The market ended the week, and month, with two consecutive days finishing with gains. The Dow [[^DJI]] boosted 144 points, ending the worst month in over 21 years down 14.1% since October began. The S&P [[^GSPC]] saw an increase of 1.54%, and the Nasdaq [[^IXIC]] moved up 1.32%. Though consumer spending dropped again this month, JP Morgan (JPM) has announced that they will not refrain from foreclosing problem mortgages for up to 90 days, in an effort to find an alternative solution by potentially decreasing principal amounts or interest rates to reduce the load of ailing consumers.
Though consumer spending dropped as expected, it fell less than analysts on Wall Street had anticipated. The consensus estimated a drop to a reading of 57.5, but in actuality, it fell to 57.6. Virtually insignificant, however the importance here is that it did not drop lower than expected, like it has done in the past.
European markets advanced once again today as all three major indices record positive closing prices. The FTSE [[^FTSE]] jumped 2%, while the CAC [[^FCHI]] gained 2.33%, and the DAX [[^GDAXI]] bumped up 2.44%. Asian markets declined after the Bank of Japan decreased their bench mark rate from 0.5% to 0.3% on the shrinking job market, and slower inflation. The Nikkei dropped 5.01%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng [[^HSI]] sank 2.52%, and the Straits Times [[^STI]] fell the least, with a decrease of 0.43%.
Oil advanced $1.52, or 2.30%, at the end of this week, cushioning the worst monthly drop in oil prices in over 25 years. Prices fell 32% this month, to $67.81. Gas prices fell 4 cents overnight, making the average gas price $2.504. Gold dropped 2.78% during today's trading session. Investor's continue to find values in equities as the commodities boom continues to cool.
The dollar made further gains against both the euro and the yen during market hours on Friday. Japan's interest rate cut has played a part in the demand for the yen. The USD is now trading around 98.700 yen, and 0.7854 euros.
Barclays' (BCS) raised $7.3 billion pounds from Middle Eastern investors as a way to avoid being backed by the British Government. Three investors could end up owning up to one third of the company.
Disclosure: The fund the author is associated with holds a long position in JPM.