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.

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Summer is here – will stocks melt up or cool off?

stocks

Last week, stocks finished higher after mostly solid economic data, including labor numbers that showed steady progress. Since the 10-year Treasury yield rally began in August 2020, there have been two main consolidation periods. What might be the next catalyst for a move in interest rates? The S&P 500 Index closed within 3 points of its all-time closing high of 4,232.60. Last week all indexes finished up slightly; Dow up 0.69%, S&P 0.64%, and Nasdaq 0.49%.

Last Week

The S&P 500 Index gained 0.64% last week, closing within 3 points of its all-time closing high of 4,232.60. The index has steadily climbed back after hitting its mid-May lows as inflation fears weighed on the index with consumer discretionary and information technology taking the biggest hits. Investors have continued to digest inflation concerns against their expectations for the equities markets. Stocks levitated higher by less than 1% for the week after mostly solid economic data, including labor numbers that showed steady, if not overwhelming, progress. Treasury yields fell after the May non-farm payrolls report came in at a solid gain of 559,000. This was much higher than the 266K the previous month, but lower than the expected 675K.

This led to Friday’s rally with data conveying an improving employment picture in the U.S. recovery. The recovery may be slower than expected. Leading markets to assume the Federal Reserve will continue in its accommodative monetary policies. Nearly half the states have cut overly generous jobless benefits, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8% in May versus 6.1% in April, and average hourly earnings are up 2.0% versus a year ago. Initial jobless claims fell for the 5th week in a row to 385,000.

The expectation of a quicker recovery in global demand for crude oil helped it advance 4.98% last week, closing at $69.62 per barrel on Friday. This propelled the energy sector be the top performer of the week. OPEC agreed to continue gradually easing production cuts.

The Week Ahead

Since the 10-year Treasury yield rally began in August 2020, there have been two main consolidation periods. The first came just below 1%, beginning in November 2020 to January 2021. The second began in April 2021 and continues today, with the yield currently near 1.56%. The next catalyst? Last week the Federal Reserve said that it plans to start selling its portfolio of corporate bonds and exchange-traded funds that it bought during the pandemic. This is not expected to influence the market much. Recent economic data has been encouraging. But not so strong that the Fed would consider tapering its bond buying just yet.

The next Fed meeting is scheduled for June 15-16. This week offers an update on U.S. inflation along with 10-year and 30-year bond auctions, all of which could produce interest rate volatility. The U.S. trade balance came out today, and consumer sentiment on Friday. The week closes with day 1 of the G7 meetings in London, where Treasury Secretary Yellen looks for support to rewrite international tax rules. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 13.56%, S&P up 12.62% 6.8%, and Nasdaq up 7.19% through the close on Friday.

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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 Road Trips and Stock Market Near Highs

road trip

Summer is the time to hit the open road and explore this big country. But with long road trips can come high expenses – make sure you don’t let unexpected costs creep in while planning the perfect trip. Managing finances is a lot like taking a road trip: You’re setting your sights on a goal and planning the best route to get there. Keep in mind it’s optimal to get an early start (saving), stay on the right roads (budget), and arrive safely at your destination (retirement).

Last week, stocks posted slight gains of 1-2%+ to close out the month of May. Overall, the rapidly expanding U.S. economy continued to forge ahead, with jobless claims hitting another pandemic-era low of 406,000. Inflation is still running hot. Oil prices jumped 4% after an inventory draw of 1.7 million barrels. Bitcoin finished with a small gain but remained volatile, and several Fed governors commented on the benefits of a digital dollar backed by the central bank.

This short week kicks off with inflation updates from the Europe. Last Friday, President Biden laid out a $6 trillion fiscal 2022 budget proposal. Likely to stir up debates lasting through the summer and possibly longer. The end of the week is busy with labor reports. Might we see jobless claims fall under 400,000 for the first time in 14 months? After last month’s surprise drop in non-farm payrolls, analysts anticipate 670,000 jobs to have been created in May. The U.S. unemployment rate is expected to tick down under 6%, steady progress but still a long way away from where the Fed would consider any major monetary policy changes. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 12.8%, S&P up 11.9%, and Nasdaq up 6.6% through the close on Friday.

If you have any questions on your road trip journey, please reach out – I’m here to help guide you. And don’t forget, I’m happy to assist as your automatic blind spot detection for things you may not see that could put you at risk. Just ask! So rest easy, enjoy the ride, and let’s make this one of the best summers ever. Take care, be safe, and post a picture or two of your road trip.

