Quarterly Market Commentary Q1 2019 The Federal Reserve alters its outlook, the truce in the trade dispute holds, the real estate market strengthens, and stocks make an impressive comeback from Q4, even as growth concerns mount. Provided By: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® THE QUARTER IN BRIEF The strongest first quarter for stocks in 21 years featured all kinds of news. Central banks revised their outlook on monetary policy, seeing less robust economies in 2019. Faint glimmers of progress emerged in the U.S.-China trade dispute. Concerns over near-term corporate earnings and bond yields grew. The possibility of a “hard” Brexit loomed in

Weekly Economic Update 3/25/2019 In this week’s recap: the “yield curve” inverts for the first time this decade, the Federal Reserve adjusts its stance on interest rates, and the price of oil climbs. Provided by: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® THE WEEK ON WALL STREET Friday, the yield of the 3-month Treasury bill exceeded the yield of the 10-year Treasury note for the first time in 12 years. For some analysts, this “inverted yield curve” may imply a short-term lessening of confidence. (Treasury yields move inversely to Treasury prices.)1 As a result, the S&P 500 ended the week 0.94% lower. The Nasdaq

Weekly Economic Update 3/4/2019 Stocks end the week little changed after investors interpret commentary from Jerome Powell and hear that higher taxes on Chinese imports are indefinitely postponed. Provided by: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® THE WEEK ON WALL STREET Stocks lost a little ground as February gave way to March. While domestic and overseas political developments made headlines, the market stayed relatively calm: from Monday’s open through Friday’s close, the S&P 500 ceded but 0.17%, finishing the week at 2,803.69.1 The Dow declined 0.65% in five trading sessions to 26,026.32, while the Nasdaq finished the week 0.06% higher at 7,595.35. The

Weekly Economic Update 2/25/2019 In this week’s recap: the Dow extends its win streak, Fed minutes reveal a little uncertainty, and home sales weaken again. Provided By: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® THE WEEK ON WALL STREET Stocks rallied last week as optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal grew. The S&P 500 advanced 0.80% for the week to 2,792.67. The Nasdaq Composite improved 0.86% to 7,527.54, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.64% to 26,031.81. The renewed prospects for a trade pact were not the only development investors found appealing last week. There were indications that the Federal Reserve might

Weekly Economic Update 2/4/2019 In this week’s recap: a hiring surge, a noteworthy remark from Jerome Powell, a dip for a respected household confidence index, and gains on Wall Street. Provided by: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® February BEGINS WITH SOME EXCELLENT ECONOMIC DATA Payrolls swelled with 304,000 net new jobs last month, according to the Department of Labor’s February employment report. (A Bloomberg survey of economists had projected a gain of 165,000.) The number of Americans temporarily laid off or working part time for economic reasons increased greatly in January as a consequence of the partial federal government shutdown; that left

Weekly Economic Update 1/28/2019 In this week’s recap: home sales slip, the Fed may be discussing an end date for its balance sheet reduction, leading indicators flash weaker signals, and equities continue to climb. Prepared by: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® HOME SALES QUICKLY FALTER Seldom do existing home sales fall 6.4% in a month, but that was what happened in December. National Association of Realtors economist Laurence Yun called the drop a reflection of “consumer search processes and contract signing activity in previous months when mortgage rates were higher than today,” and noted that the housing market could be poised for

2018 Economic Review In this 2018 recap: a strong economy, a volatile year for equities and commodities, a trade battle between the U.S. and China, a gradual path upward for the federal funds rate, and slower growth overseas. Provided by: Nate Lewis THE YEAR IN BRIEF Investors will remember 2018 as a year of significant ups and downs. Wall Street ended the year on a down note, with the fourth quarter leaving the S&P 500 in the red: the index retreated 6.24% in 2018. The Federal Reserve made a series of quarter-point interest rate hikes, the United States and China

Weekly Market Update 11/12/2018 SERVICE SECTOR KEEPS BOOMING At a lofty October mark of 60.3, the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing purchasing manager index was a bit lower than the record 61.6 reading seen in September, but it also beat the 59.3 consensus forecast from Refinitiv. Across the 12 months ending in October, the mean reading for the index was a strong 58.5.1,2  IS THIS THE BEST YEAR FOR CONSUMER SENTIMENT SINCE 2000? It could turn out that way, if the University of Michigan’s influential index maintains its current level. Its preliminary November edition came in at 98.3, slightly below

Weekly Economic Update 10/22/2018 HOMES MOVE AT THE SLOWEST PACE IN 3 YEARS Existing home sales slumped 3.4% in September as the annualized sales rate decelerated to a degree unseen since November 2015. In reporting this, the National Association of Realtors cited the usual factors: climbing mortgage rates, tight inventory, and ascending prices (the median sale price in September was $258,100, up 4.2% in 12 months). The NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, now projects a 1.6% reduction in resales for 2018; economists at Fannie Mae are forecasting a 2.0% retreat. In other real estate news, the Census Bureau said that

FEDERAL RESERVE MAKES ITS THIRD RATE HIKE OF 2018 The central bank set the target range for the federal funds rate at 2.00-2.25% last week, in a move that economists and investors widely expected. One development was unexpected: the Fed removed the word “accommodative” from its latest policy statement, a hint that it may be on the verge of altering its monetary policy outlook. The Fed dot-plot still shows one more interest rate hike for 2018 and three hikes in 2019.1 HOUSEHOLDS SEE A VERY STRONG ECONOMY Both marquee U.S. consumer confidence indices finished September in good shape. The Conference

Weekly Economic Update 8/20/2018 MID-SUMMER MEANT BUYING FOR CONSUMERS According to new Census Bureau data, retail sales were 0.5% improved in July. Core retail sales (all categories except car and truck buying) rose 0.6% last month. The only sour note was the revision the Bureau made to June’s headline and core retail sales advances. The overall June retail sales gain was reduced to 0.2% from 0.5%; the core gain, to 0.2% from 0.4%.1,2 HOUSEHOLD SENTIMENT GAUGE DISAPPOINTS In its initial August edition, the University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment fell 2.6 points to 95.3. That was a miss: analysts