Monthly Market Commentary – December 2017

THE MONTH IN BRIEF In November, the S&P 500 gained 2.81% and advanced for a thirteenth straight month – an unprecedented milestone in the index’s long history. Consumer confidence and investor confidence were both abundant, as further evidence arrived that the economy was growing at an impressive rate. Solid fundamental indicators, upbeat earnings announcements, and hopes for 2018 tax cuts motivated stock gains in the U.S.; though many foreign benchmarks slumped. Oil took steps toward $60. Home sales picked up after a late-summer lull. Wall Street anticipated a year-end rate hike from the Federal Reserve.1,2    DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH Consumers … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 10/2/2017

The big news this morning was the shooting in Las Vegas.  At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 other people were injured.  It has been ruled as the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.  It doesn’t look like it has affected the markets or at least hasn’t affected them yet.  If you’re looking for loved ones call 1-866-535-5654.  The family reunification center is at 400 S. MLK BLVD. building B.  If you’d like to help, donate blood with the United Blood Services. Stocks wrap up a good week as well as a good month.  All three … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 9/25/2017

Big news over the weekend was President Trump picking a fight with a few people and organizations.  We won’t get into that because it won’t have much of an effect on the market, at least in the short term. Last week’s stock market score board was mixed.  The Dow was down (22,349.59, -9.64, -0.04%), S&P 500 was up (2,502.22, +1.62, +0.06%), and the NASDAQ was up (6,426.92, +4.23, 0.07%).  Stocks earned a small gain for the week after a mostly quiet day of trading for the three main indexes. Health insurance and hospital stocks gained following news that the GOP’s latest attempt … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 9/18/2017

The S&P 500 hit 2500 last week.  That is the first time in history that has happened.  The Dow and the NASDAQ were up as well. 1 S&P 500 was up to 2500.23 – +.18%1 DOW was up to 22,268.34 – +.29%1 Nasdaq was up to 6,448.47 – +.30%1 The Federal Reserve is going to have a meeting that we all need to pay attention to.  They are expected to announce the start of a reduction of the 4.4 trillion dollar balance sheet at the meeting Wednesday.  This could affect the markets in a negative way.  The Fed bought treasury … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 9/11/2017

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm.  Irma is now a tropical storm but is still producing hurricane-strength wind gusts and storm-surge flooding.  After pummeling the Keys, the storm moved up the west coast of Florida, heading for Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama.  Irma hit several Caribbean islands as a Category 5 storm last week, killing at least 39 people.1 Also in the news last week was the Equifax Date Breach. Read our post The Equifax Data Breach to see if you were affected and if you were what you need to do.  Thursday … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 9-4-2017

Another Hurricane could be on the way.  Hurricane Irma strengthened to a category 5 and looks to be headed toward southern Florida.  It is expected to hit Florida this weekend sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning.  Florida Governor Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency.1 The word ‘Bondageddon’ is back in the news again.  The fear is that if the Federal Reserve continues to raise rates that people will panic and flee the bond market.  Personally I think they are being a bit dramatic but rising rates is something bond owners should keep an eye on.2 Another thing … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 8/28/2017

hurricane harvey

The big news this week was Hurricane Harvey.  The storm hit the Houston Texas area over the weekend.  As of Monday morning there have been at least 5 deaths, and more than a dozen more injured.  Houston did not order evacuations before the storm, now many people are trapped in flooding homes.1 Donations to the Red Cross for those affected by Harvey can be made online, or text HARVEY to 90999.1 Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online.1 Stocks went up last week.  But August could end up being a down month for the S&P 500.  But the … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 8/21/2017

Weekly Market Commentary 8-21-2017

Last week was a little rough for Wall Street again.  The S&P 500 was down .65%, closing at 2,425.55 on Friday.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down for a second week in a row.  It closed Friday at 21,674.51 losing .84% last week.  The housing market has started to decline as well.  Groundbreaking was down 4.8% in July with permits issued declining by 4.1% as well.1 Some interesting Stories from Markets insider Walmart has a futuristic new weapon in the wat on Amazon For more on the economy read our Weekly Economic Update.  Also if you have trouble understanding … Read more

Markets in Under a Minute 8/14/2017

Last week was a little rough for Wall Street.  The strained relationship with North Korea could be the culprit.  The Dow dipped below the 22,000 milestone and closed at 21,858.32 on Friday.  The S&P 500 fell below 2,442 as well.  The VIX jumped 53.44% which is an indicator that more volatility could be on the way.  With all that going on the price of gold went up.  At Friday’s close it hit a two month high of $1,294.1 We talked about BitCoin a little last week.  It’s price has risen to over $4,000.2  Last week it had just broke $3,400.  … Read more

Markets In Under A Minute 8/7/2017

Markets edging higher. The Dow hit 22,000 last week.  This is the Dow’s third 1,000 point milestone of the year.  It broke 20,000 January 25th and went through 21,000 on March 1st.1 The S&P 500 inched closer to 2500 when it closed at 2476.83 on Friday. 2 Bitcoin hit a record high of $3,402 on Monday.  The cryptocurrency’s value is surging a week after bitcoin split into two. While bitcoin has hit new heights, bitcoin cash, or bitcash, has been tumbling.3 For more on cybercurrencies and bitcoin or the bitcoin split, click on these links.  The latest Job report brings good news.  U.S. … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 11/7/2016

