The Major Markets closed higher across the board last week. The Nasdaq led the pack with a sizeable gain of 2.77% for the week, re-establishing the gains year to date.
While the weekly gains help the indices to move more towards positive territory, daily trading volume was some of the lowest that we’ve seen so far this year in the S&P 500.
Concerns about potential trade wars subsided as Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on Tuesday about his plans to open up China’s economy. His words echoed Mnuchin’s comments from last week by saying that “China does not seek [a] trade surplus. We have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account,”
That same day, the World Trade Organization announced that China had filed a complaint on the much publicized steel and aluminum tariffs.
International concerns turned toward Syria as President Trump tweeted that missiles would be fired at Syria in response to the suspected chemical attack from the Syrian government that killed at least 40 people in a rebel-held town.
This event came to fruition over the weekend as the US, France and UK hit multiple targets Saturday.
Meanwhile, the price of Oil rose on these concerns. By Friday’s close, the S&P Crude Oil Index had risen 8.6% to extend the Year to date gains to 12.68%
Finally, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in Washington D.C., answering questions regarding the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and Russia’s alleged use of Facebook to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As some pointed out later, it became clear that many in Washington do not have a firm grasp of understanding on Facebook’s business model nor to what extent users can control their own privacy as part of regular use of the platform.
In the end, Facebook along with the overall tech sector rose higher as all but three sectors closed out the week with gains. However, Facebook is not fully out of the clear. Reuters now reports that Zuckerberg “severely contradicted critical factual positions” in a legal case brought on by victims and relatives of family members of terrorist attacks.
At issue was the responsibility that Facebook held for policing online speech. Ultimately, the $3 billion case against Facebook was dismissed in May of last year. In the dismissal of the case, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said that federal law regulating internet content shielded the company for failing to remove harmful or offensive content.
However, Zuckerberg said in last week’s testimony that the company is “responsible for the content” on its platform. This could present new challenges for the social media company as one issue seems to be subsiding.