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Good morning, here is your weekly briefing.
1. The Dow rose over 22,000 for the first time.
Since President Trump’s inauguration, the stock market has been carried to record highs repeatedly in large part because of the pro-business attitude of this administration. Last Wednesday, the Dow reached a record high of 22,000, which puts the Dow at an 11.79% year-to-date change.
This week, the Dow was buoyed up by Apple and their robust quarterly iPhone sales. Apple, IBM, Visa, and Boeing are responsible for 98% of the year to date gains.
2. President Trump backs the RAISE Act, vowing to reform immigration.
Last Wednesday, the president announced that he fully supported the immigration reform act which would seek to slash legal immigration by half in the coming decade.
It would seek to introduce a point based system in which you’d receive points in different criteria, such as education, English proficiency, age, investments in the U.S., future salary, and achievements (such as holding a Nobel prize).
It would also ensure that new green card holders would not be able to receive any means-tested federal benefits for five years after arriving.
3. Justice Department vows to investigate and prosecute persons leaking White House information.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an effort to clamp down on leakers within the White House. The announcement comes a mere 10 days after the president tweeted that the Justice Department had been weak on pushing investigations.
A new FBI unit has been created to handle the cases.
4. Russia sanction legislation arrived at Donald Trump’s desk — he signed it.
After near unanimous consent in both legislative houses, the piece of legislation that would impose sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 election arrived at President Trump’s desk.
The country watched closely whether or not he would sign the bill. With allegations of collusion pending, not signing would’ve been a telling moment. Despite being a critic of the legislation, primarily due to the limitations put on the president to veto bills, he signed it.
5. Venezuela’s new governing assembly moves quickly — attorney general and critic of President Maduro removed from office.
With approval numbers in the low 20s, the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and other government officials, would face what seemed impossible elections in 2018. However, that quickly changed after the creation of constituent assembly last week.
Many world leaders have already dubbed Venezuela a dictatorship, and many countries, including the U.S., have imposed sanctions on the nation already plagued with poverty.
In an effort to consolidate their power, the government removed Attorney General Luisa Ortega from office. She was an outspoken critic of the president.
6. In other sanction news: UN Security Council votes unanimously to impose new sanctions on North Korea.
In response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution to toughen sanctions on the country which lies north on the Korean Peninsula.
The U.S.-led resolution bans North Korean export of seafood and minerals, which is worth more than $1 billion.
China hopes the resolution will halt the development of THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea, which was a response to the heightened North Korean missile activity.
7. The 2028 Summer Olympics will be held in Los Angeles.
Paris and Los Angeles had both bid for the 2024 Games, but Los Angeles stepped aside until 2028 after the Los Angeles Organizing Committee signed a contract with the International Olympic Committee that will give $2.38 billion in an effort to increase participation in youth sports programs.
8. Finally, July jobs report shows 209,000 jobs added in the month of July.
The Labor Department reported that 209,000 jobs were added in the month of July, making the U.S. reach the lowest unemployment numbers since 2001.
While numbers were slightly down compared to the month of June which added 231,000 jobs, it was still higher than what most economists expected.
The average hourly wage rose by 9 cents (0.3%) over the month of July, putting the hourly earnings for the year at a total of 2.5%.
Weekly Market Recap
Approximately 75% of the companies listed in the S&P 500 have now released their second quarter results, and earnings are up 10.1% year-over-year — the projected earnings were 6.4%.
While the Dow hit its new milestone of 22,000, the S&P 500 failed to reach new heights. However, the job report will most likely play well with the markets for some time ahead, as it provides support for moderate economic growth in the coming months.
This coming week will most likely be a quiet one, at least on the larger scale. We’ll keep an eye on the inflation data that will be released on Friday morning, as well as the 35 companies from the S&P 500 that are expected to release their second quarter earnings.
Weekly Market Change
Have a good rest of the week.
The Brief is a weekly briefing which gives the reader the bread and butter of what happened in the previous week. Grab your cup of coffee this Monday morning and read a bite-sized version of what happened last week. Subscribe to The EC Journal mailing list to get The Brief in your e-mail inbox every Monday.
This week's read deals with the issue of money in politics.