Stocks were lower last week as investors digest the change in policy stance from the Federal reserve and a new strain of COVID. The heavy selling in technology stocks extended to the crypto currency universe where prices also dropped. Bitcoin dropped sharply over the weekend, trading below $50,000.
A measure of U.S. services industry activity unexpectedly rose in November, hitting a fresh record high as businesses boosted hiring, but there was little sign that supply constraints were easing and prices remained high. The Institute for Supply Management said their non-manufacturing activity index increased to 69 last month, the highest reading since the series started in 1997. This index is important because the services sector accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
New orders for U.S.-made goods increased more than expected in October and businesses spending on equipment appeared to rebound after declining in the third quarter. The Commerce Department said that factory orders increased 1.0% in October. Data for September was revised higher to show orders gaining 0.5% instead of 0.2% as previously reported. Factory orders increased 17.1% on a year-on-year basis. Manufacturing, which accounts for 12% of the economy, is being driven by still-strong demand for goods despite spending shifting back to services.