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Crypto Freefall and Your Portfolio

crypto

Markets ended flat after an up and down week and crypto fell across the board. The growth-oriented Nasdaq outperformed the Dow, S&P 500, and Russell 2000. The economic calendar is light until Thursday, when we get a second look at U.S. Q1 GDP. Monthly durable goods report should offer a glimpse into how supply chains are holding up. The Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX) came crashing back to earth last week. The Dow down 0.43%, S&P 0.39%, and Nasdaq 0.33%.

Last Week

Markets survived another bout of volatility in a roller coaster week. Turbulence in risk assets was partially sparked by a huge selloff in Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. China banned financial institutions from providing services related to the digital transactions. Crypto Bitcoin plunged from $45,000 to near $30,000 before recovering to $36,000.

Treasury yields briefly spiked after the April Fed meeting minutes released. The minutes mentioned that a strong pickup in economic activity would warrant discussions about tightening monetary policy. Chairman Powell reiterated that the recovery remains “uneven and far from complete” and hasn’t shown enough progress for policy change. Housing data cooled a bit. New construction dropped 9.5% in April and existing sales off 2.7%. Builder confidence remains strong due to lack of inventory, low interest rates, and plenty of home buyers. U.S. manufacturing stayed robust even as the Empire State and Philly Fed Manufacturing Indexes came in slightly below expectations.

Week Ahead

The economic calendar is light until Thursday, when we’ll get a second look at U.S. Q1 GDP, no change expected from the +6.4% estimate. The monthly durable goods report should offer a glimpse into how supply chains dealing with material shortages and consumer demand. Housing reports in focus with new home sales and mortgage applications are released. Pending home sales may follow last week’s cooling trend. Unemployment claims expected to fall again. On Friday, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the PCE Price Index, will provide another check on spending behavior. Chicago PMI rounds out the month ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

The Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX), a crypto currency index, came crashing back to earth last week. It had been on a steady climb for the previous 12 months. Posting more than a 2,000% gain at the highs. From those highs, it took 6 days to cut the price in half. A 50% cut isn’t nearly as unusual in crypto as in equity markets, the increased volatility may stick around longer.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 11.77%, S&P up 10.65%, and Nasdaq up 4.52% through the close on Friday. Have a fun and safe upcoming holiday weekend!

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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.

Proposed Capital Gains Tax Rate Increase and Your Money

captial gains

Stocks ended mostly flat on the week, with an abrupt tremor on Thursday after President Biden proposed a sharp increase in the capital gains tax rate. Housing market and job reports remain strong. The Nasdaq-100 sits just below all-time highs. Indexes for the week; the Dow down 0.42%, S&P down 0.11%, and Nasdaq down 0.25%.

Last Week

Government stimulus, monetary policy, and vaccinations have led indexes to reach near all time highs. President Biden’s proposal to increase capital gains tax rates to 39.6%, led to a severe drop on Thursday afternoon. The markets quickly recovered on Friday. Housing data continued to grab headlines, with the median selling price for existing U.S. homes up 17.2% year-over-year to $329,100 in March. Existing home sales actually dropped 3.7% last month due to supply being so limited, while new home sales in March increased 20.7% month-over-month and 66.8% year-over-year. The average sales price of new homes also increased 6% from the prior year. Jobless claims fell to a pandemic era low of 547,000. This is the lowest weekly level since March 2020.

Week Ahead

The Federal Reserve likely will not be changing monetary policy at Wednesday’s meeting. However, with economic data improving and inflation perhaps moving towards 4%, investors will be listening closely for clues about a shift in strategy. On Thursday, we will get our first look at Q1 GDP, with strong growth of 6.6% expected. The other main event this week is a slew of earnings reports. This includes a third of S&P500 companies and many of the important names in the Nasdaq, such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.

The week will close out with U.S. pending home sales and several GDP reports from Europe and Canada. Before getting up in arms regarding the increased capital gains tax, consider this news was a reaction to the proposal. Also, this proposal only impacts individuals earning more than $1m. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 11.23%, S&P up 11.29%, and Nasdaq up 8.76% 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.

Erie, CO financial advisor with a focus on investments, wealth management, and retirement planning 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.

Earnings Boom or Bust – Market Brief April 19, 2021

market

A mix of good economic news and concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine hit the market last week. The major indices finished with modest gains around +1% for the week. Fed chair Powell remarked last week that most officials do not see interest rates rising until 2024.

