WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | MARCH 23, 2023
Unknowns and uncertainty.
Financial markets were volatile last week as investors parsed the risks around bank closures, central banks offered additional protections for depositors, and regulators took a harder look at bank balance sheets.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | MARCH 16, 2023
Thrown for a loop.
Early last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress the Fed is committed to bringing inflation down to 2 percent. If economic data continues to come in hot, he said, then it’s likely the Fed will raise rates higher than expected and keep them higher for longer.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | MARCH 9, 2023
Stocks and bonds are two of the better-known asset classes in the family of potential investments. Last week, they were in opposition.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | MARCH 2, 2023
Is it good news or bad news?
The answer depends on your perspective. Last week, we learned…
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | FEBRUARY 23, 2023
Brace for a bumpy ride.
There were some unwelcome surprises in last week’s economic data that caused markets to reassess expectations for 2023. For example: Inflation didn’t fall as fast as expected.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | FEBRUARY 16, 2023
This time may be different…or it may not be.
There has been a lot of speculation about how the Federal Reserve’s policies will affect the United States economy. Economists have differing opinions about whether the country is headed for:
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | FEBRUARY 9, 2023
What do Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) and the current economic expansion have in common?
Author and humorist Twain was prematurely reported to be dead. It first happened in 1897. Twain was on a speaking tour in London when rumors that he had fallen ill and died began to circulate. Then, about a decade later, The New York Times reported that a yacht Twain was on had sunk.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | FEBRUARY 2, 2023
The vicious cycle of inflation.
Last week, we learned that pay increases at central banks in many parts of the world won’t keep pace with inflation. As a result, their employees may not be able to maintain the standards of living they had before inflation began rising. For example, at the United States Federal Reserve (Fed) the maximum pay increase was 5.1 percent for 2022.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JANUARY 26, 2023
“It’s hard to be a contrarian for very long these days because the consensus seems to change so quickly,” opined Ed Yardeni via LinkedIn last week.
We’ve certainly seen a shift in investors’ preferences during the first few weeks of this year.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JANUARY 19, 2023
Bullish or bearish?
After last year’s geopolitical turmoil, economic malaise, and tumultuous stock market decline, many financial professionals – from investors to asset managers – have strong opinions about what will happen in 2023.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JANUARY 11, 2023
It’s being called the “Goldilocks” report.
Last Friday, we learned that demand for workers in the United States remained strong in 2022. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in December. (It was 3.7 percent in November.) That brought U.S. unemployment back to where it was before the pandemic – at the lowest level in more than 50 years, reported Megan Cassella of Barron’s.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JANUARY 5, 2023
It’s finally over.
2022 was a dismal year for financial markets. Major United States stock indices moved lower, trimming or eliminating the previous year’s gains.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | DECEMBER 29, 2022
What a year!
In some ways, it feels as though we lived through several years in 2022. The onslaught of events included, “The first major European war since the 1990s, unprecedented sanctions, energy-price mayhem, bail-outs, global interest rates rising at their fastest pace in four decades, a faltering Chinese economy, an overheating American one, housing markets looking peaky across the rich world, [and] a crypto blow-up for the ages…,”
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | DECEMBER 22, 2022
Bad news is bad news, once again.
For months, investors have cheered bad economic news. When the United States economy showed signs of weakness, stock markets often reflected investor enthusiasm. The thinking was that bad economic news would persuade the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of rate hikes. Inflation would slide lower, and recession would be avoided.
Last week, there was a shift in attitude.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | DECEMBER 15, 2022
What comes next?
The U.S. stock market tends to be a forward-looking vehicle. Investors make decisions today based on what they think may be ahead for the economy, and how economic change may affect the companies they’re considering for investment. Currently, key questions include:
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | DECEMBER 8, 2022
What will it take to slow this economy down?
In 2001, railway workers slowed a runaway train in Ohio by latching a second engine to the back of the locomotive and applying the brakes. In all, the train traveled sixty-six miles over two hours, decelerating from a maximum speed of 47 miles per hour to 10 miles per hour before workers regained control of it, according to CNN.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | DECEMBER 1, 2022
There was a shift in the winds of monetary policy.
Last week, it became clear the Federal Reserve (Fed) had softened its hawkish stance. The minutes of the central bank’s November policy meeting indicated the Fed was likely to slow the pace of rate hikes soon. There was a caveat, though. The minutes noted:
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | NOVEMBER 23, 2022
Thanksgiving and football go together like turkey and stuffing.
For some families, though, this year may be more like a turducken, stuffed with American football and the sport the rest of the world knows as football (soccer). The men’s World Cup, which is played every four years for national glory, the Jules Rimet trophy, and millions of dollars in prize money, began on Sunday and will end on December 18.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | NOVEMBER 17, 2022
Last week was remarkable for many reasons.
One reason is that sky watchers around the world had an opportunity to see a total lunar eclipse. The moon, Earth and sun aligned, causing the moon to appear crimson. We won’t see another total lunar eclipse for three years, reported Denise Chow of NBC News.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | NOVEMBER 10, 2022
It’s the lag time.
