New Covid Variant Impact

new covid variant

U.S. equities tumbled in a shortened Friday session over fears of a new COVID-19 variant. Stock indexes were little changed heading into the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, but the late-week meltdown sent stocks lower. Last week was a reminder that the economic recovery path is still dependent on progress against the pandemic and how quickly conditions can change. All 3 major indices finished lower on the week.

Last Week – New Covid Variant

The new covid variant strain is thought to be the most mutated variant yet. This is creating concern over the effectiveness of current vaccines and the durability of global economic recovery. Prior to Friday’s decline, the S&P 500 index had gained over 9% for the quarter and over 26% YTD. For the week ending Friday, the Nasdaq was down 3.52%, the S&P 500 down 2.18%, and Dow finished down 1.95%.

The volatility index soared 10 points to 28.50. Oil prices initially rallied after the U.S and five other countries coordinated to release reserves but ended up down 13% on the week. The average price of gasoline in the U.S. is $3.70 per gallon, approximately $1.25 higher than one year ago. However, oil prices did not decrease on the news, as markets viewed the amount too small to make an impact on prices at the pump.

U.S. economic data was largely positive, however, the new covid variant renewed pandemic risks. Jobless claims, which totaled a stunning 199K, was the lowest level since 1969. President Biden announced he would nominate Fed chair Powell to a second term. Consumer prices have yet to ease, as the Y/Y Core PCE Index rose 4.1%, the highest annual level since 1990. Private sector growth remained robust in November, with U.S. manufacturing PMI increasing to 59.1, but services slipped to 57.0. The second estimate of Q3 GDP ticked up to 2.1% from 2.0%, with a massive upward revision to the increase in wages and salaries.

New home sales rose 0.4% in October, and existing home sales climbed 0.8%. Realtors are projecting full-year sales of over 6 million, which would be the highest total since 2006. Finally, global PMIs echoed U.S. conditions, with strong private sector growth being tempered by inflationary pressures and supply bottlenecks.

Week Ahead

Last week was a reminder that the economic recovery path is largely dependent on progress against the pandemic and how quickly conditions can change. Central bank leaders will likely have to continue exercising policy flexibility. Some economists just published expectations of a potential 8% surge in Q4 U.S. GDP, but it remains to be seen how this new covid variant threat may undermine that outlook. After last week’s strong unemployment claims number, investors will look for additional labor market clarity from Wednesday’s ADP and Friday’s NFP reports. This week also brings U.S. ISM manufacturing and services PMIs, along with the regional report from Chicago.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 14.03%, S&P up 22.33%, and Nasdaq up 20.20% through the close on Friday.

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New Infrastructure Plan and Rising Inflation Concerns

rising inflation

Rising inflation led Interest rates to rise along with commodities and cryptocurrencies. Hot inflation data sent interest rates higher and U.S. equities moderately lower. This week the focus shifts to how inflation and supply chain issues are affecting consumer spending and industrial production. All indexes finished slightly lower for the week ending Friday. The Dow down 0.56%, S&P down 0.27%, and Nasdaq down 0.68%.

Last Week – Rising Inflation

Treasury yields rose significantly over the course of the week with the infrastructure plan and rising inflation concerns. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had said the previous week that the Fed would be patient about raising interest rates. However, those concerns were realized further on Wednesday as inflation (CPI) surged 0.9% Month-over-Month and 6.2% Year-over-Year. Estimates were 0.6% and 5.9%, respectively. The largest YoY jump since 1990.

Investors are not sure the Fed will be able to hold off a rate hike for as long. The chance of a rate hike by next June rose from 55% to 77% in one day, and yields soared. Yields rose materially again on Friday with the UM Consumer-Sentiment Index coming in at 66.8, the lowest since 2011. Americans’ expected inflation rate increased to 4.9% for the next year. Rising wages is also pressuring prices. According to the JOLTS report, 4.4 million Americans quit jobs in September.

After five straight weeks of gains, the S&P 500 Index posted a down week. The index has been positive all but two months in 2021, January and September. Six of 11 S&P 500 sectors fell last week. Treasury yields lifted across the curve, especially at the front end as traders continued to pull rate hike expectations forward. U.S. Core inflation ran at a 4.6% pace, pointing to concerns that inflation may be more persistent than policymakers think. Wholesale prices, as measured by the PPI, swelled 8.6% YoY.

Equities recovered some of their losses later in the week with information technology and materials rising the most. U.S. initial jobless claims of 267K were above the 260K expected, but lower than the previous week’s 269K. Claims have continued to decline since peaking in early April and are approaching pre-pandemic levels. Electric truck maker Rivian Automotive Inc., which IPO’d at $78 per share last week, jumped 66.60% through Friday. The company is now worth more than both Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company. Making it the largest US company without revenue. Johnson & Johnson announced the spin-off of its consumer health business, creating two separate companies.

Week Ahead

This week the focus shifts to how pandemic-related disruptions are affecting consumer spending and industrial production. In the U.S., the economic calendar kicks off with the Empire State Manufacturing Index today. October retail sales and industrial production numbers on Tuesday. Housing starts drop Wednesday, with the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index on Thursday. There are a number of speeches from FOMC members throughout the week. It is becoming clear that investors are in disagreement regarding both fiscal and monetary policy. The “transitory” argument is wearing thin. Across the pond, the Bank of England surprised markets last week by holding rates steady. UK CPI is expected to show further acceleration.

Earnings announcements expected this week include NVIDIA Corp, Walmart Inc., The Home Depot Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Lowe’s Companies Inc., and more. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 17.95%, S&P up 24.67%, and Nasdaq up 23.06% through the close on Friday.

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How High Did Earnings Lift Indexes

earnings lift

The S&P 500 eclipsed 4600 for the first time thanks to the earnings lift. The S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Industrials indexes all reached record highs during the week. November kicks off with a busy and important week of data. Last week all indexes finished up. The Dow up 0.4%, S&P 1.35%, and Nasdaq 2.72%.

Last Week

U.S. equities drifted higher in the face of interest rate volatility and economic growth concerns. The S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Industrials indexes all reached record highs during the week. The Nasdaq managed to outperform despite disappointing earnings from Apple and Amazon. The U.S. yield curve experienced major flattening, as rate hike expectations are getting pulled forward due to high inflation. U.S. GDP grew at a 2% rate in Q3, below expectations of 2.8%. This puts additional pressure on longer-term rates as growth expectations revise lower. Consumer spending increased by only 1.6% after a 12% rise in Q2. Consumer confidence rebounded to 113.9 in October following three straight declines. The improvement was boosted by rising wages and a strong labor market. Jobless claims fell to another pandemic-era low of 281K.

