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Weekly Market Commentary- 07/16/19

07/16/2019
The bulls are running. Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index set a new record, closing above 3,000 for the first time. Other major U.S. stock indices also finished at record highs, reported Barron’s. Company fundamentals, investor sentiment, and geopolitics all have the power to push stock prices higher. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 07/09/19

07/09/2019
What will the Federal Reserve do now? There was unexpected economic news last week. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced 224,000 new jobs were added in June, which was more than analysts had anticipated. The gains were offset a bit by reductions in April and May employment estimates. However, overall, the pace of jobs growth during second quarter was fairly consistent with jobs growth during the first quarter, reported Matthew Klein of Barron’s. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 07/02/19

07/02/2019
In the infamous words of Mortimer Snerd, “Who’d a thunk it?” After U.S. stocks dropped sharply during the last weeks of December 2018, investors were not optimistic about the future. Early in January 2019, the State Street Investor Confidence Index dropped to its lowest point since 2012, and the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Sentiment Survey showed just about 31.6 percent of investors as bullish. The long-term average for bullishness is 38.2 percent. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary - 6/25/19

06/25/2019
Everything went up – and that’s unusual. Randall Forsyth of Barron’s explained, “Like our major political parties, the stock and bond markets seem to live in two different worlds these days. The former sits at record levels, suggesting we live in the best of all possible worlds. The latter sees things as bad and only getting worse.” Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 06/18/19

06/18/2019
Are we on the cusp of change? The United States is doing quite well. Randall Forsyth of Barron’s reported: “…the U.S. economy and stock market both seem to be doing better than OK, thank you, as the expansion and bull market celebrate their 10th anniversaries. Unemployment is around the lowest level in a half-century. The worst thing seems to be that inflation continues to run slightly below the Fed’s 2 percent target, a problem that might strike some as similar to being too rich or too thin.” Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 06/11/19

06/11/2019
Surprise! It was a great week for markets. Since the U.S.-China trade conflict resumed in early May, investors have been off balance. The possibility of escalating tariffs on Mexico heightened economic uncertainty. Then, last week’s unemployment report arrived with less than stellar news – just 75,000 jobs were created in May. The number was well below expectations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revised March and April employment numbers downward, too. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 06/04/19

06/04/2019
Tariff trouble. Just two weeks ago, the U.S. government lifted tariffs on Mexico and Canada. So, it was a surprise last week when President Trump tweeted the United States would impose an escalating tariff on all goods imported from Mexico until the flow of migrants to the United States’ southern border stops. The pending tariffs have potential to hurt both American and Mexican economies, reported The Economist. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 05/28/19

05/28/2019
U.S. stocks have had a great run. During the past decade, the profitability of U.S. companies increased rapidly. Strong corporate earnings helped the U.S. stock market outperform markets in other nations by a significant margin. According to Capital Economics, “Since the start of this decade, the average annual return from the MSCI USA index of mid- and large-capitalization U.S. equities, which closely tracks the S&P 500, has been roughly 13 percent. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 5/21/19

05/21/2019
Trade war trade-off. There was some good news on trade, last week. The United States took steps to reduce trade friction with the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. “The United States on Friday reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove steel and aluminum tariffs, which had been a persistent source of friction across North America over the past year. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 05/14/19

05/14/2019
Trade talk trouble took a toll last week. Major U.S. stock indices moved lower when trade talks between the United States and China broke down. The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones Industrial Index all finished the week down between 2 percent and 3 percent, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 05/07/19

05/07/2019
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is off to its best start in 20 years. Despite the exceptional performance of U.S. stock markets year-to-date, and data that suggest economic growth remains steady, some analysts and investors have been pecking at Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. They’re keen for the Fed to implement a rate cut, which could stimulate economic growth and help push stock markets higher, because inflation is lower than ideal, reported Howard Schneider and Ann Saphir of Reuters. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 04/30/19

04/30/2019
It wasn’t an ‘Avengers End Game’ spoiler, but there was big news last week. Economic growth in the United States was strong during the first quarter. The Bureau Of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, increased by 3.2 percent. The estimate came as a surprise. It was well above the consensus forecast of 2.3 percent, according to Randall Forsyth of Barron’s. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 04/23/19

04/23/2019
And the answer is… A Jeopardy! contestant captured the nation’s attention last week by setting multiple records for the most money earned in a single episode. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has been setting some records, too. Michael Mackenzie of Financial Times explained: “Less than four months through the year, the S&P 500 including the reinvestment of dividends has returned to record territory, along with the technology sector…" Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 04/16/19

04/16/2019
Investors took an intermission. The curtain appeared to close on the first act of 2019 last week – and what an impressive act it was. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index delivered some dramatic returns and is less than 1 percent away from a new all-time high. Despite relatively few shares changing hands, major U.S. indices eked out gains. Ben Levisohn of Barron’s explained: “Trading volume was tepid at best." Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 04/09/19

04/09/2019
The first quarter of 2019 brought a welcome reversal. Last year, Barron’s published a group of market strategists’ expectations for 2019 performance. The article came out in mid-December, before the steep year-end stock market decline. At that time, all of the strategists agreed: The S&P 500 Index would move higher during 2019. Their expectations appeared to be wildly optimistic when the Index lost 3.5 percent during the last two weeks of 2018, and finished the year down 6.2 percent. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 04/02/19

04/02/2019
“Fascinatingly counterintuitive…” That’s how Michael Arone, an investment strategist, described the U.S. market environment to Avi Salzman of Barron’s: “‘Stocks are rallying, but bond yields are reflecting much lower growth.’ Stocks rose during the quarter because the Fed backed away from raising interest rates, and investors grew more confident that the U.S. and China would sign a trade deal, Arone said." Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 03/26/19

03/26/2019
Wonder what the Federal Reserve’s 40-yard dash time is? On Wednesday, the Fed juked like an NFL running back and left investors wondering whether they should buy or sell. Heather Long of The Washington Post reported the U.S. central bank: 1. Lowered its 2019 estimate for U.S. economic growth to 2.1 percent 2. Announced its intention not to raise rates in 2019 3. Indicated it will stop shrinking its balance sheet in September Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 03/19/19

03/19/2019
Stock and bond markets rallied. Last week, major U.S. stock indices finished higher for the 10th time in 12 weeks. Bond markets moved higher, too, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries dropping just below 2.6 percent, reported Randall Forsyth of Barron’s. Yields on 10-year Treasuries haven’t been this low since January 2018. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 03/12/19

03/12/2019
Markets were rattled last week. The market hates surprises, especially when the surprise comes from a central bank. Last week, the European Central Bank (ECB) unexpectedly reversed course and took a more accommodative stance on monetary policy in an effort to encourage stronger European economic growth. Tom Fairless of Barron’s explained: Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 03/05/19

03/05/2019
Is it a soft landing? Economists use aviation metaphors to describe the results of central banks’ efforts to manage rapidly growing economies. If the Federal Reserve lifts rates enough to prevent the economy from overheating without jolting it into recession, then it has engineered a soft landing, according to Investopedia. (Rate increases that drop a country into recession are hard landings.) Read More