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Weekly Market Commentary- 12/05/17

12/05/2017
What will it take to shake investors’ confidence? From the perspective of unsettling events, last week was jam-packed. North Korea claimed to have the capability to strike the United States with a nuclear missile, tax reform continued to travel a controversial path through the House and Senate, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia's ambassador. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 11/28/17

11/28/2017
There was a lot to be thankful for last week. Stock markets around the world may have ripened to full-slip sweetness this year. Emerging markets have delivered the most attractive returns year-to-date. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was up 34 percent year-to-date, last week. The United States and Europe have marched higher, too. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up about 16 percent year-to-date, while the Euro Stoxx Index was up 11.3 percent, reported Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 11/21/17

11/21/2017
Are investors more like tigers or African wild dogs? It appears investors – retail and institutional – have become rather like predators. They patiently stalk shares, waiting for a dip, and then they strike – buying stocks when prices fall. Consider last week. Barron’s described it like this: “The Dow traded down nearly 80 points on Monday, 170 points on Tuesday, and 170 points on Wednesday, but each time the blue-chip benchmark finished off its lows." Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 11/14/17

11/14/2017
Selling it overseas. Most of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index have reported third quarter earnings per share (EPS), which is the profit earned per share of stock outstanding during the period. Many have done quite well. With more than 90 percent of companies reporting, the total EPS growth rate for the S&P 500 has exceeded expectations, reported FactSet. In aggregate, the growth rate accelerated from 3.1 percent on September 30 to 6.1 percent last week. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 11/7/17

11/07/2017
“Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s statement is engraved on the front of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, D.C. Some people agree with the sentiment. Others believe it to be a logical fallacy. It’s likely the tax plan proposed by House Republicans last week had all of them talking, regardless of position on the opinion spectrum Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 10/31/17

10/31/2017
The last full week of October was a box full of surprises. First, U.S. economic growth exceeded expectations. The devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria was widely expected to stifle U.S. quarterly growth, according to NPR. The Atlanta Federal Reserve predicted 2.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP)* growth for third quarter, down from 3.1 percent the previous quarter. Instead, U.S. GDP grew by 3.0 percent. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 10/24/17

10/24/2017
And the hits just keep on coming. Last week was the anniversary of Black Monday. On October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) lost 508 points, or more than 20 percent of its value, as it fell from the previous trading day’s closing value of 2,247 to 1,739. The culprits behind the historic drop are widely thought to be program trading, high valuations, and market psychology. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 10/17/17

10/17/2017
There’s a new kid in town: narrative economics. Last week, Richard Thaler was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. His work in behavioral economics and finance recognizes not all economic and financial decisions are made after rational reflection. In Nudge, he wrote: “The workings of the human brain are more than a bit befuddling. How can we be so ingenious at some tasks and so clueless at others?" Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 10/10/17

10/10/2017
Slow and steady... It has been 332 days since the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index experienced a 5 percent drop, reported Barron’s. If there isn’t a selloff on Monday or Tuesday, this will become the longest rally without such a drop. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 10/03/17

10/03/2017
A lot happened during the third quarter of 2017, but not much changed. The bull market in U.S. stocks continued to charge ahead. Traditional measures of valuation continued to suggest the market is overvalued, but some analysts argued it’s different this time. The Economist explained: “The current [cyclically-adjusted price-to-earnings] ratio of 31 suggests that stocks are about 50% over-valued – a figure that has only been exceeded in the past 60 years during the dot-com bubble." Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 09/26/17

09/26/2017
Geopolitics, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin'! In January, Robert Kahn of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote in Global Economics Monthly: “Markets showed impressive resilience in the face of a range of geopolitical shocks in 2016, but recent market moves suggest this year could be different…It should be the year that global geopolitical risks provide the volatility in markets that I, and many other economists, have been predicting for some time.” Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 09/19/17

09/19/2017
“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, in practice there is.” Yogi Berra was talking about baseball, but the concept also applies to diversification, according to the GMO White Paper, The S&P 500: Just Say No. From the title, you might think the authors – Matt Kadnar and James Montier – don’t like U.S. stocks. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 09/12/17

09/12/2017
Last week, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and potency of Hurricane Irma dominated hearts and minds, but there were some diversions and some welcome news, too. The NFL kicked off its 2017 season with the Chiefs’ win over the Patriots. The men’s U.S. soccer team tied Honduras to stay in the running for a World Cup spot. And, Sloane Stephens made the jump from 957th best on the women’s tennis tour to U.S. Open Champion. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 09/05/2017

09/05/2017
When it comes to economic growth, the government doesn’t measure twice. It measures three times. Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its initial estimate that the gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced by a country or region, grew by 2.6 percent during the second quarter of 2017. The second estimate indicated the economy grew by 3.0 percent from April through June. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 08/29/17

08/29/2017
Hope floats. Optimism about possible pro-growth economic policies, including tax reform and deregulation, helped U.S. stock indices finish higher last week, reported Barron’s. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. Stocks bobbed up and down as investors’ optimism was weighted by concerns about a possible debt-ceiling battle and government shutdown. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 08/22/17

08/22/2017
Here, there, and everywhere… Markets around the world appear to be benefitting from global economic recovery. After pointing out the United States’ economy is the heart of the global financial system, Barron’s reported: “The Standard & Poor’s 500 index has tirelessly amassed 30 record closes this year, but is up just 1.2 percent since March 1. Meanwhile, nearly every foreign stock market has sprinted ahead… Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 08/15/17

08/15/2017
North Korea may be a little country, but it can churn up big trouble. The possibility that verbal hostilities between the United States and North Korea could trigger geopolitical conflict had investors on the run last week. In the United States, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell by 1.4 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.1 percent, and the NASDAQ Composite finished 1.5 percent lower. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 08/08/17

08/08/2017
Who’s been buying shares of company stock? Since the start of the bull market in 2009, U.S. companies have been buying their own stock. Stock buybacks peaked during the first three quarters of 2016 and have dropped off sharply since then, reports Financial Times citing a report from Goldman Sachs. Companies participate in stock buyback (a.k.a. share repurchase) programs to improve shareholder value. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary - 08/01/17

08/01/2017
There was some good news and some bad news last week. First, the good news: Thanks to consumer spending and an upturn in federal government spending, the U.S. economy grew faster from April through June this year. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.6 percent during the period, according to the advance estimate for economic growth. This was an improvement over growth from January through March, when GDP increased by 1.2 percent. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary - 07/25/17

07/25/2017
The Markets Do we have central banks to thank? Low interest rates, accommodative monetary policy, and improving economic growth have helped stock markets around the world reach record highs, reports Barron’s: Read More