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Weekly Market Commentary- 02/13/18

02/13/2018
Back to reality... After months of eerie calm, stock market volatility has returned. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) – a measure of how turbulent investors expect stock markets to be during the next 30 days – appeared to fall asleep in November 2016. For more than a year, a level of serenity that is rarely associated with stock markets prevailed and U.S. share prices moved steadily higher. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary - 02/06/18

02/06/2018
It was not a good week for stocks. Last week, stock markets around the world lost value. In the United States, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), Dow Jones Industrial Index (Dow), and NASDAQ all finished lower. Some pundits have been drawing comparisons between the performance of the Dow last Friday and Black Monday, the memorable day in 1987 when the index shed 508 points in a single day. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 01/30/18

01/30/2018
The numbers are coming in. Publicly-traded companies report their earnings and sales numbers for the previous quarter in the current quarter. For example, fourth quarter’s sales and earnings are reported during the first quarter of the year, and first quarter’s sales and earnings will be reported during the second quarter, and so on. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 01/23/18

01/23/2018
Last week, the United States government might as well have hung a sign on the front door of the Capitol that read, “Gone negotiating. We’ll be back in…however long it takes.” In 2013, the U.S. government closed for 16 days. About 850,000 federal workers were furloughed and 6.6 million workdays lost. The shutdown affected private companies that worked with the government, too, and the U.S. economy took a hit. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 01/16/18

01/16/2018
Inflation, inflation, where’s the inflation? The U.S. Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates in anticipation of higher inflation. In its 2018 forecast, Goldman Sachs indicated it expected to see “a gradual increase in global core inflation, albeit to levels that are still below central bank targets in most places.” Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 01/09/18

01/09/2018
Whoosh! Bang! Flash! Fizz! Whistle! U.S. stock markets delivered their own version of fireworks to celebrate the New Year. During the first week of 2018, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new all-time high, moving above 25,000 for the first time ever. The NASDAQ Composite and Standard & Poor’s 500 Indices also rose to new highs. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary-01/02/18

01/02/2018
How good was 2017? It was so good, the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index finished in positive territory every month for the first time ever (on a total return basis), reported Barron’s. All major U.S. indices finished the year with double-digit gains. As we enter 2018, keep an eye on investor sentiment. “History has shown us that the crowd can be right during trends, but it also tends to be wrong at extremes. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 12/26/17

12/26/2017
It’s time to turn your mind to taxes. Last week, President Trump signed tax reform, officially titled ‘An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018,’ into law. The legislation provides significant permanent tax cuts for businesses, including reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Most individual taxpayers will also receive tax benefits, including lower marginal tax rates. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 12/19/17

12/19/2017
Here we come a tax-reforming… The reconciliation of Congressional tax reform bills proceeded apace last week, and Congress is expected to vote on the measure early this week. If tax reform passes, Dubravko Lakos-Bujas, head of U.S. equity strategy with JPMorgan, thinks we may see value stocks swing back into favor. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 12/12/17

12/12/2017
“It's the hap- happiest season of all.” While holidays don’t make everyone happy, investors should be feeling festive. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is up more than 18 percent year-to-date. The Dow Jones Global ex U.S. Index is up about 21 percent year-to-date (refer to the table), and Treasury bond yields are lower than they were at the start of the year. Read More

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