The economy’s sore spot continues to be supply chain shortages, with durable goods orders dropping 0.4% in September after four straight monthly gains. New home sales surged to a 6-month high in September, but higher house prices and mortgage rates may dampen future demand. Pending home sales dropped unexpectedly. Interest rate movements were largely influenced by international developments, as the Bank of Canada struck a hawkish tone mid-week before GDP data showed likely Q3 underperformance. In Europe, ECB watchers expect a formal tapering announcement in December, as Eurozone inflation hit 4.1% in October on surging energy costs. Finally, German GDP rose 1.8% in Q3, missing expectations of 2.1% growth, and business sentiment worsened again in October on supply bottlenecks.

Earnings Review – Earnings Lift

Earnings season is in full swing with 279 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. 82% have beaten earnings expectations and 67% have beaten revenue expectations. The strongest results have come from Financials and Energy while Industrials have lagged. Supply chain issues have been a common
theme among companies reporting in several sectors. Mentions of “supply chain” in quarterly earnings calls were up 58% during the 2Q 2021 earnings season versus 4Q 2020. The current season is on track to be the highest in the 21st century. The largest companies in the S&P 500 reported last week. Tesla, Microsoft, and Alphabet all had stellar results providing an earnings lift. Amazon, Apple, and Facebook struggled in the prior quarter. Mark Zuckerberg doubled down on efforts to promote the metaverse. He also announced that Facebook, Inc. is changing its name to Meta Platforms, Inc., in December.

Week Ahead

November kicks off with a busy and important week of data. The FOMC meets mid-week, where the stage appears to be set for a long-anticipated tapering announcement. There is much to weigh, with a robust economy being checked by supply constraints. Inflation is exceeding its target by a wide margin. The improving but tight labor market that has yet to reach full employment. There are additional central bank policy updates from Australia and the UK on the calendar. Speaking of jobs, NFP lands Friday, preceded by the ADP report two days prior. Crude oil prices have stabilized the past few weeks, but remain near 7-year highs. Other events of note include employment numbers and PMI from Canada, and Eurozone retail sales and PMIs.

This week will include earnings results from oil stocks BP and Marathon Petroleum. Also reporting are video game makers Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive. News from the November Fed meeting is out on Wednesday. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 17.03%, S&P up 22.61%, and Nasdaq up 20.25% through the close on Friday.

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Supply Chain and Earnings Kick-Off

supply chain

U.S. equities posted solid gains, the labor market improved offsetting inflation pressures. Investors will be wary of seasonal weakness even as the S&P 500 is showing signs of reversing its recent downtrend. This week’s Q3 earnings reports will feature prominent names like Netflix, Tesla, Intel, AT&T and American Express. Last week all indexes finished up. The Dow up 1.58%, S&P 1.84%, and Nasdaq 2.18%.

Last Week – Supply Chain

The S&P 500 Index returned 1.84% last week, the best week since mid-July and seventh best week for the year. Equities shook off negative supply chain headlines and rallied on the strength of earnings. Labor market improvements also supported the positive week, offsetting ongoing inflation pressures. The U.S. supply chain has been bottlenecked as a result of the COVID pandemic. Inventory is drying up as clogging remains an issue at U.S. ports. Inconsistent passenger airline activity is holding down freight via airlines. U.S. inflation rose higher in September by pandemic-driven shortages. CPI advanced 5.4% from the year earlier and the PPI advanced 8.6% from the year earlier. In meeting notes, the Fed commented that it observed PCE (personal consumption expenditures index) prices well above their targeted 2% rate but that they continue to anticipate this to be transitory.

Despite supply issues, equities rallied as earnings season kicked off with some strong announcements last week. Some of the more notable announcements were from mega cap banks. Strong bank earnings announcements further confirm that the U.S. economy is on solid footing despite some supply chain and employment headwinds.

The Minutes from the September 21-22 Federal Open Market Committee meeting released. The Fed indicated that tapering could begin as soon as mid-November and fully anticipates it will begin before 2022. They expect supply pressures to partially ease as supply chain issues resolve and import prices fall. High resource utilization rates in 2022 are also expected to assist in lowering pricing pressures and in total the Fed anticipates the PCE will fall below 2% in 2022 and “edge” higher to reach 2% in 2024. Retail sales rose 0.7% in September led by general merchandise stores, gas stations and autos.

New unemployment claims fell below 300K for the first time since the pandemic began, a milestone for the job market. Jobs openings also fell for the first time in 6 months but quits pushed to a record high of 4.3 million in August. The “Great Resignation” is real.

Week Ahead

Looking ahead this week, earnings season continues with 76 names in the S&P 500 expected to report quarterly results. Some notable names
include: Tesla Inc., Netflix Inc., Honeywell International Inc., Union Pacific Corp. and American Express Co. The U.S. economic calendar is light, with industrial production numbers today followed by housing data on Tuesday and Thursday. The Fed’s Beige Book and Philly Manufacturing Index will provide additional insights regarding regional economic conditions. Finally, an eye will be on the Evergrande Group situation after China’s central bank sought to ease concerns about spreading economic risks.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 15.3%, S&P up 19.0%, and Nasdaq up 15.6% through the close on Friday.

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Evergrande and the Impact on the Markets

Evergrande

U.S. equities overcame a rough start the week, due to Evergrande uncertainty, then finished higher. Stocks went on a roller coaster ride, with the VIX soaring then crashing post-Fed, whom provided expected monetary policy guidance. Questions remain how quickly tapering may be completed and how early rate hikes may appear. Last week all indexes finished up; Dow 0.62%, S&P 0.52%, and Nasdaq 0.03%.

Evergrande Impact Last Week

A volatile week for stocks turned positive mid-week. Initially major indexes dropped 2-3% on fears of systemic risk from Evergrande, the Chinese
real estate company. Indexes rallied later as the Fed downplayed rate hikes while furthering taper discussion. On Monday, investors were skittish by the debt crisis at property developer China Evergrande Group. China President Xi Jinping is trying to reduce property-sector leverage to make housing more affordable for the people of China.

Back in the US, Federal Chair Powell took note of the global supply chain disruptions. Powell said Friday, “I’ve never seen these kind of supply-chain issues, never seen an economy that combines drastic labor shortages with lots of unemployed people and a lot of slack in the labor market.” His comments come after Wednesday’s post meeting statement outlining the Fed’s reduction of monthly asset purchases as soon as its next meeting in November. The other notable projection was half of the 18 officials expect to raise interest rates by the end of 2022. This contrasts with the June meeting where most Fed officials expected rate increases in 2023.

