summer will be very interesting, that much is for sure.

June 27th Weekly Silver Market Update

For most of this week, both gold and silver ended up losing value. Trading session after trading session, both gold and silver continued to sink as many factors began stacking up the prospects of metals quite quickly. There was a good bit of news from the US which came in the form of commentary, growth expectations, and economic data. By week’s end, however, metals received a nice boost to recover most of what had been lost. We are now seeing both gold and silver ahold of some fresh momentum that will, in all likelihood, be carried into next week.

Other than the new emanating from the US, investors the world over were concerned with what the UK would decide with regard to their referendum vote. For those who might be unaware, the UK was left to decide this week whether it would remain part of the EU or if it would become an independent nation and forge its own future. This was a hotly contested topic, and one that has been in the spotlight for the better part of the last few months.

US Economic Data Dealt

The first item this week that brought attention to the US economy came in the form of the existing home sales report from the month of May. For the third straight month, sales of existing homes did better than they did the month before. According to the organization that published the data, the National Association of Realtors, the reason existing home sales have been so upbeat is largely due to the fact that interest rates have remained lower for longer than expected. Looking to take advantage of rates that may not remain low for an extended period of time, people are buying homes while the getting is good.

In addition to the upbeat existing home sales data, we were on the receiving end of a weekly jobless claims report that indicated 18,000 fewer first-time claims for unemployment were filed last week than the week before. This news alone was good, but it was just as encouraging for investors to see that the seasonally-adjusted number of first-time claims fell below 260,000. This is a huge psychological boost for people who want to see interest rates raised sooner rather than later.

Finally, Janet Yellen spoke to Congress this week and made it clear that the Fed must proceed with caution when it comes to raising rates. Beyond that, Yellen offered almost no indication as to when rates might be raised. At this point, the earliest time anyone is expecting to see rate hikes is in August, and even that is not the most likely of outcomes.

BRExit Vote in Focus

The biggest news of the week came in the form of a referendum vote in the UK which was aimed at determining whether the UK would remain in the European Union or not. For the longest time, it was widely believed that the UK would leave, but in recent weeks momentum formed around the “remain” camp. For gold and silver, this was bad news because an “exit” vote would have created enough economic uncertainty to give gold and silver a boost.

When the dust settled, it was determined that the United Kingdom would not remain a part of the European Union. This was amazing news for gold and silver and saw spot values immediately improve to close out the week. In fact, by the early morning hours, gold alone was up by more than $50 and did well to recover much of what was lost over the first 4 days of the week and end of last week. As we head into the last trading week of June, it will be interesting to see if spot values will continue to climb as a result of the UK’s decision, or if something will force spot values back downward.

July 4th Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals did not make as massive gains this week as they did last week, however it was a successful 5-day trading session nonetheless. As for the big topics of the week, there weren’t really many to choose from. Being that we were nearing both the end of the month and the end of the 2nd quarter, there was some economic data dealt, but it was generally overlooked and not read into too much by investors.

BRExit was still in focus this week, especially through Monday and Tuesday, but global markets calmed down significantly by midweek. Moving forward you can expect that the marketplace will continue to focus on BRExit and its consequences. For now, the GBP and general outlook regarding the UK is on a downward trend, and it is difficult to envision that changing anytime soon.

US Economic Data, Happenings Discussed

Speaking of BRExit, the UK’s decision to leave the EU is beginning to have consequences outside of Europe. In the US, it seems as though the choice by the UK is something that will affect the rate hike outlook. Now, there are quite a few people who are under the impression that not only are we not going to see anymore rate hikes this year, we may, in fact, see rate cuts. This is completely unexpected as almost everyone the world over was expecting nothing other than rate hikes throughout the duration of this year.

Some upbeat news for the US economy was dealt in the form of an upward revision to 1st quarter GDP data. While the initial reading for the first 3 months of the year showed that the US economy grew by .8%, the upward revision showed actual growth was more than 1%. This revision was not the biggest or most extravagant, but the fact of the matter is that any upward revision is going to be viewed as upbeat.

Gold, Silver Set for Historic Months, Quarters

Both gold and silver can reflect upon the last month and the last 3 months with glee as these are some great time for the bulls. As for silver, these past 3 months mark the best 3 month run the metal has seen in more than 4 years. Over the last few days of this week alone, silver eclipsed the $18/ounce threshold and is inching towards the $19 mark.

