The Russian invasion of Ukraine extended the stock market’s losing streak last week. The invasion intensified, sending global commodity prices soaring and sustaining volatility. Uncertainty is mounting. With the spike in commodity prices, global central banks’ mission to curtail inflation becomes more difficult. For the week ending Friday, Nasdaq fell 2.75%, S&P 500 down 1.24%, and the Dow Jones down 1.23%.
The last two weeks, the world changed. As we watch the horrifying events unfold in Ukraine and the political and economic fallout, it’s hard not to worry. One thing that can help when you feel worried is to identify and take small steps to create positive results. For example:
- – review your portfolio, we can look for ways to diversify your investments if needed to help reduce risk and renew your confidence that we continue on the path to help achieve your long-term goals
- – don’t forget about other money deadlines, like your tax preparation for filing this year
- – take time to recognize signs of burnout and focus on your personal wellbeing
Last Week – Invasion Continues
With geopolitical tensions rising, investors ignored highly positive economic data in the U.S. last week. The S&P 500 hit an all-time closing high on the first day of trading this year. Since then, the index reversed and is down 8.94% year-to-date as of last Friday. Crude oil closed at $115.68 per barrel on Friday, rising 26.30% for the week. Crude hasn’t seen per barrel prices of $100 or more since 2014.
The jobs report released last week showed the U.S. added 678,000 jobs in February, which was well above expectations. The unemployment rate fell from 4.0% in January to 3.8% in February. Slightly above the 3.5% rate from February 2020. Both readings of the February ISM Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Indexes continued to indicate expansion. Supply chain issues and labor shortages remain a headwind for both. However, this comes amid strong demand as the economy continues to reopen.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell confirmed rate hikes were coming, while acknowledging uncertainty related to Ukraine. He also said he would support a quarter-percentage-point rate hike at the Fed’s upcoming meeting on March 15-16. This is the Fed’s first rate increase since 2018. Powell also said the Fed will tread carefully given geopolitical turmoil and its uncertain impact on the U.S. economy. The comments all but end speculation that the Fed would raise interest rates by 0.50% at the March meeting. Larger rate hike are not ruled out for future meetings if inflation doesn’t come down from current four-decade highs.
Uncertainty is only mounting. The spike in commodity prices is making the global central banks’ mission to curtail inflation increasingly more difficult. Inflation data will dominate investor headlines this week. On Tuesday, the NFIB small business optimism index for February is forecast to hold in the high 90’s range. Small business sentiment, already hurt by wage inflation, could worsen as the Ukrainian invasion further pushes up gas prices. On Wednesday, weekly mortgage applications are expected to extend recent declines. Largely thanks to the February surge past 2.0% in the 10-year Treasury yield.
In addition to weekly initial unemployment claims, Thursday brings the consumer price index report for February. The all-items CPI is forecast to rise 0.7% on a month-over-month basis and 7.9% year-over-year. Wrapping the data week on Friday is University of Michigan consumer sentiment. The reading is expected to drop to 61.7 for March from 62.8 for February. The war in Europe adds to consumer worries. Year-to-date, the Dow is down 7.5%; the S&P 500 is off 9.2%. The Nasdaq is now down 14.9% year to date.
Erie CO Financial Advisor; investments, wealth management, retirement income planning; Boulder, Broomfield, Louisville, Niwot, Windsor, Berthoud CO
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