In other news, U.S. housing data was mostly positive, with housing starts and new home sales rising in August, while existing home sales slipped 2% as surging prices hampered first-time buyers.

Week Ahead

Durable Goods Orders released today and showed positive signs. Inventory data follows later in the week. Inflation may be on the backburner right now, but it is not forgotten. With prices potentially staying elevated and the labor market moving back towards full employment, questions remain on how quickly tapering may be completed and how early rate hikes may appear. Futures markets have priced in the first rate increase for December 2022. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 13.69%, S&P up 18.62%, and Nasdaq up 16.75% through the close on Friday.

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Inflation Expectations Rising

inflation

U.S. equities fell into the weekend despite strong manufacturing data, as inflation expectations weighed. Stocks dropped for a second straight week. Last week all indexes finished down. The Dow down 0.05%, S&P 0.55%, and Nasdaq 0.46%.

Last Week

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished down less than 1%. Volatility rose with the VIX closing at a 1-month high. U.S. manufacturing numbers surged, and optimism for the next 6 months remained high. The Empire State index leapt 16 points to 34.3 in September. The Philly Fed index rose 11 points to 30.7, above estimates. Industrial production increased 0.4% in August after a revised 0.8% gain the prior month. The miss was largely due to Hurricane Ida and supply chain inefficiencies. Capacity utilization climbed to 76.4%, the highest rate since December 2019. U.S. retail sales surprised with a 0.7% gain in August despite supply chain issues and escalating Covid-19 cases.

Consumer inflation still showed a significant bump but came in less than feared. A New York Fed household survey showed inflation expectations continued to ramp up in August. Internationally, August wholesale prices sustained gains in Germany and Japan on solid global demand. CPIs in Canada and the UK surged to multi-decade highs. Weak Chinese data also contributed to the market’s choppiness. Retail sales only grew 2.5% in August versus forecasts of 7%. Industrial production came in slightly below predictions at 5.3%. British retail sales fell for a fourth straight month in August, even as payrolls increased by a record 241,000. Australia’s employment dropped more than expected, supporting the Reserve Bank’s decision to delay a review of weekly bond purchases.

Week Ahead – Inflation Expectations

All eyes will be on the FOMC as they wrap up their two-day meeting on Wednesday. Pressure is mounting for more specifics on tapering given recent U.S. economic data. According to a Bloomberg survey of economists, tapering is expected to begin in November 2021. Chairman Powell has indicated the decision to taper is independent of any decision to raise interest rates. With unemployment still above 2019 levels, the Federal Reserve is expected to be patient with increasing rates.

U.S. housing reports will also drop this week. The NAHB Index reported positive numbers. Housing start data reports on Tuesday, existing home sales on Wednesday, and new home sales on Friday. The S&P 500 is only down about 2% this month. More volatility may be on the horizon if issues like the debt ceiling gain momentum. Treasury Secretary Yellen has urged Congress to increase the debt limit as soon as possible to avoid any economic turmoil. The debate could influence the Fed’s actions as well.

Investors will focus on next week’s Fed meeting and the timing of tapering. Tapering is often viewed as a potential negative catalyst in the near term. However, strong economic growth coupled with record corporate profits can potentially keep the market moving higher. Investors will also be watching to see if Evergrande, the Chinese real estate company with a mountain of debt, poses any systemic risks to global markets. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 13.00%, S&P up 18.02%, and Nasdaq up 16.73% through the close on Friday.

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Impact of a Slowing September

slowing

Stocks pulled back, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq still sit firmly above their respective 50-day moving averages. U.S. equities eased off record highs as slowing growth prospects and persistent inflation led to some profit taking. With all the global central bank commentary last week, anticipation is building for the Fed’s next meeting on September 21-22. In the meantime, this week presents plenty of additional data for consideration. Last week, all indexes finished lower. The Dow finished down 2.1%, S&P down 1.7%, and Nasdaq down 1.6%.

Last Week – Slowing Data

U.S. equities eased off record highs as slowing growth prospects and persistent inflation led to some profit taking. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both slipped 1.5%+. Market breadth was quite weak, as all 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in the red, with consumer discretionary the outperformer. The S&P 500 Index returned -1.68% last week, with all four days in the shortened holiday week posting declines. Including the previous Friday, the index has marked five consecutive losing days after hitting an all-time closing high. Equity markets have followed an upward trend most of the year.

Goldman Sachs downgraded its 2021 U.S. growth estimate to a 5.7% annual rate, below the 6.2% consensus. The Fed’s Beige Book noted that growth had “downshifted slightly to a moderate pace”, slowing led by escalating inflation and a shortage of goods. On the labor front, U.S. job openings hit record highs for the fifth straight month, climbing to 10.9 million in July and exceeding total unemployed by 2.5 million. Workers continued to quit jobs at historically high rates, and new unemployment claims fell to another pandemic low of 310,000. The four-week moving average of 339,500 was also a pandemic low, indicating there has not been a rise in layoffs due to the Delta variant.

Producer prices in the U.S. surged 0.7% in August, above estimates but below July’s 1% pace. Excluding food and energy, core PPI only increased 0.3% Month-over-Month, but still 6.3% higher Year-over-Year. August’s year-over-year increase in producer prices is the largest on record. Labor and materials
shortages and supply chain bottlenecks contributed to the price increases. Regarding inflation, the CEO of Union Pacific said in an interview last week that “it doesn’t look like it’s temporary,” and that cargo congestion will likely continue well into next year.

Week Ahead

With all the global central bank commentary last week, anticipation is building for the Fed’s next meeting on September 21-22. This week presents plenty of additional data. U.S. CPI is reported on Tuesday, and consumer inflation updates from Germany, the UK, and Canada will also filter in this week. U.S. manufacturing numbers are expected to decline, with updates coming in the Empire State and Philly Fed indexes along with the industrial production report. U.S. retail sales have stalled over the past 3 months, and Thursday’s August report is anticipated to show a continued drop. China’s retail sales are likely to weaken considerably Year-over-year. The week finishes up with UK retail sales and U.S. consumer sentiment.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 13.07%, S&P up 18.7%, and Nasdaq up 17.28% through the close on Friday.

