Those us who predicted 2019 would be a banner year for stocks — including Zacks Exec VP Kevin Matras — have been borne out with flying colors here on this last (half) trading day of the year. However, whereas many of us thought the strength would come from gig-economy IPOs like Uber (UBER - Free Report) ) and Lyft ((LYFT - Free Report) ), along with extensive business investment keeping market indexes humming, the strength has come from other sources.
Chief among them has been the continued robust U.S. labor market, which in November shot well above the trailing 12-month average to 266K new jobs created, and 3.5% on the Unemployment Rate. This has provided a big boost to consumer confidence this year, which has far surpassed business investment in terms of domestic economic strength.
As a result, gig economy stocks have paled in comparison to tried-and-true consumer stocks like Chipotle ((CMG - Free Report) ) and Target ((TGT - Free Report) ) this year. And while we have seen plenty of IPO activity this past year, it was dominated for much of 2019 by companies like Beyond Meat ((BYND - Free Report) ) (which has since come back down to earth, much like the marijuana stocks did last year).
Speaking of Consumer Confidence, the December index is expected this morning after the opening bell sounds for the final time this year. November’s read was 125.5, off the highs of this past summer but above the 12-month low, which came January 2019 at 121.7. The 12-month high was in July at 135.8, which also represents the highest level of consumer confidence in the last 10 years. For historical perspective, the 10-year low barely scraped above 40 back in late 2011.
Also after today’s open, a new Case-Shiller Home Price Index comes out for October. This is a lagging indicator, but considered the most accurate in determining home prices around different regions in the country. September’s read was up 3.2%. This index has seen a steady rise from multi-year lows reached in March 2012, and has risen 56% over that time period.
Ahead of Wall Street, like the rest of Zacks.com, will be off in observance of New Year’s Day tomorrow. Stock markets pick up again for normal trading on Thursday morning.
We hope everyone has a safe and prosperous New Year 2020. Please don’t forget to check out our Top Stock Recommendations for next year, listed below. Auld Lang Syne, y’all!