Last Week

Economic data was strong. Retails sales advanced 9.8% in March, fueled by stimulus checks, the best results since May 2020. Jobless claims fell to 576,000, well below estimates of 710,000. The Philadelphia Fed factory index jumped to 50.2 from 44.5. The highest reading in 50 years. Housing starts reached a 15 year high despite soaring lumber prices. Overseas, China’s Q1 GDP came in at +18.3% versus estimates of +19%, and trade data slightly missed lofty expectations but continued to show impressive growth. Tensions between the U.S. and China are beginning again, so we’ll see if that starts to grab more headlines in the months ahead.

Week Ahead

Fed chair Powell remarked last week that most officials do not see interest rates rising until 2024. The U.S. NFIB Small Business Optimism report showed that small businesses are struggling to find qualified workers. This may put upward pressure on wages and spark more inflation (and higher interest rate) concerns. Fed officials continue to push expectations of inflationary pressures being temporary. However, with commodity prices rising, and squeezes on the supply chain and labor markets due to the accelerating vaccination pace, how long will it be until the market forces the Fed’s hand?

Meanwhile, earnings season continues this week. Expect to hear comments about higher costs and customer demand in conference calls this week. Because the U.S. economy is emerging from the Covid-19 crisis, most analysts thought first-quarter numbers would be good. So far, they have been much better than good: By the end of Friday, S&P 500 companies that had already reported had beaten profit expectations by a combined 30%, according to FactSet, compared with a five-year average of 7%. Optimism is reinforced by the latest economic data. In the U.S., retail sales for March were the strongest in 10 months. Even in Europe, where there has been less fiscal support for the economy, figures are coming in strong.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 11.75%, S&P up 11.44%, and Nasdaq up 9.03% 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.

Financial Advisor in Erie, CO with a focus on investments, wealth management, and retirement planning 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.

Impact of Upcoming Earnings and Economic Data

earnings and economic data

Last week, investors’ expanding risk propelled U.S. equity indices 1-3% higher, driven by large-cap technology bursting out of consolidations. The Nasdaq paced the advance, while the S&P 500 scored its 22nd record high of the year. The S&P 500 roared past the 4000 level returning over 2.75%. The index is on its longest weekly winning streak since October of last year.

The VIX, a measure of volatility, slid below 17 to its lowest level since before the pandemic. U.S. Treasury yields were flat as investors weighed better than expected producer inflation versus dovish commentary from Fed. Economic data impressed once again. Producer prices increased well ahead of expectations in March, rising 1% over the prior month. Year over year, producer prices increased 4.2%, which was the largest yearly increase since 2011.

Continued claims, or the number of people receiving unemployment benefits, continued to slowly improve, falling to a one-year low of 3.73 million in the week ending on March 27. That represents a significant improvement from the high of over 23 million reached in May 2020. Another sign housing is affected by the rise in yields, mortgage applications fell 20%.

Earnings and Economic Data Ahead

Earnings season has arrived, and so has critical economic data. The largest financial institutions like J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America will report later in the week. Also this week, investors will weigh the latest consumer inflation data on Tuesday and retail sales on Thursday. Fed chair Powell has repeatedly stated the FOMC believes rising price pressures will only be transitory and the labor market still has significant slack. Thereby they are nowhere close to removing support or changing their dovish stance. Thursday offers plenty of market-moving potential with U.S. retail sales. Retail sales are expected to rebound sharply, as well as weekly unemployment claims. Lastly, Friday’s building permits and housing data will be closely watched. The key is whether the recent weakness tied to rising yields continues to filter through the sector.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 10.9%, S&P up 9.9%, and Nasdaq up 7.8% 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.

Financial Adviser in Erie, CO with a focus on investments, wealth management, and retirement planning 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.

Ripple Effect of the Blocked Suez Canal

suez

Despite the Suez Canal blockage, disrupting global trade, U.S. equity indices fluctuated between gains and losses throughout a volatile week. Month- and quarter-end flows hang over the market, but J.P. Morgan’s head quant expects flows to be net positive for equities, opposite of consensus. Also, the monthly jobs report is Friday.

Last Week

U.S. equity indices fluctuated between gains and losses throughout a volatile week but surged in the final hour of Friday’s trade. The Treasury yield rally consolidated amid technical headwinds and dovish Fed comments. The re-opening trade took a deep breath but is still +35% since the November 9 Pfizer vaccine announcement. The Nasdaq Composite failed to finish higher, but it did close notably off the lows. Energy dropped precipitously early on but sharply retraced losses after a cargo ship completely blocked passage in the Suez Canal.

Fed Chair Powell’s testimony reiterated the FOMC’s belief that inflationary pressures would only be temporary. Treasury yields began the week dropping significantly on Monday and Tuesday, as Fed Chairman Powell confirmed the Fed’s commitment to loose monetary policy. He insisted that the he does not believe a surge in inflation this year will be persistent or large. Powell believes that the Federal Reserve has the tools necessary to deal with higher inflation.