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Job Data Disappoints, How did Markets React

job data

U.S. equity indexes managed to close mostly higher despite disappointing job data. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq established new weekly closing highs. Investors weighed the impact of rising Covid-19 cases on the recovery. Growth outpaced value as the Nasdaq (+1.5%) led the advance last week. A holiday-shortened week is here and the economic calendar will be more focused on events abroad. The U.S. economic data is light. The most anticipated announcement will come from the ECB on Thursday.

Last Week Highlighted by Job Data

The S&P 500 finished August with its 7th straight monthly gain. Financial stocks dropped 2.3%. The dollar continued its slide after the economy added just 235,000 jobs in August. This number was far below expectations of 720,000. The ADP report showed that private payrolls also increased much less than forecast. The labor numbers cast doubt on the Fed’s next move on tapering. Manufacturing jobs rose, but services hiring slowed as the market braces for several jobless aid programs expiring this week. On the positive side, the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%. The underemployment rate dropped sharply to 8.9% from 9.6%, and jobless claims hit 340,000, a new pandemic low.

Other U.S. data reflected a still expanding economy that nonetheless is showing some cracks. Consumer confidence fell in August to the lowest level since February. Chicago PMI deteriorated more than expected to 66.8 from 73.4. Factory orders and the ISM Manufacturing PMI picked up in August. However, the services PMI fell from its July all-time high reading, consistent with the jobs report. U.S. home prices rose 18.6% Year-over-Year in June. The largest annual gain in history. Crude oil saw little volatility despite shutdowns from Hurricane Ida. OPEC decided to keep its modest production increases in place. China’s August manufacturing activity fell to 50.1 from 50.4. But a rebound in Chinese stocks lifted the emerging markets index by 3.4%. Canada’s economy unexpectedly contracted by 1.1% in Q2 as pandemic restrictions weighed.

Week Ahead

A holiday-shortened week and the economic calendar will be more focused on events abroad. The most anticipated announcement will come from the ECB on Thursday. Despite hot inflation data, the committee is expected to wait several more months before deciding on tapering pandemic-related asset purchases, which are due to end in March 2022. Additional monetary policy updates will come from Australia tonight and Canada on Wednesday.

In the U.S. more job data, the JOLTS Job Openings report comes out on Wednesday. Producer prices are expected to ease in Friday’s PPI report. In Asia, China will deliver trade balance and inflation numbers. Japan’s final Q2 GDP reading is released late on today. The Eurozone will present revised Q2 GDP and the UK’s monthly GDP update comes in Friday. The week also closes with Canada’s employment account.

Equity markets will look at the Covid case and death rates for how bad this variant will be, and how much economic activity will be slowed by it. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 15.56%, S&P up 20.7%, and Nasdaq up 19.2% through the close on Friday.

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Markets Reach All-Time Highs

all-time highs

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Indexes closed at all-time highs after the Fed Chair reassured markets. Equity indexes rallied as investors weighed the tragic events in Afghanistan against more transparency from the Fed’s monetary policy timeline. The Nasdaq rose nearly 3% and the Dow and S&P 500 added 1-1.5%.

Last Week All-Time Highs

U.S. equity indexes rallied as investors weighed the tragic events in Afghanistan against more transparency from the Fed. Crude oil rebounded with an 11%+ jump, and gold prices rose modestly. Treasury yields held their weekly gains. The U.S. dollar dropped after Fed Chair Powell calmed markets with his comments on inflation and tapering. PCE Core Price Index data show annual price increases at a 30-year high of 3.6%. However, Powell reiterated that higher prices are not broad-based. Surge-price categories are moderating, and that both wages and long-term expectations do not suggest “excessive inflation”. Powell affirmed that asset purchase tapering is likely to begin later this year. (Tapering is the central bank’s plan to start gradually reducing bond purchases by the end of the year.) He also said that interest rate hikes aren’t on the table until the more stringent maximum employment test is met.

In other U.S. economic news, August Flash PMIs showed continued expansion. However, this reading is at a slower pace than July and slightly below expectations. Existing home sales rose 2% in July. All the annual gains in homes priced above $500K, while new home sales ticked up 1% in July. Durable goods orders for July fell 0.1% Month-over-month. These numbers did exceed forecasts, while the second Q2 GDP estimate came in slightly higher at 6.6%. Corporate profits increased at a 9.2% quarterly rate to a record $2.8 trillion, supported by historically tight credit spreads. Overseas, Germany’s August PMIs fell from July but remained solidly in expansion as Q2 GDP grew more than expected at 1.6%. Finally, minutes from the ECB’s latest policy meeting showed some concern of understating inflation risks that may or may not be durable.

Week Ahead

Based on the market’s reaction to Powell’s Jackson Hole speech, investors seem to feel they have more clarity around the Fed’s intended path and can avoid another “taper tantrum”. Geopolitical tensions and coronavirus variants may affect economic growth or dent consumer sentiment. Powell made it clear how strong the link is between jobs and potential rate hikes, and this week will bring several updates on the labor front, with the ADP report on
Wednesday followed by non-farm payroll report on Friday.

China’s Manufacturing PMI arrives Monday, where the government continues regulatory crackdowns that keep Chinese stocks under pressure. Tuesday is busy with German employment numbers, Canadian and Australian GDP updates, and U.S. consumer confidence. Oil’s recent volatility will focus traders on Wednesday’s OPEC meetings. Global growth concerns have eased somewhat, and increased crude production is expected. Lastly, U.S. ISM manufacturing and services PMIs are anticipated to fall Month-over-Month while remaining firmly in growth mode.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 15.84%, S&P 500 up 20.06%, and Nasdaq up 17.39% through the close on Friday.

Let’s connect if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Volatility: Keep Calm and Carry On

keep calm

I don’t know about you, but this isn’t exactly how I thought we’d be approaching autumn. The Delta variant is causing some of us to pivot and alter plans once again. Amid reports of extreme weather as seasons change along with up and down markets, I’ve decided that I’m heading for much higher ground. Are you with me?

The fact is, storms of life come – often quickly and unexpectedly. And while we can’t stop the storms, we can do our best to prepare for and weather them until they pass. Destruction and loss will cause added stress, and that’s not the best environment in which to make decisions. The optimum time to prepare is now, before the next storm hits, focusing on what we can control and the best route upward. 

Markets naturally go up and down. Over the long run we all know they go up a lot more than they go down. But in these times of market volatility it can be stressful on all of us. The key to managing stress from fluctuations in the market is to ignore noise.

