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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

Weekly Market Commentary- 2/26/19

02/26/2019
Investors were pleased with the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) new approach to its balance sheet. The Fed delivered its semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress last week. The report recapped the events of late 2018 and reiterated the Fed’s intention to “…be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support the Committee's congressionally mandated objectives of maximum employment and price stability.” Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 02/19/19

02/19/2019
Why did the stock market do that? The great mystery of stock markets reared its head last week. With no clear driver, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 3 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index moved higher by about 2.5 percent. It was a puzzler. Ben Levisohn of Barron’s explained: Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 02/12/19

02/12/2019
Central banks take a turn. At its first policy meeting of 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve changed direction. After four rate increases in 2018, Chair Jerome Powell announced interest rates were on hold. Last week, banks in the United Kingdom, Australia, and India followed suit by either reducing rates or cautioning rate reductions were likely, reported Sam Fleming and Jamie Smyth of Financial Times. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 02/05/19

02/05/2019
And, U.S. stock markets celebrated. Last week, the Federal Reserve put itself on hold. The Federal Open Market Committee met on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, to discuss the state of the economy and determine policy. After the meeting, Fed Chair Jerome Powell offered a positive assessment of U.S. economic strength that was leavened with a few concerns. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 01/29/19

01/29/2019
Like competitors who’ve completed a difficult section in an endurance race, U.S. stock investors took a breather last week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which has gotten off to its best start since 1987, ended the week with a slight loss, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite finished slightly higher, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. News the U.S. government shutdown would end, albeit temporarily, appeared to be of little interest to investors. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 01/22/19

01/22/2019
We’re off to a good start. Investors who remained steady during December’s wild ride are probably pleased with their decision as stocks have gotten off to a strong start in 2019. Unfortunately, those who reduced their exposure to the asset class may be feeling the sting of missed opportunity. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 3 percent. The Index is up 5.9 percent year-to-date, which is its best start in more than a decade, according to Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 01/15/18

01/15/2019
People love rules of thumb. Sometimes, mental shortcuts are helpful. Other times they are not. When it comes to investing, seasonal shortcuts are not uncommon. In fact, January boasts two: The January Effect explains why U.S. smaller company stocks tend to outperform the market in January. The original theory held that tax-loss harvesting pushed stock prices lower in December, making shares more attractive to investors in January. Read More

Weekly Market Commentary- 01/08/19

01/08/2019
Investors will think of the last quarter of 2018 for years to come, but they won’t remember it fondly. The Economist described it like this, “After a rotten October and limp November, the S&P 500 tumbled in value by 15 percent between November 30th and December 24th. Despite an astonishing bounce of 5 percent the day after Christmas, the index finished the year 6 percent below where it started...” Read More