Existing home sales fell 6% in February, and new home sales dropped 18% Month-over-Month. However, new home sales are up +8.2% Year-over-Year. Durable goods orders fell for the first time in 10 months. Services activity came in at an 80-month high, supported by the steepest increase in new business in 3 years. Backlogs increased though, while prices surged on unprecedented supply chain disruptions. European PMIs came in much better than expected as well, returning to manufacturing growth for the first time in 6-months. The services sector remains in contraction, hampered by the COVID-19 related lockdowns.

Week Ahead

Month- and quarter-end flows hang over the market this week. The shortened holiday week features a docket full of Tier 1 economic data. Revisiting Friday’s bewildering market movement is critical. Shares of some media and technology companies were cut down significantly. Weekend reports tie this to an over-levered fund’s liquidation. The technology-heavy Nasdaq’s ability to rally sharply in the face of higher yields seems notable too. As the calendar turns, April offers investors a potential seasonal tailwind. Historically, it’s been the strongest month for the S&P500, higher 74% of the time since 1964 by an average +1.7%. Rebalancing could create a few speedbumps though.

Over the last 3 months, 10-year yields have risen 74 basis points, while the major U.S. equity indices have climbed modestly. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are +5.82% and +1.92% respectively, but equal weight S&P500 is +11.52% as the median stock has performed better than the market-cap behemoths. The monthly jobs report is on Friday, but markets will be closed in observance of Good Friday. Next Sunday’s futures opening could be chaotic as global investors react to our labor market situation, but they also may place more weight on the ADP report mid-week. Both are expected to show solid job creation, but the Fed remains focused on the slack in the labor sector, which is illustrated through the underemployment rate. Tuesday’s consumer confidence is poised to jump sharply given the stimulus deployment and vaccine progress.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 8.06%, S&P up 5.82%, and Nasdaq up 1.94% 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.

Which way will the Fed move rates and when?

Fed

Risk returned for investors, pushing U.S. equity indices 2-4% higher last week. The Fed meeting this week is priority for rate concerns. U.S. Treasury yields continued their rally on the heels of positive economic developments. President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and announced an expedited vaccination schedule, stating all adults would be eligible to receive one by May 1. The Nasdaq rebounded from a 3-week slide, advancing 3.09% last week. The S&P finished 2.64% higher on the week, and sitting at an all-time high. And the Dow Jones index finished up 4.17% on the week.

Last Week

Positive consumer inflation data slowed the speed of the rising yields, with headline CPI coming in at +1.7% YoY. The yield curve steepened to a 5.5 year high. The Treasury sell-off continued last week as President Biden signed the latest coronavirus relief bill into law. This raised the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury to the highest levels since before the pandemic.

At $1.9 trillion, this is the largest of the coronavirus stimulus bills. President Biden’s urging of states to make the vaccine available to all adults by May 1 has further boosted economic growth prospects. High growth and inflation have contributed to the increase in long-term yields. Initial jobless claims were better than expected. This was the lowest level of initial claims this year, 712,000. More states have eased covid restrictions. And the Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine increases the shot distribution to the masses. A clearer path to full recovery is well within sight.

The Week Ahead and the Fed

The Fed meets today and tomorrow. Will Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and the FOMC flap their dovish wings, or will hawkish commentary fly over financial markets? It is widely expected that the Fed will leave rates unchanged. Short-term rate markets are pricing the first rate hike in late 2022 and markedly higher rates in 2023. While the Fed has pledged to keep rates at or near zero until at least the end of 2023.

After the European Central Bank pledged to ramp up its bond purchases last week, it seems likely that Powell could forcibly push back on rate investors’ hawkish expectations. Undoubtedly, Fed officials’ latest economic projections may show stronger growth estimates, but labor market figures could temper optimism. Many believe the rally in long-term government bond yields is most concerning to Fed officials, but they have said the rise in yields is likely transitory and tied to expectations of rapid growth in coming quarters.

The Fed Impact of Rates

The Fed’s well-anchored expectations allow for such temporary shocks. After all, the Fed isn’t a day-trader. In reality, the short-end of the curve remains notably disconnected from Fed guidance, which may likely merit a response from them this week. The rout in technology stocks has resulted in a positioning washout. So a dovish Fed response could ignite a push higher where the Nasdaq leads the pack. A hawkish tilt could spark volatility, sending equities lower and yields higher.