We create portfolio’s based on the clients long term goals. This way clients don’t need to worry about occasional market dips which newspapers and other media tend to sensationalize. Investing is about long term returns not short term ratings.

In fact stocks are actually on sale, so now could be a good time to go shopping. Although significant market dips can be attention-grabbing, they can also present a buying opportunity. If you have any questions about your strategy in light of recent events, let’s talk.

Please let me know if you want to discuss anything at all, from this weeks’ market news to specifics about the portfolio we have implemented.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

School is Back In Session

school

Just like that, it’s back-to-school season. Tell me, where did the summer go?

As kids of all ages go back to school, with all of the apprehension and excitement that may bring in these turbulent times, it’s also a great reminder that in life, summer ends but the learning never does. We are always presented with challenges and opportunities to expand our knowledge and grow.

It appears, though, that Americans are slipping in that regard. According to recent Forbes survey, the U.S. is experiencing a steep decline in financial literacy in recent years – especially when dealing with more complex topics like inflation, financial risk, and mortgage rates.

How is your financial IQ? Are there some topics you could use some brushing up on?

The easiest way to fix any gap in knowledge is to ask a question. I can be a great resource for you, and we can discuss how your strategy is positioned to face these complex times. The market brief below gives current insight as well. Feel free to connect with me and keep the financial literacy conversation going to ensure your circle has the same potential for wealth and wellness.

Last Week

U.S. equities posted mixed results as volatility plummeted towards the lowest levels of the year. The Dow and S&P 500 indexes managed modest gains to once again close at record highs, while the Nasdaq Composite fell slightly. Fed officials commented that while the labor market still has room for improvement, inflation is already at levels that would justify interest rate hikes. U.S. job openings surged in June to a record 10.1 million, but businesses are still struggling to find qualified labor for the rebounding economy. Jobless claims fell to 375,000 and continuing claims dropped to a pandemic-era low of 2.8 million.

U.S. productivity grew less than expected at 2.3% for Q2, igniting stagflation fears. Sentiment numbers also disappointed, as small business optimism reversed in July to 99.7 from 102.5. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment also fell to 70.2 in early August, a 10-year low. Americans are more concerned about the economy, inflation, and the delta variant. Crude oil gained as the Biden administration pressured OPEC to increase output. For the week, the Dow finished up 0.94%, S&P up 0.75%, and Nasdaq down 0.07%.

This Week

Despite concerns about sentiment, market breadth, and seasonal weakness, stocks continue to climb the wall of worry. Many pundits are calling for a correction, but there seems to be lack of a legitimate catalyst to create that scenario. This week the economic calendar is rather light. Given recent economic data and a policy committee that is growing impatient on tapering, Fed Chair Powell’s town hall event today will be scrutinized along with the July FOMC meeting minutes on Wednesday.

The July U.S. Retail Sales report this morning showed a contraction based on slumping services spending. Where is all the school spending? Regional manufacturing updates came with the Empire State Index declining on Monday followed by the Philly Fed Index on Thursday. The U.S. calendar rounds out with industrial production numbers today and housing starts on Wednesday. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 16.04%, S&P up 18.96%, and Nasdaq up 15.01% through the close on Friday.

Happy back-to-school week!

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This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Summer Tug of War Drags On

tug of war

U.S. equities survived a tumultuous week largely intact. Investors weighed mixed earnings reports, inflation figures, and rising COVID-19 cases attributed to the Delta variant. Labor market headlines will remain in focus after the Fed’s comments, and with jobless claims stubbornly stuck at the 400,000 level, investors will welcome additional data this week with the U.S. ADP employment report on Wednesday, followed by the monthly non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

Last Week

U.S. equities survived a tumultuous week largely intact. Investors weighed mixed earnings reports, inflation figures, and rising COVID-19 cases attributed to the Delta variant. The Nasdaq slipped 1% after Amazon’s first EPS miss in 3 years. The Dow and S&P 500 finished slightly lower. The S&P 500
Equal-Weight Index gained ground as value outperformed growth. U.S. Treasury yields fell after the Federal Reserve indicated it is in no hurry to tighten monetary policy.

The Fed’s accommodative stance sent the dollar tumbling, lifting gold prices and sending crude oil higher by 2%. Fed Chair Powell also indicated that asset purchase tapering would likely be tied to labor market improvements as opposed to consumer price data. The U.S. GDP report highlighted how much the economy is struggling to readjust to the new normal. Second quarter growth accelerated by a robust 6.5%, but well below estimates of 8.4%. Some sectors continue to be held back by supply constraints, while others stress to recover from the pandemic.

U.S. home prices continue to break records, but new home sales stumbled in June, dropping 6.6%. Pending sales of existing homes dropped 1.9%. Consumer confidence remained high, as the Conference board’s index improved for a 6th straight month in July. U.S. durable goods saw continued growth in June, but the 0.8% increase fell short of the 2.1% expected. Chicago PMI surged to 73.4 in July, just shy of a record high. Inflation persisted in June, with the Core PCE Price Index rising 3.5% YoY, the biggest move since 1991. Finally, Chinese stocks remained under pressure as the SEC has stopped processing U.S. IPO registrations of Chinese companies while it considers new disclosures.

Week Ahead – Tug of War continues…

Labor market headlines will remain in focus after the Fed’s comments, and with jobless claims stubbornly stuck at the 400,000 level, investors will welcome additional data this week. The U.S. ADP employment report comes out on Wednesday, followed by the monthly non-farm payrolls report on Friday. U.S. ISM PMIs will also refresh, with services on Wednesday. Two more global central bank meetings await. The RBA may reverse its recent tapering plans amid continued lockdowns in Australia, while the BOE will consider hot inflation figures and a surprise drop in new UK coronavirus cases. Although many of the big names have already reported, Q2 earnings season is only halfway over. S&P 500 Y/Y revenues are up a record 21% and earnings up 86%, expectations for Q3 and Q4 are building.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 14.14%, S&P up 17.02%, and Nasdaq up 13.85% through the close last Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Delta Variant Ignites Volatility

delta variant

Fears of the spreading delta variant ignited a selloff today. Last week’s weakening under the hood as some areas experience significant drawdowns relative to the broad indexes. Concerns about deteriorating market breadth pushed equity indexes lower. With a light calendar of economic news to start the week, the focus will shift to Q2 earnings announcements.