As for gold, the month of June will mark the best single month of the year apart from February. The great thing about these past few months’ worth of gains for both gold and silver is that it seems as though they can be sustained. It will be interesting to see, but with uncertainty and slow economic growth plaguing the global economy, it is highly likely that safe-haven demand for metals will persist.
To wrap things up, there was a report this week that European economic confidence in the month of June fell from May. Perhaps the most telling facet of this report was that it was officially filed before BRExit, so one can only imagine how much confidence would have fallen behind had it been released in the wake of the UK’s decision. To keep it simple, Europe will be facing an uphill climb over the course of the next few months if things do not remain stable. The UK in specific will be facing a challenge as well. The GBP has already been battered in recent days, and if things do not change in a hurry there is nothing to make us believe that the currency’s losses will not continue. All in all, the next few months, though normally slow and devoid of any major data, will be interesting in shaping the future of the EU and global economies.

June 20th Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals moved forward on almost every day this week as things seem to keep going in their favor recently. The big news, of course, was this week’s hosting the June FOMC policy meeting, but apart from that there was plenty else for investors to focus on. As we move forward, it will be interesting to see just how well gold and silver can perform. We are in the midst of the biggest rally we have seen in quite some time and, in the past two weeks alone, gold has gained more than 6%. These figures are unseen and quite contrary to what we witnessed throughout most of the Spring.

In addition to the FOMC meeting this week, the market was preoccupied with economic data from the United States as well as an upcoming referendum that may result in the United Kingdom departing the European Union. As you might have expected, this is a fairly large and potentially markets-moving vote, so it is currently at the focal point of the market’s attention.

FOMC Leaves Rates Unchanged

As expected, Wednesday brought about no changes to policy meeting by the time the FOMC finished up their meeting and the post-meeting speech was delivered. Members of the Fed expressed the need for caution when it comes to interest rate hikes, and did not really specify when we might be expected to see rates hiked again. This is perhaps the thing that resonates with investors most, because even when the Fed leaves rates untouched, they have typically provided a little bit of insight as to when rates might be hiked in the future. This time around investors were not so lucky.

Naturally, this inaction on the part of the Fed gave gold and silver a modest boost during the middle of the week. With that said, however, the boost given to precious metals was very small because mostly everyone had come to terms with the fact that rates would not be raised this time around.

The likelihood of a July rate hike seems to have also taken a large hit as a result of the Fed keeping rates steady. While only a few weeks ago polled investors put the likelihood rates would be raised in July at almost 60%, that same likelihood has now fallen to right around 10%. There are many people now who would not be at all surprised if we only saw one more interest rate hike before the year is through.

Economic Data Makes a Splash

Apart from the FOMC meeting, the market was paying close attention to some economic data released by the United States. First was a retail sales report from May which actually indicated sales that exceeded the expectations of the market. This was upbeat, but clearly did little to alter the way in which the Fed feels about hiking rates this month.

On Thursday, it was reported that first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week came in 13,000 more than the week before. This brought the seasonally-adjusted average number of claims closer to 300,000 and provided even more underlying support for precious metals. As the weeks move on, the weekly jobless claims report will be closely eyed as it is one of the key pieces of data thought to have a big impact on whether or not rates are raised by the Fed.

BRExit Takes Center Stage

The other big story lending support to gold and silver is the potential for a United Kingdom exit from the European Union. During one of the last days of the month, UK citizens will vote on whether they want to remain part of the EU or venture out on their own. The reason it is helping gold and silver so much is due to the fact that popular opinion holds that Britain’s days in the EU are numbered. What we mean by this is that most people anticipate that the UK will, in fact, depart the EU.

For gold and silver, the likelihood that the UK will leave the EU is great because no one is quite sure what will happen to the global marketplace should the UK depart. This alone is helping drive safe-haven demand forward.

June 13th Weekly Silver Market Update

Day after day this week, both gold and silver spot values trekked forward by noticeable margins. In fact, since the end of last week, whatever movement has taken place on the charts of gold and silver has been almost exclusively of the upward variety. If you are confused as to how metals are performing so well, the answer lies in the current outlook on interest rate hikes and when they will occur next in the United States.