Markets hate uncertainty, but consensus is quickly growing for higher yields. Markets’ numbness to yields rising may only grow as the narrative changes. This is often how markets process new information. Initially, higher yields were viewed as detrimental to high valuation growth stocks, but now investors are seemingly viewing them as a signal the economy’s health is improving rapidly.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 7.10%, S&P up 5.99%, and Nasdaq up 3.35% 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.

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.

Rising Yields and Impact for your Money

rising yields

Treasury yields rose significantly over the course of last week. The rising rates spooked equity investors, reaching the highest levels since February 2020. And the highest one month gain since November 2016. Yields ended the week down from the high on Covid-19 vaccine optimism, a recovering U.S. economy, and massive stimulus deal near completion. For the week, major indexes finished down; Dow down 1.9%, S&P down 2.41%, and Nasdaq down 4.9%.

Rising Yields

The high yields lead to concern for inflation. With inflation, comes demand for higher yields. Higher yields are passed down to corporations by way of borrowing. If companies have debt or increase their debt, than in return, they will pay higher interest payments. Higher interest payments cut into their profits, therefore, companies report lower earnings and their overall valuation declines. Rising rates are not all doom and gloom. Fed Chairman Powell made this statement regarding higher yields last week, “statement of confidence on the part of the markets that we will have a robust and ultimate complete recovery.” Regardless, interest rates remain the focus of market stress going forward.

Week Ahead

Last week, U.S. jobless claims of 730K were lower than expected, and lower than the previous week. The Johnson & Johnson vaccination news helped travel stocks jump. The J&J vaccine approval increases the push to vaccinate 100m people in the U.S. by the end of June. Further supporting the recovery and investor perception of a likely economic boom. Housing report data was strong. The House passed President Biden’s $1.9T relief package over the weekend. Despite the rising rates, this is all positive news to support the market. For the year, Dow is up 1.06%, S&P up 1.47%, and Nasdaq up 2.36%.

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 planning 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.

Impeachment, Inauguration, and a Whole Lot More

biden

Last Week

Investors’ appetite for risk-on positions took a breather after disappointing December retail sales. Also, President elect Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plan fell short of expectations. Biden’s plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals, as well as, aid for state and local government. While President Trump’s impeachment in the House had little market impact. Friday’s January options expiration did exacerbate volatility ahead of the holiday weekend. Earnings season kicked off with better than expected results from financial giants J.P. Morgan, Citi, and Wells Fargo as they released loan loss reserves. The banks still warned of the economic recovery’s fragility.

On the data front, the notable miss was December retail sales falling 0.7% versus flat expectations. This registered the third consecutive monthly decline. Driven by the latest round of stimulus checks not delivered until the end of the month. Small business optimism cooled in December. As did consumer sentiment, dented by political uncertainty and feet shuffling on the fiscal stimulus front.

This Week

U.S. financial markets closed on Monday in observation of Dr. Martin Luther King Day. The 59th Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday will dominate news headlines, as President Elect Biden is sworn into office. His aim is for 100 million Americans to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in his first 100 days. Much of investors’ developing economic outlook hinges on his success.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits anticipates recovery after last week’s bad figure. But still will remain uncomfortably elevated. Housing data is anticipates to come in mixed, but the sector remains strong. Friday is global PMI day, and nearly every region is anticipates a slide. Most significantly in the UK given the recently discovered mutated virus strain.

Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is up 0.32%, the Dow up 0.68% and Nasdaq up 0.86%.

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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!

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Can Retail Shopping and Vaccines Save 2020?

vaccine

U.S. equity indices enjoyed broad based gains amid the shortened trading week. Vaccine optimism increased and political uncertainty declined. Despite mostly weaker economic data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly eclipsed 30,000 for the first time. According to the WSJ, the Nasdaq Composite scored its 45th record high close in 2020. All indexes finished higher on the week; Dow up 2.25%, S&P 500 up 2.3%, and Nasdaq up 2.97%.

Last Week

U.S. equity indices enjoyed broad based gains amid the shortened trading week. Vaccine optimism increased and political uncertainty dissipated. Despite mostly weaker economic data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly eclipsed 30,000 for the first time. and according to the WSJ, the Nasdaq Composite scored its 45th record high close in 2020. Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished higher. Real estate was the lone loser, falling less than 1%, despite positive housing news.