Last Week

Concerns about deteriorating market breadth pushed equity indexes lower. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5-1.0%, while the Nasdaq slipped 2%. Energy stocks plunged 8%, with the materials, industrials and discretionary sectors also suffering losses. Consumer prices jumped 5.4% from a year ago. The largest increase since August 2008, and rose 0.9% on a monthly basis. Producer prices increased 1% from May and jumped 7.3% Year-over-Year. Most of the increases continued to come from sectors influenced by the shutdown, which Fed Chair Powell reiterated in his Congressional testimony. Powell also noted that the Fed’s benchmarks for tightening monetary policy remain “a ways off”. Crude oil fell 4.5% after Saudi Arabia and the UAE reached a compromise on increasing output, offsetting declining U.S. stockpiles.

Jobless claims reached a new pandemic-era low of 360,000, with continuing claims falling sharply to 3.24 million. U.S. manufacturing reports came in mixed, the New York region rose to a record 43 reading for July. While the Philly Fed said progress was slowing with a decline from 30.7 to 21.9. U.S. industrial production missed estimates in June, posted a 0.4% increase as supply shortages still plagued output. Prospects for Q2 U.S. economic growth were bolstered by a surprising jump in retail sales. Transactions climbed 0.6% Month-over-Month and 18% Year-over-Year, well above pre-pandemic levels. China, the world’s second largest economy expanded 7.9% in the first three months of the year, still strong but down from 18.3% the previous quarter. In Europe Germany’s CPI was in-line at 2.3% Year-over-Year while the UK’s 2.5% outpaced estimates.

Delta Variant and the Week Ahead

With a light calendar of economic news to start the week, the focus will shift to Q2 earnings announcements. Large cap mainstays IBM, Travelers, Netflix, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, AT&T, Intel and American Express will all provide updates. On Wednesday, the ECB will deliver its monetary policy statement with an eye towards recent inflation dynamics and the difficult-to-assess risk of the coronavirus delta variant. U.S. unemployment claims are expected to fall to another pandemic-era low. Housing starts will highlight the state of the complicated homebuilder market.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 13.3%, S&P up 15.2%, and Nasdaq up 11.9% through the close on Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Preparing for retirement emotionally

retirement emotionally

Retirement paves the way to a new and exciting chapter of our lives, emotionally too. This is the moment of relief when, for the first time ever, we now have ample time to travel the world, take up new hobbies, and scratch whatever itch we’ve been ignoring.

Yes, retirement should be exciting. But for many of us, the thought of leaving our jobs forever can be daunting. After all, our careers play an important role in shaping our identity. And to suddenly cut the cord means we have to find something else to fill the void.

This isn’t helped by the fact that the word ‘retirement’ can be quite limiting – when it’s anything but. All too often, people associate it with old age and the ‘pipe and slippers’ part of life. This is why the financial conversation is often limited to how much you might have to retire on. And that’s that.

But it’s not as simple as that anymore. Today’s typical 60 somethings are nothing like those of a generation ago.

A lot of this comes down to the fact that life expectancy in North America has been on the rise for some time now. A generation ago, men could expect to live up to their late sixties, and for women their mid-seventies. Since then, life expectancy has improved incrementally. The current life expectancy for North American men is 76 and women 85.

This means that for many retirees these days, retirement isn’t a wind-down phase, but a whole new beginning. This means that financially speaking, you might need to consider how to manage your retirement fund more strategically.

But how do you prepare for such a massive transition emotionally?

According to gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, it’s all about mindset. He advises people approaching retirement to do so as they would a career: His advice is to set goals, to visualize a ladder to climb, and to use these targets as motivation to move closer towards your next destination.

Unfortunately, the statistics show how detrimental it can be to find yourself without purpose and meaning at retirement: depression is prevalent in 22% of men and 28% of women at the age of 65 and over.

If you’re unsure of how to even begin to plan for retirement, then following some of the principles from Professor Dychtwald’s five phases of retirement could help you map out your journey.

Imagination (15 before retirement)

Being at least fifteen years away from finishing work for good, retirement might not seem like a priority. At this point, you’re more likely to be making sure that career aspirations are met, bills are paid, and your children are able to get through university.

But it’s important to think about your pension at this stage as it can help to ensure you have the financial stability to live life on our terms, post-retirement. This is where you can start to dream big and imagine the retirement you really want to have.

Anticipation (3 years from retirement)

Now you’re planning to turn retirement it into reality… this is where preparing emotionally is just as vital as preparing financially.

A great way to do this is by trying to develop a network of retirees whom you can trust for advice so they can share their experience of how they coped with the process.

Make a note of the goals you want to accomplish and what measures need to be put in place in order to achieve them.

Preparing (1 year before retirement)

The new beginning is near! Now’s the time to start developing concrete steps. Ask yourself what you’re going to do during the first week of retirement and what you plan on doing on a day-to-day basis.

Make a plan of what you want to achieve in the first six months and talk it through with your partner or loved ones. Visualizing the practicalities of this new phase will make it seem less daunting when it eventually arrives.

The liberation phase (first year of retirement)

Your working life is finally over! This is the stage when you’re likely to feel the most excited, relieved, and liberated. You can finally begin to explore new opportunities, travels, and hobbies.

Unfortunately, this honeymoon period will eventually fade, but remember, this is natural.

Dychtwald states the importance of staying physically active and maintaining strong social ties with people at this stage.

Reorientation (3 years into retirement)

This is the part where creating a legacy for the next generation can be top of mind. Whether that’s by sharing your knowledge and wisdom with others, or by thinking more carefully about the financial gifts you’re leaving children and grandchildren, this is an opportunity for you to decide what impact you want to leave on the world.

Hopefully, this is helpful in terms of thinking about retirement and a brand new beginning. Retirement isn’t the end of the road; dream big and don’t be afraid to chase after your deepest desires.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Could there be a link between investing and wellbeing?

wellbeing

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a huge shift in society’s attitude towards health and wellbeing. We’re now generally more aware of the importance of good mental health. Thankfully, there is now a greater number of options available for people looking for help.

From meditation apps to supportive techniques and advice on ‘self-care’. There are many different ways we can keep on top of our mental fitness. Almost in the same way as we can our physical fitness.

But there is another aspect of mental health that isn’t as widely discussed. That’s the link between wealth and happiness.

Money is of course top of the list when it comes to issues most people worry about.

Whether it’s regarding short-term finances or our long-term future, financial insecurity can cause serious anxiety and low self-esteem.

But even though it often seems tempting to ignore money worries, recent research suggests that tackling the issues head-on can actually make people feel better than not doing it at all.

And by this they mean something as simple as opening an investment account.