For most of this 5-day trading session, the global marketplace was not on the receiving end of many new developments. In fact, very few noteworthy pieces of economic data nor geopolitical happenings made their way to the discussion, and as a result we witnessed the continued speculation with regard to what will happen to interest rates as well as when. If you are tired of this conversation continuing almost incessantly you might as well stop reading now, because there wasn’t much else on the minds of global investors. As we look forward to the week to come, I do not think there will be much of a shift in the topic of discussion, because the Federal Open Market Committee is going to hold their monthly policy meeting Tuesday into Wednesday, with a post-meeting address to be made by Janet Yellin.

Investors Scramble as Rate Hikes Seemingly Put on Hold

Ever since the latter parts of last week, the global marketplace has been the epicenter of a lot of frenzied activity. The reason for this is a simple one—investors are no longer convinced that interest rates will be risen as a result of next week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting. This change in thought has come about mostly because of the much poorer than expected tone of the May employment report that was released last week. In the Labor Department’s report, it was shown that fewer than 40,000 new, non-farm payrolls were created during the month of May. This data was shocking and flew directly in the face of expectations that held that a minimum of 100,000 new jobs were created last week.

When you consider the fact that the likelihood of interest rates being risen depends directly on the tone of US economic data, it is easy to see why this single report was enough to send investors everywhere reeling. Though this type of reaction coming as a result of one single piece of data may seem shocking, the fact of the matter is that the Labor Department’s report on employment growth is arguably the single most important piece of economic data delivered every month.

For gold and silver, this change in thought on the part of investors all over the globe is something that has dramatically given spot values a boost. In little more than a week, both gold and silver have been able to recover much of the value that had been lost in the early parts of May. Now, silver is back up above $17/ounce while gold is inching ever-nearer to the $1,300 threshold. If things continue as they have gone over the past week and a half or so, gold and silver might hit new highs just in time for the inevitable slowdown brought on by the summer months. Though it is far too early to speak with any certainty with regard to gold and silver’s near-term prospects, the simple fact of the matter is that, at the present moment, the future of gold and silver is looking brighter than it has at any point over the last 30 or so days. It will be interesting to see, come Monday, if the upward movement of gold and silver can be built upon, or if profit-taking will push spot values back down a bit.

June 6th Weekly Silver Market Update

On this final day of the week, gold and silver performed in much the same way that they have all week. Even though this was an abbreviated week, precious metals still managed to continue to extend their downtrend. To put it simply, the many factors that influence the global marketplace are stacked up against metals and have been for some time now. Unfortunately, this much does not seem like it is going to change at any point in the near future, and that alone is keeping many potential investors at bay.

As we look ahead to next week, we are getting just a few steps closer to the next FOMC meeting. This is naturally one of the biggest occurrences in recent history because most people are expecting interest rates to be risen again.

OPEC Meeting A Fruitless Endeavor

Yet again, the oil cartel OPEC saw member nations meet in Central Europe this week to discuss potentially cutting daily production of crude oil. Keeping with recent trends, however, the meeting was mostly useless because there was almost no one who could see eye-to-eye. While larger member-nations are ok to cut daily production by some degree, smaller nations who are almost solely reliant on crude oil exports are not so keen on the idea of reducing output. This has been the same story for more than the past 6 months, and will likely continue to be.

Luckily for crude oil recently, factors in Africa and Canada have provided a temporary supply shortage which has helped prop up spot values. Before long, however, it is widely believed that the factors causing the shortages will go away and a supply-glut will once again become a theme.

Crude oil is so important to precious metals investors because more often than not the spot value of crude oil and the spot values of metals are positively correlated. More recently we have notice a bit of a negative correlation, but no matter what way you cut it crude oil cannot be mentioned without metals also being mentioned.

Upbeat Employment Data Dealt

The likelihood that we will see interest rate hikes before the end of the month was given another healthy boost this week thanks to some upbeat employment data from the United States. In fact, employment data in recent history has been upbeat and generally positive.

This week was no different as the weekly jobless claims report ended up showing that 1,000 fewer claims for first-time unemployment benefits were handed down last week than the week before. This is the third straight week that unemployment claims have fallen, and it brings the seasonally-adjusted average that much closer to the 165,000. As for how the general attitude towards the employment market in the US is concerned, people have very few concerns at this point.

Keeping with the upbeat employment news was the ADP private-sector jobs growth report, which was released on Thursday as well. This report indicated that many more jobs were created last month than were originally expected. Now, of course, the market is going to see what all this employment data means for the future of interest rates. With the FOMC meeting for June only days away, the speculation with regard to rate hikes has never been more believable. Though it is tough to say what the future holds, I am confident that the next few weeks will be very interesting.