Here’s why you might not have to pay a 6% commission next time you sell a home

Going back decades, if you wanted to buy or sell a stock on the open market, you had to pay a 2% commission to buy and a 2% commission to sell. Then the advent of discount brokerage, led by Charles Schwab Corp.
SCHW,
+1.64%
,
made lower commissions available until eventually, with improved technology and efficiency, the entire industry changed to enable the average investor to avoid commissions completely.

But the internet hasn’t done much to reduce the cost of selling a home in the U.S. Sellers typically pay a 6% commission to a real-estate agent to list and sell a home, with the seller’s agent splitting that commission with the buyer’s agent. But all of that may change because of a verdict this week in a class-action lawsuit in federal court against the National Association of Realtors.

Aarthi Swaminathan covers the case, what may happen next and the implications for home sellers and buyers:

Real-estate advice from the Moneyist


MarketWatch illustration

Quentin Fottrell — the Moneyist — works with three readers to answer tricky real-estate questions:

Economic outlook

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell may have bolstered the case that the central bank is finished raising interest rates for this economic cycle. The federal-funds rate was left in its target range of 5.25% to 5.50%.

Jon Gray, the president of Blackstone Group, spoke with MarketWatch Editor in Chief Mark DeCambre and said he expected the Fed to succeed in bringing down inflation without pushing the U.S. economy into a deep recession.

Friday employment numbers: Jobs report shows 150,000 new jobs in October as U.S. labor market cools

Bond-market trend switches again

The U.S. Treasury yield curve has been inverted for nearly a year.


FactSet

Normally, longer-term bonds have higher yields than those with short maturities. But the yield curve has been inverted for nearly a year, with 3-month U.S. Treasury bills
BX:TMUBMUSD03M
having higher yields than 10-year Treasury notes
BX:TMUBMUSD10Y.

There has been elevated demand for long-term bonds, as investors have anticipated a recession and a reversal in Federal Reserve interest-rate policy. When interest rates decline, bond prices rise and vice versa.

As you can see on the chart above, the yield curve was narrowing until mid-October. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes were close to 5% on Oct. 19, but they have been falling the past several days as the three-month yield has remained close to 5.5%.

In this week’s ETF Wrap, Christine Idzelis reports on where all the money is flowing in the bond market.

In the Bond Report, Vivien Lou Chen summarizes the action as investors react to the Federal Reserve’s decision not to change its federal-funds-rate target range this week and to other economic news.

For income-seekers looking to avoid income taxes, here’s a deep dive into municipal bonds, with taxable-equivalent yields and a deeper look at those within four high-tax states.

Ford’s good news — in the bond market

Ford Motor Co.’s debt rating has been lifted by S&P to investment-grade.


Getty Images

Ford Motor Co.’s
F,
+4.14%

credit rating was upgraded to an investment-grade rating by Standard & Poor’s on Monday. This takes about $67 billion in bonds out of the high-yield, or “junk,” market, as Ciara Linnane reports.

A stock-market warning based on history

The original Magnificent Seven.


Courtesy Everett Collection

By now you have probably heard the term “Magnificent Seven” used to describe stocks of the tremendous tech-oriented companies that have led this year’s rally for the S&P 500
SPX
: Apple Inc.
AAPL,
-0.52%
,
Microsoft Corp.
MSFT,
+1.29%
,
Amazon.com Inc.
AMZN,
+0.38%
,
Nvidia Corp.
NVDA,
+3.45%
,
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL,
+1.26%

GOOG,
+1.39%
,
Meta Platforms Inc.
META,
+1.20%

and Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
+0.66%
.
With Tesla’s recent decline, that company is now the ninth-largest holding in the portfolio of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust
SPY,
which tracks the benchmark index. Here are the top 10 companies held by SPY (11 stocks, including two common-share classes for Alphabet), with total returns through Thursday:

Company

Ticker

% of SPY portfolio

2023 total return

2022 total return

Total return since end of 2021

Apple Inc.

AAPL,
-0.52%
7.2%

37%

-26%

1%

Microsoft Corp.

MSFT,
+1.29%
7.1%

46%

-28%

5%

Amazon.com Inc.

AMZN,
+0.38%
3.5%

64%

-50%

-17%

Nvidia Corp.

NVDA,
+3.45%
3.0%

198%

-50%

48%

Alphabet Inc. Class A

GOOGL,
+1.26%
2.1%

44%

-39%

-12%

Meta Platforms Inc. Class A

META,
+1.20%
1.9%

158%

-64%

-8%

Alphabet Inc. Class C

GOOG,
+1.39%
1.8%

45%

-39%

-11%

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B

BRK.B,
+0.80%
1.8%

13%

3%

17%

Tesla Inc.

TSLA,
+0.66%
1.7%

77%

-65%

-38%

UnitedHealth Group Inc.

UNH,
-0.98%
1.4%

2%

7%

9%

Eli Lilly and Company

LLY,
-2.15%
1.3%

60%

34%

115%

Sources: FactSet, State Street (for SPY holdings)

Five of these stocks (including the two Alphabet share classes) are still down from the end of 2021. SPY itself has returned 14% this year, following an 18% decline in 2022. It is still down 7% from the end of 2021.

Mark Hulbert makes the case that a decade from now, the Magnificent Seven are unlikely to be among the largest companies in the stock market.

More from Hulbert: These dividend stocks and ETFs have healthy yields that can lift your portfolio

A different market opportunity: India is seeing a multidecade growth surge. Here’s how you can invest in it.

The MarketWatch 50


MarketWatch

The MarketWatch 50 series is back, with articles and video interviews starting this week, including:

PayPal soars after earnings report

PayPal CEO Alex Chriss.


MarketWatch/PayPal

After the market close on Wednesday, PayPal Holdings Inc.
PYPL,
+1.89%

announced quarterly results that came in ahead of analysts’ expectations, and the stock soared 7% on Thursday even though the company lowered its target for improving its operating margin.

In the Ratings Game column, Emily Bary reports on the positive reaction to PayPal’s new CEO, Alex Chriss.

A less enthusiastic earnings reaction: EV-products maker BorgWarner’s stock suffers biggest drop in 15 years after downbeat sales outlook

Consumers drive mixed reactions to earnings results

Apple Inc. reported mixed quarterly results.


Mario Tama/Getty Images

Here’s more of the latest corporate financial results and reactions. First the good news:

And now the news that may not be so good:

Harsh verdict for SBF

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.


AP

It might seem that some legal battles never end, but it took only a year from the collapse of FTX for the cryptocurrency exchange’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, to be convicted on all seven federal fraud and money-laundering charges brought against him. The charges were connected to the disappearance of $8 billion from FTX customer accounts.

Here’s more reaction and coverage of the virtual-currency industry:

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