In Blackrock’s Global Investor Pulse, which each year asks what people think and feel about their financial health, they report that once people start investing, 43% feel happier about their financial future, 36% of people have a higher feeling of wellbeing and 19% feel less stressed.

The results say this is true regardless of wealth, age, gender or life stage. Even more encouraging is that new investors say the improvement in their mood is immediate.

For those of you who already have a financial plan, this may simply be interesting to note. I’d love to know if you feel you are happier as a result of knowing that you have a plan in place. And even more interesting would be whether – as the research suggests – this feeling was immediate.

But it may be more meaningful to people you know who aren’t currently investing their money. Currently 63% of British adults hold no market-based investments at all. The reasons range from finding it too difficult to understand and feeling as if ‘investing is just for experts’.

However, now might be as good as any to enter the market for the first time. And tiny steps can have a huge impact. Even investing small amounts of money can lead to a greater return. Versus just having it in a savings account where interest rates are at an all-time low.

If you think it would be helpful for me to talk to anyone in need of a financial second option, then please pass on my details – I’d be happy to give them a call. Afterall, the results also say that 76% of investors who use a financial adviser report having a positive sense of wellbeing, and who am I to argue with that?!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Financial Review – Why now is still a good time

financial review

Isn’t it funny how quickly we adapt? Who would have thought that video conferencing would have become such an important part of life. And in fact a lifeline for many? It’s helped friends and families to keep in touch and enabled businesses to keep running during tough times. It’s certainly provided me with a helpful way of staying connected and providing financial review to clients.

Now, at the click of a button, I can invite you to a meeting from your home. I can make it interactive by sharing our screens to show you documents and charts. Of course, these meetings also save time because we’re not having to travel to see each other. Not to mention servicing clients in different states.

But the ‘Zoom revolution’ has also brought with it a new phenomenon. The phrase ‘Zoom fatigue’ describes the feeling of drain after too many virtual meetings. Psychologists explain that the added pressure of being seen on screen is what adds to this feeling of exhaustion. The strain of having to actively show through a small screen that we’re interested and alert can be tiring.

It’s certainly true that face-to-face meetings are much more relaxed. It’s an altogether more natural experience. There’s an emotional connection that happens without thinking about it. It’s easier to sense when someone needs to pause and reflect, and there are more comfortable silences. There’s also less chance of us talking over one another.

That’s why I’ll always advocate face-to-face interaction – and why I’m looking forward to seeing you again one day soon hopefully! But in the meantime, I want you to feel confident that your review meetings and catch ups – whether on the phone or via video – will still be just as effective as in person.

I understand what an uncertain and worrying time it will be for many and that now more than ever you’ll want to talk to someone in a relaxed a way as possible.

As part of your financial review, I’ll listen to your concerns and provide you with feedback and solutions based on your individual needs and priorities. I’ll also make every effort to make things clear and simple.

Last week wrapped up Financial Literacy Month. I hope you were able to learn a few new things and apply them to your strategy. One of my goals in sharing information is to engage you with useful content so you are in the best position to grow your wealth – and maybe even have a little fun. Ask yourself these three questions to reveal how financially literate you are:

  1. Are you in control of your spending? Examining your money habits and creating a budget puts you in the driver’s seat toward smart money management.
  2. Are you saving for your future? Do you live within your means and are you investing in yourself first and foremost? If you need more info about how to best do this, ask me.
  3. Are you confident in reaching your current financial goals? Listen to your gut, and act accordingly.

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, you’re in good shape. But if you said no, don’t worry. Many people have had to reevaluate their priorities over the past year. I can help get you on the right track. I’ll also invite you to participate comfortably in the conversation and ask me any number of questions – I really mean it when I say there’s no such thing as a silly question!

I hope this provides reassurance that now is still a good time for a financial review. By re-setting your financial strategy at this point, I can put recent market performance and your longer-term financial goals into context. It will also give you the chance to pause, reflect and resettle your mind.

I look forward to speaking to you.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Despite Rising Yields, the Economy is Marching Forward

marching forward

Let’s do a reality check. With tax season in full swing, markets doing their day-to-day dance and winter weather still causing havoc, it’s sometimes hard to know what’s going to happen next. In light of the events of 2020, some may be carrying added anxiety into this time of year. Spring and brighter days are on the way as the nation continues marching forward.

Because anxiety can lead to irrational money decisions, the best way to fight it is to take a deep breath, focus on your goals and then take the next step forward — no matter how small. Before long, you’ll find yourself “marching” forward with momentum and greater confidence. 

Last week

Fed officials failed to settle concerns over rising yields. Major equity indices rallied sharply into the weekend after the positive February non-farm payrolls report. The Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine approval propelled the early week rally. The rally fell as Fed chair Powell reiterated the FOMC’s view that rising price pressures are likely transitory. The rates market viewed this “do nothing” attitude as a reason to dump bonds. The tech-heavy Nasdaq losses captivated investors’ attention. This mark the third consecutive weekly decline. The growth index markedly underperformed value as that reopening rotation continued.

Week Ahead

The U.S. Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package, so the bill now will go to the House. That said, Friday’s plunge and reversal has elicited calls of surrender, but most technical metrics failed to reach such levels. The indices’ quick rebound should be a warning to the bears, but neither party seems to have the upper hand when looking at the technical charts. This fight is likely to continue, leading to elevated volatility levels. The darling high-growth names have not recovered anywhere near the extent that big tech companies have. And the easing of yields is likely needed to boost them. The weak Treasury auction two weeks ago sent yields sharply higher, so this week’s demand for government paper will be closely watched. The Federal Open Market Committee’s next policy meeting is on March 17 and will provide updated economic projections.

Despite what happens to the economy, you have the right to be confident — you have crafted a plan and I’m here for you each step of the way. As Warren Buffett famously said, “I don’t try and guess interest rates, I just buy businesses I like.” Maybe your next step is to set up some time to talk about your options for marching forward? I’d welcome that! Year-to-date the S&P 500 is up 2.29%, Dow Jones Index is up 2.91%, and the Nasdaq up 0.25%.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

Financial Advisor Erie CO focus on investments, wealth management, retirement in Boulder, Louisville, Niwot, Lafayette, Windsor, Berthoud, CO

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

How Quickly Will the Economy Recover

economic recovery

Now that the great short-squeeze has lost most of it’s air, it’s back to business as usual. The indexes shook off the weak job numbers and are looking ahead to the economy recovering and growing. Last week all indexes finished up.