Last Monday, AstraZeneca Inc. released their COVID vaccine phase 3 trial data that showed a 70% efficacy. This is the third such vaccine announcement in as many weeks joining Pfizer and Monderna. The odds of shortening this COVID pandemic continues to grow with three extensive studies diversifying any potential vaccine data setbacks in the future. Economic data was generally disappointing and pointed to a slowing recovery. Dented by recent restrictions due to rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Consumer confidence missed expectations, falling flat in October. The number of Americans filing for unemployment rose to 778k from 748k last week. Durable goods orders expanded quicker than expected, rising 1.3%. October new home sales beat expectations. The VIX briefly dipped below 20 on Friday before closing the week above the key level.

Week Ahead

December is here and extreme greed is driving the market. At least according to the Fear & Greed Index which closed at 92 on Friday. Just a month ago, it was in fear territory at 35. The consensus seems to be for an end of year market melt-up, but first, we must get through Friday’s November jobs report. 

The current environment elicits déjà vu feelings of late 2017, early 2018 as risks cleared, equities levitated, and crypto surged. Consumption drives the economy, so investors will scrutinize Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales for insight into what the holiday spending season may look like. The National Retail Federation estimates that it will be 3.6-5.2% higher than 2019 levels. Given the pandemic, it’s looking like it will be a far more digital spending season than normal. The November jobs report will be the week’s key risk event on Friday. Today’s ISM manufacturing PMI and Thursday’s ISM services PMI will be closely watched for insight into recent economic activity. Both are expected to decline.

Looking ahead as the year winds down, 2020 has been a year marked by a global pandemic and the steepest economic contraction since the Great Recession. Yet equity markets have proved resilient. Since 1950 there have been only five -30% drawdowns in the S&P 500 in a calendar year. If the gains in 2020 hold, it would mark the first time there was a full retracement of the drawdown in the same calendar year. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 4.81%, S&P up 12.62%, and Nasdaq up 40.37% through the close on Friday.

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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.

Time To Be Thankful During Crazy Year

give thanks

Time to give thanks… U.S. equity indices ripped higher last week after Pfizer announced 90% effective rate in its COVID-19 vaccine. Major U.S. cities continue to tighten restrictions on activity as the holiday season approaches. The market continues to focus on vaccine optimism and in turn a “return to normal” for 2021. Last week’s cyclical rotation was huge. The question remains whether it can continue to drive the indices higher to the detriment of large-cap tech.

Last Week

U.S. equity indices finished higher after Pfizer announced 90% effective in its COVID-19 vaccine. Uncertainty created by the rotation from growth to value kept investors on edge. Despite record daily corona virus cases in the U.S., the S&P 500 led the advance, while the Nasdaq, or stay at home trade, fell slightly. According to EPFR Global, global stock funds tallied the largest inflows ($44.5 billion) in at least 20 years. Last week the indexes finished mixed. The Dow up 4.19%, S&P up 2.21%, and Nasdaq down 0.53%.

Week Ahead

Market movement has confined to two lanes. Strong yet narrow index gains, supported by large-cap tech. Or fairly flat indices, divided between surging cyclical’s and weak stay at home. Waves of fear seem to come and go. Major U.S. cities continue to tighten restrictions on activity as the holiday season approaches. So far, the market continues to focus on vaccine optimism and in turn a “return to normal” for 2021. Last week’s cyclical rotation was tectonic. The question remains whether it can continue to drive the indices higher to the detriment of large-cap tech. A lesson in index mythology might help investors’ insomnia. Stimulus expectations have dramatically tempered in recent weeks.

The improving labor market data and positive medical advancements on COVID-19 treatment provide a headwind to hopes for a new relief bill. Still, small businesses and millions of Americans are struggling dearly, so one might expect leaders to meet in the middle on some relief efforts in the coming weeks. On the data front, U.S. retail sales are a key event. Results this morning were down, but better than expected. Housing data is expected to remain robust. While unemployment claims are likely to come in steady around 700,000. As of last week, over 21 million Americans were claiming benefits across all U.S. programs.

So why should we give thanks? The US economy continues to heal. Payrolls keep growing, unemployment claims – though still elevated – are shrinking, key measures of the manufacturing and service sectors remain well into positive territory, and, as this week should show, both retail sales and industrial production remain on an upward trajectory. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 3.3%, S&P up 10.97%, and Nasdaq up 31.84% through the close last Friday.

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And the Winner of the Presidential Election is

Presidential Election

U.S. indices tumbled, registering their worst week since March, as investors shed equity exposure ahead of the U.S. Presidential election and as surging COVID-19 cases sparked fresh lock downs in Europe and the United States. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: nail your shoes down. The week ahead is expected to produce roller coaster volatility. Investors will grapple with incoming election results and potential policy changes it may bring. All major indices were down last week, the Dow down 6.47%, S&P 5.62%, and Nasdaq 5.5%.

