Market Commentary

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Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary December 10, 2018

The market is starting to grate on some investors. The S&P 500 dropped 4.6% last week on concerns the reported trade truce wasn’t as substantial as hoped and that global economic growth continued to slow. Global stocks participated in the decline as the MSCI ACWI lost 3.5% last week. Read more

Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary December 3, 2018

Last week provided investors clarity on their two biggest concerns: interest rates and trade. Federal Reserve communication indicated rate increases will likely slow in 2019, and over the weekend, the U.S. and China announced an agreement to delay an increase in tariffs from 10% to 25% on a wide range of U.S. goods. In exchange, the Chinese will buy more U.S. goods, and both sides will seek an agreement in the next quarter.

Markets reacted very positively to the news on rates. The S&P soared 4.8%. The gains marked the second time this quarter the S&P 500 has neared a 10% fall and rallied back. The MSCI ACWI gained 3.3% as global stocks joined the rally. The Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index edged up 0.1%.

Despite the volatility, November’s returns were positive, as the strong performance last week pushed stock indexes from negative to positive returns. The S&P rose 1.8%, and the MSCI ACWI climbed 1.3%. The Aggregate Bond Index rallied 0.6% as concerns about slowing economic growth aided bonds.


KEY POINTS FOR THE WEEK

  • U.S. stocks rallied sharply last week.
  • Interest rates are not likely to rise as quickly as many investors feared.
  • The U.S. will delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods as part of trade negotiations.

ECONOMIC NEWS

U.S. economic data released last week shows inflation stagnating and consumer spending at the highest level it’s been in seven months. PCE core inflation, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, rose 1.8%. It was the lowest level since February and is below the Fed’s target of 2%. Consumer spending increased by 0.6% in October, while wages rose by 0.3%. Both data points suggest the consumer remains a source of strength in the U.S. economy.

The lower inflation data reinforces other data indicating the economy is slowing. Investors worried the Fed would keep raising rates despite how low inflation has contributed to recent volatility. But when the minutes from the Fed’s most recent meeting were released, the rate hike path for 2019 appeared less certain. While the minutes suggested the plan to raise rates in December is a foregone conclusion, the Fed indicated it would be more flexible and pay close attention to economic data and react accordingly. Fed Chair Jerome Powell stated that interest rates were just below neutral, which is a level where interest rates neither speed nor slow economic growth. This soothed many investors’ concerns on whether interest rates would be raised too high and hurt economic growth.

FUN STORY

Customers were mistakenly given $100 bills instead of $20s from ATM

Christmas came early for some Bank of America customers in Texas last week when an ATM started spitting out $100 bills instead of $20s. After news spread, a long line formed of people seeking a quick 500% return. Apparently caught up in the spirit of cheer, Bank of America said customers could keep the money because it was the company’s error.


Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary November 26, 2018

Global stocks continued to decline as economic weakness and the possibility of further rate increases by the Federal Reserve worried investors. After rallying in late October and early November, global stocks were trading near the levels reached during the October decline. Read more

Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary November 19, 2018

After two straight weeks of 2%-plus returns, the S&P 500 was down 1.6% last week. Global stocks also declined, pushing the MSCI ACWI down 1.2% last week.

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Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary November 12, 2018

The S&P 500 rallied for the second consecutive week as markets have recovered nearly half of the losses since late September. S&P 500 soared 2.1% last week. Global stocks rallied as well, but lagged U.S. stocks. The MSCI ACWI climbed 0.9%. The Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index rose 0.3%, partly on hopes a split Congress will result in lower deficits. Read more

Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary November 5, 2018

After a rough October, the S&P 500 went into rally mode last week. Positive rumors on trade and a general recognition that the investing environment remains positive boosted stocks. The S&P 500 soared 2.4%. Global stocks rose, too, pushing the MSCI ACWI 3.1% higher. The good news in stocks, along with healthy job growth, pushed the Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index 0.7% lower.

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Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary October 29, 2018

The S&P 500 briefly declined more than 10% from its high, set on September 21, 2018, before rallying slightly. The “correction” has come during a period of economic strength and healthy profit margins. A number of other major indexes are now in a “correction,” as they have declined more than 10%. Read more

Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary October 22, 2018

U.S. stocks increased last week by the thinnest of margins. The S&P 500 rose, but the result rounded to 0%. The MSCI ACWI slid a mere 0.1%. The bond market continued to slump as the Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index dropped 0.4%.

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Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary October 15, 2018

After months without a 1% move in either direction, the S&P 500 experienced three on consecutive days to end the week. Unfortunately, the large moves down on Wednesday and Thursday dwarfed Friday’s rally. Read more

Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary October 8, 2018

The fourth quarter seems to be off to a more volatile start after a calm third quarter. Read more