Last Week

January jobs created less than 50,000 new jobs. On the positive side, unemployment fell from 6.7% to 6.3%. The number of Americans filing for unemployment also declined for the 3rd straight week. Most of the Nasdaq’s gains were attributed to good earnings reports, surpassing estimates. And the volatility index dropped back into the 20’s, calming the fears of an immediate 2021 correction. Readings from the ISM report were above 50, signaling expansion. This is good news when trying to grasp how quickly the economy will recover.

The Week Ahead

The economy is continuing to recover, both at home and abroad, as vaccination efforts spread. When a stumble comes, fiscal and monetary policy will undoubtedly offer an arm to stabilize or stand up. That remains supportive to equities, government bond yields, and credit markets. Roughly 59% of the S&P500 has reported earnings, and 81% have beaten EPS estimates. Per FactSet, the blended EPS growth rate is +1.7% y/y versus December 31’s estimate of -9.3%. For now, investors will continue economic implications of the race between widespread vaccination and virus mutation, the resumption of consumption, and the likelihood of higher prices or inflation across the economy.

Total after tax income was up 7.2% in 2020, the most in any year since 2000. Right now, there is plenty of demand for goods. Incomes and savings are up year-over-year. While production is not. It is supply that is hurting. The perfect recipe for inflation. A very real threat to the long-term health of the US economy. This we will keep an eye on. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 1.77%, S&P up 3.48%, and Nasdaq up 7.51% through the close on Friday.

Have a safe week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Can a robot really help you financially?

robo advisor

We’re hearing a lot about robo advisors these days. Are they right for you?

The financial services industry is no stranger to developing new products and innovations. Years ago, it was different types of stocks and bonds, then mutual funds were launched. More recently, exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) that mimic indexes were launched. These days, robo advice is a hot topic. While having features that are certainly attractive to some investors, robo advisors aren’t right for everyone.

But first, the “what?”

What are robo advisors?

The term “robo advisor” is actually a bit misleading. Advisors generally guide their clients through the financial planning process to help these individuals achieve their life goals.

Robo advisors are automated portfolio managers. They take a limited amount of information about a client and create a portfolio of holdings. These holdings usually include a basket of ETFs. Robo advisors require little human involvement once their algorithm has been set.


robo advisor

Pros and cons

Robo advisors are programmed to automatically buy and sell holdings based on a desired risk-return profile. As there is little human involvement or management, they tend to be cheaper to invest in than actively managed portfolios. They also tend to be “set-it-and-forget-it” solutions that require very little effort by individual investors.

These portfolios rise and fall according to market and macroeconomic conditions, they typically don’t make adjustments to reflect the market. Conversely, as your advisor I’ve gained a deeper understanding of your financial picture, including your long-term needs and goals. Our work together means that your portfolio is suited specifically to you. Not just to a lot of people who may simply be your age and have a similar amount of savings.

Example of robots investing versus humans investing

During periods of rising markets, robo advisors will tend to perform quite nicely. As they reflect the performance of the wider markets in which they invest.

That said, markets don’t always go up. When markets are falling, portfolios run by robo advisors will tend to drop to the same degree as their corresponding markets. Meanwhile, active portfolio managers tend to rebalance or otherwise adjust their funds to reduce the downside impact of this market weakness. Possibly even taking advantage of it. By doing so, these portfolio managers are able to negate the losses that could result from market weakness. Which is something robo advisors can’t do.

Robo advisors are also not equipped to provide all of the other services that an advisor can provide. Including access to tax and estate planning, lawyers, accountants and other professionals who can help me ensure you have a complete financial plan that truly reflects your short- and long-term needs.

Please feel free to reach out to me to learn more about the benefits of a human vs. robo advisor.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

How high will the Santa Claus Rally Go

Santa Claus Rally

Is a Santa Claus Rally going to drive the market? Major indices logged modest gains for the week after the Federal Reserve signaled loose monetary policy was likely to stay until at least 2023. Digesting the developments over the latest coronavirus relief package will drive price action early in the shortened week. Markets are closed on Friday in observation for Christmas, and Thursday’s session will be abbreviated.

Past Week

Option trading volatility produced mild selling pressure into the weekend. However, major indices and government bond yields still logged modest gains for the week. Gains stem from the Federal Reserve signaling loose monetary policy was likely to stay until at least 2023. Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished higher, paced by technology, consumer discretionary, and materials. Energy was the lone sector in the red despite crude oil prices rising sharply. Whether it be the rising COVID-19 case count or profit-taking, the rotation from growth to value took a breather as the former outpaced the latter by around 4%.

On the economic data front, investors were disappointed by November U.S. retail sales falling 1.1%. To put things into perspective, Retail Sales are up 4.1% on a year-over-year basis. This illustrates the impressive strength of the U.S. consumer, especially during a pandemic. The latest domestic PMIs eased from multi-month highs but remained firmly in expansionary territory. New orders continued to rise, but inflationary tones are palpable as significant supply chain disruptions led to an unprecedented rise in prices. Output expectations reached a 32-month high, largely driven by vaccine optimism.

New relief is close. Indications are for a $900 Billion dollar package. Last Thursday’s unemployment claims increase to 885,000, higher than anticipated. Markets seemed to be anticipating that Congress would pass aid as more Americans are requesting unemployment benefits. Weekly initial unemployment claims peaked this March at nearly 7 million. While they steadily fell into the summer there has been a recent uptick in claims as 2020 draws to a close. The Fed left rates unchanged last week. The Fed purchasing bonds will stay the same.

This Week

Digesting the agreement reached over the latest $900 billion coronavirus relief package will drive price action in the shortened week. The contentious dispute over the Fed’s lending abilities is likely to make bipartisan efforts more difficult if the economic situation materially deteriorates at some point in the year ahead. Still, investors should be aware of a potentially friendly bout of seasonality. That aside, investors will dissect a few tier 1 economic reports amid expectations for lower levels of liquidity given the holiday. Reports on consumer confidence tomorrow are expected to improve. The durable goods report offers insight into firms’ demand for longer lasting goods.

According to the recent Bank of America survey, fund managers are looking for companies to expand their capex purchases in 2021. Unemployment claims are expected to remain flat. Economists expect personal spending to retreat slightly. Reports are circulating that a new strain of coronavirus is spreading across Europe, especially in the UK, prompting air travel restrictions from the country. Given the frothy sentiment across financial markets, this development warrants investors’ attention in case the situation deteriorates further.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 5.7%, S&P up 14.8%, and Nasdaq up 42.2% through the close on Friday.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.