Last Week

U.S. indices tumbled sharply as investors shed equity exposure ahead of the U.S. Presidential election and as surging COVID-19 cases sparked fresh lock downs in Europe and the United States. Despite impressive earnings from large cap technology companies on Thursday, the indexes had their worst week since March. Each index fell 5-7%+ on the week and sent the volatility reading above 40 for the first time since June. Majority of the S&P 500 market cap reported earnings, over 85% of firms have beat on the bottom line.

For the most part, economic data bested expectations. Stronger durable goods orders, steady consumer confidence, and slumping unemployment claims pointed towards continued recovery. However, some housing market data took a breather. Gross domestic product grew at a 33.1% annualized rate for the third quarter, led by a recovery in consumer spending.

The Week Ahead

Increased volatility is expected as investors grapple with election results and potential policy changes. PredictIt currently puts Democratic candidate Biden’s chances at winning around 70%. Key swing states like Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina hint the race isn’t over. Analysts expect a Democratic victory to mean larger fiscal stimulus. However, Senate majority leader McConnell’s recent remarks suggest little impetus for a relief bill in a lame duck period. With COVID-19 reaching record levels, it’s no wonder recent volatility has spiked. Economic data will play second fiddle, but plenty of key reports emerge. Friday’s jobs report is expected to show steady employment growth and a further decline in the unemployment rate. On Thursday the FOMC meets and will release their latest policy statement, interestingly only 2 days after the election.

Longer-term, corporate fundamentals and normalization of the U.S. economy will likely be bigger drivers of return, in our view. It is widely believed that phase three results will be released in November from multiple vaccine candidates. This could be a big step in the right direction for a full reopen of the economy. Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 7.14%, S&P up 1.21%, and Nasdaq up 21.61% through the close on Friday. Have a safe week!

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Earnings Season is Here How will Markets React

Earnings season is here

U.S. indices logged modest gains after strong U.S. retail sales, building a week full of volatility. Investors juggled headlines on stimulus negotiations, the continuing COVID-19 crisis, and earnings season is here, kicking off this week. Last week all indexes finished slightly higher. The Dow up 0.07%, S&P up 0.21%, and Nasdaq up 0.79%.

Last Week

The tech titans propelled the Nasdaq higher, while the Dow and S&P 500 indexes sat flat. Bank earnings largely exceeded expectations. Banks were propelled by decent loan growth and dramatic decreases in loan loss provisions. The Philly Fed manufacturing index indicated activity picked up to its best level since February. Weekly unemployment claims rose to 898,000. Continuing unemployment claims fell sharply. Analysts note it is because many exhausted the 26-week limit. This strengthens the argument for U.S. lawmakers to act swiftly to provide relief from COVID-19’s lingering economic effects.

Markets struggled for direction last week as global COVID-19 cases rose to their highest levels since summer. The U.S. reported its highest daily infection count in two months and worldwide cases topped 39 million. Limited lock-downs in Europe are being called for amid the increases. Concerns surrounding the use of lock-downs and their impact, coupled with stalled stimulus talks domestically, made for choppy equity markets. September retail sales were seen rising by 1.9% last week as auto sales v-roomed ahead as they continue rebounding from second quarter lows.

The Week Ahead

While back-and-forth trade may persist, longer-term technical indicators look constructive. Earnings season will likely play second fiddle to stimulus negotiations, election polls, and vaccine progress. Eighty S&P 500 names report earnings this week, highlighted by Procter and Gamble, Verizon, Netflix, Southwest Airlines, and Coca-Cola. Given recent consumer data, upside surprises for many names seem plausible. Economic data to watch will be Tuesday’s housing starts and building permits. Thursday’s unemployment claims, will also be watched closely, to see if the negative trend build. As election uncertainty continues, focusing on events that are likely to occur can add some investing clarity. The U.S. should have a vaccine sometime in the next few months. There will likely be another large round of federal stimulus in the next few months. The Fed will likely keep rates near zero for as long as the economy needs it.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 0.24%, S&P up 7.83%, and Nasdaq up 30.08% through the close on Friday.

Have a fun and safe 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.

Presidential Virus Case and Impact on the Markets

Presidential Virus

Happy fall y’ll! The President has contracted the virus. Lawmakers are working on a coronavirus relief bill. Jobs continue to recover, but at a slower than expected rate. Last week all indexes finished up. The Dow up 1.9%, S&P 1.5%, and Nasdaq 1.5%. The markets fell mid last week as news of the Presidential virus emerged, before rallying by the weeks end.