Weekly Market Commentary 11-7-2016

The Markets Markets hate uncertainty – and that may create opportunities. Last week, investors experienced another bout of election jitters, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index fell for the ninth straight session. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a.k.a. the fear gauge, which measures the expected volatility of the S&P 500 during the next 30 days, was up more than 40 percent for the week. The shift in the VIX reflected investors’ concerns about stock market performance after the election. Many think the next four weeks will offer a rough ride. That may prove to be the case; … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 10/31/2016

Weekly Market Commentary 10-31-2016

The Markets It’s almost over… During July 2016, Pew Research reported almost 60 percent of Americans were suffering from election fatigue. They weren’t uninterested in the election. They were just worn out by never-ending news coverage that focused on candidates’ comments, personal lives, and standing in the polls rather than their moral character, experience, and stance on issues. Last week, U.S. election news overshadowed positive economic data causing U.S. stocks to lose value as investors shifted assets into safe havens. Early on Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released gross domestic product data, which reflects the value of all goods … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 10/24/2016

The Markets “Verrrry interesting.” Arte Johnson’s catch phrase from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In may not have described U.S. stock markets last week, but there were some interesting economic, cyber-security, and consumer developments around the world. Major U.S. stock indices finished the week slightly higher. Experts, cited by Barron’s, suggested markets seemed tired and were waiting for clarity around the U.S. election outcome, Federal Reserve rate increase, and corporate quarterly earnings. Across the pond, opposition from Wallonia (a dairy-producing region of Belgium) killed trade negotiations between the European Union and Canada. The New York Times suggested the collapse of trade talks … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 10/17/2016

Weekly Market Commentary 10-17-2016

The Markets ‘Tis the season! Third quarter earnings season, that is. Every quarter, companies report earnings to let investors know how profitable the companies were during the quarter. When profits grow, a company’s share price may move higher. When profits decline, a company’s share price may move lower. For five consecutive quarters, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) has been in an earnings recession – the earnings for the companies in the index have declined every quarter. Another earnings decline is expected for the third quarter. As of September 30, analysts estimated a -2.0 percent earnings decline for … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 10/10/2016

Weekly Market Commentary 10-10-2016

The Markets Was it good news or wasn’t it? The U.S. unemployment rate ticked higher last week. The September jobs report showed the United States added 156,000 new jobs in September. That was 16,000 fewer than economists were expecting and 11,000 fewer than were added in August, according to Barron’s. That doesn’t sound like good news, does it? On the other hand, the report showed more people are working and looking for jobs. Also, wages increased so people are earning more. The Wall Street Journal wrote: “The report – marked by a slight uptick in the unemployment rate to 5 … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 10/3/2016

The Markets Markets were relatively calm during the third quarter of 2016, yet they delivered some attractive returns overall. In the United States, all three major U.S. indices posted record highs twice during a single 7-day period in August, reported CNBC.com. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) experienced a 51-day streak without at least a 1 percent decline. The index returned 3.3 percent in the third quarter. Investors were fairly complacent until comments by Federal Reserve officials raised awareness the Fed might raise rates during 2016, possibly as early as September. The S&P 500 lost 2.5 percent and … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 9/26/2016

The Markets As expected… The U.S. Federal Reserve left rates unchanged last week and markets celebrated. Across the globe, national stock market indices finished the week higher. In the United States, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and NASDAQ gained more than 1 percent. Not everyone was thrilled with the decision, however. Three Federal Reserve presidents cast dissenting votes. All believed interest rates should move higher. That’s the most dissents since December 2014 when even the dissenters were divided about what should happen. Proceeding with caution is the right approach, according to Barron’s: “A rate hike is usually aimed at … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 9/19/2016

Weekly Market Commentary 9-21-2016

The Markets If it’s not one thing, it may be another. Economic data released last week will factor into this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision on whether to push interest rates higher in the United States. Some of the August data supports the idea economic growth was soft. For example, August retail sales fell more than expected, down 0.3 percent from July. Other data was as expected: U.S. producer prices were flat, which was in line with expectations. However, the kicker may be inflation. It increased during August, “…offering fresh evidence that U.S. inflation may be firming after … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 9/12/2016

Weekly Market Commentary 9-12-2016

The Markets Blame it on the central banks! After 44 consecutive sleepy, summer days when Barron’s reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index opened and closed without a 1 percent move in either direction, the index tumbled last week – and so did indices in other markets around the world. What roused investors from complacency? Some experts pointed their fingers at central banks: “Three central banks announced their monetary policy decisions during the week and all three maintained the status quo and did not change policy. The news disappointed the markets – they were looking for more stimulus. And, in … Read more

Weekly Market Commentary 9/6/2016

Weekly Market Commentary 9-6-2016

The Markets “We can never know about the days to come, but we think about them anyway…” –Carly Simon Economists and market analysts have been thinking a lot about the Federal Reserve and the actions it may take before the end of 2016. Friday’s employment numbers helped fan the speculative fire. The U.S. Labor Department reported the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent with 151,000 jobs added during August. The broad market consensus was 180,000 jobs would be created, according to MarketWatch. The publication cited a source as saying the report, “…wasn’t strong enough to force the Fed to raise … Read more