To no one’s surprise, the Federal Reserve continued to battle inflation last week, raising the federal funds rate for the fourth time this year, reported Claire Ballentine of Bloomberg.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | NOVEMBER 3, 2022
Some companies are doing better than others – a lot better.
It’s earnings season; the time when companies share how well they performed during the previous quarter.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | OCTOBER 27, 2022
Markets turned – again.
Markets continue to be volatile. Last week, stocks headed north. Nicholas Jasinski of Barron’s reported the change of direction reflected investors’ desire for the market to finally hit bottom.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | OCTOBER 20, 2022
We’re not there yet.
Investors are understandably eager for the stock market to hit bottom. Some hoped it happened last week, but it did not.
Despite the Fed’s rate hikes, last week the Consumer Price Index showed the annual rate for headline inflation was 8.2 percent in September.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | OCTOBER 13, 2022
Last week, OPEC+, which includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied oil producers like Russia, chose to cut production by two million barrels a day. The stated goal is to keep crude oil prices above $90 a barrel. The production cut, which will push gasoline and other prices higher, complicates efforts to fight inflation, reported Salma El Wardany and colleagues at Bloomberg.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | OCTOBER 6, 2022
The third quarter marked a change in attitude.
So far, 2022 has been a tough year for investing. We’ve experienced an unusual phenomenon – the simultaneous decline of stock and bond markets. Throughout the third quarter, investors’ concerns focused on global instability, rising prices and the possibility that central bank efforts to tame inflation would cause economic growth to falter.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | SEPTEMBER 29, 2022
Central bank tightening sparked recession fears.
Last week, the Federal Reserve (Fed) raised the federal funds rate for the fifth time this year. During 2022, the Fed has lifted its benchmark rate from near zero to 3.12 percent. Fed policymakers indicated that they expect to raise the rate again this year. That’s going to make borrowing more expensive as rates on credit cards, home mortgages and business loans increase.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | SEPTEMBER 22, 2022
It’s open to interpretation.
Jackson Pollock was an action painter. He poured, dropped, and dripped paint onto horizontal canvases. Some people look at his work and wonder why it’s highly valued. Others find deep meaning in the paintings. For instance, Pollock’s Convergence is a collage of splattered colors that has been described as “the embodiment of free speech and freedom of expression…It was everything that America stood for all wrapped up in a messy, but deep package.”
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | SEPTEMBER 15, 2022
Central banks are hawkish. Stocks popped higher, anyway.
Last week, despite signs that inflation is slowing, U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) officials emphasized their commitment to tightening monetary policy to lower inflation. Several indicated they anticipate a third consecutive rate hike of 75 basis points, reported Craig Torres and Matthew Boesler of Bloomberg.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | SEPTEMBER 8, 2022
You may have heard this one: Don’t fight the Fed.
The Fed is the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. Among other things, the Fed influences monetary conditions in pursuit of price stability and full employment. As we’ve seen recently – with unemployment low and inflation high – the Fed’s job isn’t simple or straightforward.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | SEPTEMBER 1, 2022
Markets were tuned to the signals coming from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
During World War II, United States armed forces often relied on high-powered radio sets to communicate. When determining whether transmissions were garbled by static or obscured by the sounds of battle, the sender would ask, “Do you read me?” If communications were easily understood, the answer was, “Loud and clear.”
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | AUGUST 25, 2022
Is this a bear market rally or a new bull market?
Investment professionals are in the middle of a heated debate. Since mid-June, United States stock markets have moved higher, regaining about $7 trillion as many investors who had sold shares during the first half of the year began buying again, reported Lu Wang of Bloomberg. The debate is about whether the stock market is in the midst of a bear market rally or a new bull market.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | AUGUST 18, 2022
Rally caps were waving.
In recent weeks, investors have embraced the idea that economic data will persuade the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of rate hikes. Last week’s inflation data fanned their enthusiasm.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | AUGUST 11, 2022
The strength of the United States economy continues to surprise.
If you have ever been camping, you may have banked your campfire by covering the hot coals with ash. It’s a process that keeps the coals burning low so the fire can be easily rekindled. The U.S. Federal Reserve has been trying to bank the fire of U.S. economic growth – and it’s proving to be challenging.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | AUGUST 4, 2022
Investors thought they heard a dovish note from the Federal Reserve and markets rallied.
Last week, we learned from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) that economic growth in the United States slowed for the second consecutive quarter.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JULY 28, 2022
A lot of people are worried that a recession may be in our future. Some think it may already be here.
Unemployment is low (3.6 percent), and inflation is high (9.1 percent). Both tend to occur when an economy is experiencing strong growth. That makes it difficult to believe the United States is in a recession, but some data is pointing that way.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JULY 21, 2022
Nobody is happy, but Americans are feeling more optimistic…
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JULY 14, 2022
Rising inflation is a bit like a child throwing a temper tantrum in the grocery store. The red-faced parent, in this case the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed), tries to calm the child…
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JULY 7, 2022
The first six months of 2022 have earned a place in history books.