Last Week

Despite President Trump testing positive for coronavirus, equities ended a volatile week higher. Investors became more upbeat about a potential stimulus package. The positive test for the President does creates near term uncertainty. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s prognosis changed the shape of talks over a new stimulus package. In economic news, non-farm payrolls continued to improve with 661,000 jobs added in September. These numbers are below the consensus of 859,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.9% from 8.4% in August. The pace of growth in the manufacturing sector slowed in September. But still expanded with an ISM Manufacturing Index reading of 55.4.

Consumer spending was up 1% over the prior month. This is the 4th straight monthly increase, and is now down roughly 2% compared to a year ago. Initial jobless claims for the week ended September 26 were 837,000. Marking the 5th consecutive week between 800,000 and 900,0000. Continued claims, or the number of people already receiving unemployment benefits, fell by nearly 1 million. This marks the lowest level since March. The jobs report released Friday showed the U.S. economy added 661,000 jobs in September. This data was below expectations, while the unemployment rate fell to 7.9%. The economy has now recovered about half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April. Adding 11.4 million jobs from May through September.

The Week Ahead

Looking ahead, the path of COVID-19 and the presidential election will remain at the forefront of investors’ minds. In addition, the major banks will report results starting in less than two weeks. This will provide a good barometer of the health of the overall economy. President Trump’s health is a huge macro risk with far reaching financial market implications. Just weeks away from the Presidential election, it is clear anything can happen. The base case is for a full recovery. However, polls could move in the coming weeks as voters assess his health and his tone on the virus. Furthermore, the Supreme Court nomination and the battle over fiscal stimulus remain key topics. Neither of which look to be resolved easily. Fed chair Powell will offer insights into the economic outlook today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been on the attack for over seven months now. We are still anxiously awaiting a medical breakthrough that will help us better coexist with this virus. There is a good chance the virus may never go away, according to experts. In late September, Dr. Anthony Fauci, commented that COVID-19 vaccinations could begin as early as November or December. In all likelihood, a vaccine will not be available prior to election day on 11/3/20. As a result, things could get a bit bumpy in the markets in October based on the daily news feed. Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 3.0%, S&P up 3.6%, and Nasdaq up 28.8% through the close on Friday.

Have a great 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. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Historical performance figures for the indices are for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment.

Markets Retreat after the Fed Chairman Said This

Fed Chairman

Welcome to fall 2020! Stocks rallied early last week, then fell after the Fed meeting on Wednesday. Last week all indexes finished flat or down. The Dow barely dropped 0.03%, S&P was down 0.64%, and Nasdaq down 0.56%. Tech stocks continued to sell off, leading to the Nasdaq’s 3rd straight weekly decline.

Last Week

The markets see-sawed through the week before finishing lower. Stalemate in Washington over any kind of relief bill continued. The Fed meeting on Wednesday was highlighted by projections to keep interest rates near zero through 2023. Economic data missed the mark too. Retail sales came in lower than expected. The weekly unemployment claims came in higher than expectations of 860,000. Housing starts and building permit data came in lower than expected. The decline of housing data compared to July is likely attributed to higher lumber prices.

More on the Fed. Low interest rates enhance the value of all equities. The Fed indicated this past week that it intends to keep its overnight federal funds rate target at 0-0.25% until 2023. They also said they would continue purchasing Treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities. Chairman Powell said they will keep this stance until the labor market returns to full employment. Pre-covid unemployment rates were 3.5%.

The Week Ahead

The Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, speaks on Tuesday. Many agree the recovery has slowed, so to what degree that slowing has occurred will be seen in the latest reports. Fed chair Powell’s testimony on the CARES Act could contain market-moving morsels on Tuesday and Wednesday, as could treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s testimony on Thursday. Another week of high unemployment claims looms, but so far, the market remains relatively content with the labor market’s status. Friday’s durable goods orders offers insight into capital expenditure intentions among companies, and it’s poised to decline slightly. The elephant in the room for the market is the Presidential election, now roughly 6 weeks away.

Looking ahead to October. October is a peculiarly dangerous month to speculate in stocks. According to the Trader’s Almanac, that is especially true in presidential-election years. Since 1952, the Dow industrial averaged a 0.8% decline in those years. The S&P 500 index averaged a 0.7% drop. In Octobers of election years, the market was generally up when the incumbent party won. Not surprising as bull markets tend to favor the party in power. Clarity on the next 4 years will be here soon! Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 3.09%, S&P up 2.75%, and Nasdaq up 20.29% through the close on Friday.

Have a great 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.