Is the worst over - or is this the calm before the storm?

After a lower start on Friday, stocks managed to work their way back near breakeven. But aside from the flat Friday, it was a great week!

The S&P finished higher 4 out 5 trading sessions.

And believe it or not, things were pretty quiet last week. It was the first time since early October that we've had 5 days in a row without the S&P closing up or down by 1% or more in either direction.

Here's what traders are focusing on:

  • Trade - U.S. and China officials met in Beijing last week and there seemed to be some progress made. The meetings were even extended a day.
  • The Fed - Fed Chair Jerome Powell helped ease some trader concerns. At the Economic Club of Washington on Thursday, Powell said he doesn't see a U.S. recession being an issue in 2019 and he believes the economy is on "solid" footing. He also said the Fed has "the ability to be patient and watch patiently and carefully as we watch the economy evolve."
  • The Government Shutdown - In the past, temporary shutdowns have had little impact on the markets. But now we are in uncharted territory. Over the weekend, the shutdown became the longest in U.S. history. As of Sunday, the partial government shutdown has lasted 23 days.

Here's where the major indices ended the week:

  • The S&P finished with a  2.5% gain. Up 64 points, the S&P ended at 2,596.
  • The DOW ended higher by 2.4%. Adding 563 points, the DOW closed at 23,996.
  • The NASDAQ was up 3.5%. With a 233 point gain, the NASDAQ finished at 6,971.
  • Bitcoin finished lower by 4.6%. Down $175, Bitcoin ended at $3,625.

Crude Oil (CL) snapped a 9-day inning streak on Friday but finished higher for the 2nd week in a row. Up 7.6%, CL ended at $51.67 a barrel.

Netflix (NFLX) has been on fire. Last week the stock was up 13.5%. And in just 2 weeks, Netflix is up 26.1% for the year!

General Motors (GM) was up 7.1% after better than expected earnings.

This upcoming week traders will be focused on earnings. Q4 earnings season will kick off with big banks like Citigroup (C) reporting Monday, and JPMorgan (JPM) reporting Tuesday.

And this earnings season could be a tough one. According to Factset, 106 S&P 500 companies have issued guidance for the fourth quarter. And 46 have issued negative revenue guidance (provided an estimate before reporting actual results).

Trading Futures, options on futures and retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. You should carefully consider whether trading is suitable for you in light of your circumstances, knowledge, and financial resources. You may lose all or more of your initial investment. The lower the day trade margin, the higher the leverage and riskier the trade. Leverage can work for you as well as against you; it magnifies gains as well as losses. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.