Market Recap – November 2014
Equities generally continued to push upward in November. The small caps of the Russell 2000 were the exception; they ended the month flat and were up less than 1% for the year. However, the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials once again hit new record levels, while the Nasdaq increased its year-to-date lead. Meanwhile, the Global Dow had its best month since February.
Oil prices already on the decline continued to fall, especially after members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided not to cut oil production levels, sending the price plummeting to roughly $66 a barrel. The price of gold continued its year-long downward trend despite a partial rebound from a dip in early November; it ended the month down roughly 4% at approximately $1,175 an ounce. Meanwhile, low yields overseas continued to lure investors to U.S. Treasuries, sending yields down as prices rose despite the prospect of an eventual Fed rate hike.
- U.S. gross domestic product grew during the third quarter at a slightly faster rate than the Bureau of Economic Analysis had previously estimated. However, the 3.9% increase in GDP was less than Q2's 4.6%.
- The U.S. unemployment rate edged down 0.1% to 5.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy added 214,000 jobs, most of them in restaurants, retail, and health care. The new jobs figure was slightly lower than the 222,000 monthly average so far this year. Meanwhile, a 3-cent increase during the month brought the average hourly wage to $24.57; that average is up just under 2% over the last 12 months.
- U.S. inflation was low enough to prompt the Fed's monetary policy committee to say it will keep an eye out for signs of falling inflation, which could potentially delay any rate increase. Lower gas prices helped offset increases in housing costs; that left the Consumer Price Index unchanged for the month and the annual rate at 1.7%, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the 1.5% annualized wholesale inflation rate was the lowest since February.
The Month Ahead
As a strong year for equities draws to a close, some investors may begin assessing whether to take some profits off the table or harvest any losses to offset realized capital gains. And all economic data is likely to be viewed through the prism of how it might affect Fed thinking about potential rate increases next year.
Source: Forefield Financial Communications.
Notes: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. Market indexes listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.
The performance quoted represents past performance, which does not guarantee future results. This summary represents the views of the portfolio manager as of November 30, 2014. Those views may change, and the Funds disclaim any obligation to advise investors of such changes. The Azzad Funds are self-distributed and available by prospectus only. A free copy of the prospectus, which contains information about the Funds’ risks, fees, and objectives, and other important information, is available at www.azzadfunds.com or by calling 888.350.3369. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2000 U.S. small-cap common stocks measuring the performance of those Russell mid-cap companies with higher price-to-book ratios and higher forecasted growth values. The stocks are also members of the Russell 1000 Growth index. The Dow Jones Sukuk Index is designed to track the performance of global Islamic fixed-income securities, also known as Sukuk. The index includes U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade Sukuk that have been screened for Shari’ah compliance.