2022 is likely to become part of the lore passed from generation to generation. Stories will be told about this bear market, as well as the remarkable political and social events that have occurred in the United States and elsewhere. Here is a brief look back at the last three months.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JUNE 30, 2022
Last week, bad news was good news.
Consumers were feeling blue in June, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JUNE 23, 2022
The fight against inflation intensified.
Last week, the Federal Reserve (Fed) delivered a message that it is serious about fighting inflation.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JUNE 16, 2022
Inflation is proving to be far more tenacious than markets had hoped.
The idea that inflation peaked in March was put to rest last week when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed that inflation accelerated in May.
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | JUNE 9, 2022
How strong is the United States economy?
That’s the question investors were mulling after last week’s jobs report…
Weekly Market Commentary | June 2, 2022
Investors reassessed and markets bounced.
Last week, major U.S. stock indices moved higher for the first time in weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 6.2 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 6.6 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 6.9 percent, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s.
Weekly Market Commentary | May 26, 2022
On the fear and greed cycle…
One of the most challenging times for investors is a market downturn. Whether markets are experiencing a correction or a bear market, it’s really disturbing to watch the value of your savings and investments decline.
Weekly Market Commentary | May 19, 2022
On the survival series “Alone,” the tension ratchets higher whenever participants encounter bears. Some participants live warily alongside bears, while others tap out. A similar thing happens among investors when they encounter a bear market.
Weekly Market Commentary | May 12, 2022
There is a lot of uncertainty in financial markets – and markets hate uncertainty.
In recent weeks, economic and financial market data have been telling different stories – and that makes it tough for investors to know where the United States economy is headed.….
Weekly Market Commentary | May 5, 2022
Correction and contraction….
Investing during 2022 has been like running a forest trail and having unexpected obstacles appear every so often – a fallen tree, a swarm of biting flies, a bear with cubs – you get the idea…
Weekly Market Commentary | April 28, 2022
The Federal Reserve’s Ice Bucket Challenge…
Remember a few years ago when people raised money for charity by challenging others to pour buckets of icy water over their heads?
Weekly Market Commentary | April 21, 2022
Here’s a riddle:
How can inflation be 8.5 percent and 6.5 percent at the same time?
Weekly Market Commentary | April 14, 2022
The first quarter of 2022 was jam-packed with volatility-inducing events: rising inflation, war in Ukraine, rising interest rates, sanctions on Russia, and a new COVID-19 outbreak in China.
Weekly Market Commentary | April 7, 2022
Checking in on the Federal Reserve.
Weekly Market Commentary | March 31, 2022
Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it…
Weekly Market Commentary | March 24, 2022
Markets were reassured by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)’s actions last week.
Weekly Market Commentary | March 17, 2022
Investor optimism is quite low.
In just two weeks, the war in Ukraine has changed the status of 1.3 million people – approximately the number of people who live in Philadelphia or Phoenix…
Weekly Market Commentary | March 10, 2022
The world is adapting to a changing reality.
As the war in Ukraine intensified last week, financial markets grappled with uncertainty.
Weekly Market Commentary | March 3, 2022
Last week, Russia invaded Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision ignited the biggest military conflict in Europe since World War II.
Weekly Market Commentary | February 24, 2022
Investors’ appetite for risk diminished as the Russian threat to Ukraine intensified.
Volatility was high last week as investors guessed and second-guessed how markets would react if Russia invaded Ukraine and sanctions were imposed on Russia…
Weekly Market Commentary | February 17, 2022
Why did stock markets in the United States finish the week lower?
Weekly Market Commentary | February 10, 2022
A rosy view through the rearview mirror.
To say that economists did not have great expectations for the January employment report might be understating their position.
Weekly Market Commentary | February 3, 2022
Last week, the January stock market decline was interrupted by a Friday afternoon rally.
Weekly Market Commentary | January 27, 2022
When is a barometer not a barometer?
It’s widely recognized that people do not make perfect financial decisions. In fact, many investors rely on mental shortcuts when asked to make complex decisions.
Weekly Market Commentary | January 20, 2022
Is the economy doing well, or not?
If you skimmed the headlines last week, you may have seen that retail sales – the purchases we make from stores in-person or online – declined 1.9 percent in December.
Weekly Market Commentary | January 13, 2022
Here’s a little story about a group called the Fed…
In the 1950’s, then Fed Chair William McChesney Martin described the Federal Reserve as “the chaperone who has ordered the punch bowl removed just when the party was really warming up.”
Weekly Market Commentary | January 6, 2022
2021 was a fizzing mints-in-soda kind of year.
Everything seemed to shoot higher – from COVID-19 cases and vaccinations to economic growth and global stock markets.
Monthly Market Commentary | December 2021
COVID-19 strikes again.
Coronavirus cases have been on the rise in Europe, climbing from about 700,000 new cases a week in September to 2.6 million a week in November.
Monthly Market Commentary | November 2021
The road to recovery is slow and bumpy.
Last week, we learned that economic growth slowed in the third quarter as a new wave of COVID-19 surged across the United States, reported The Bureau of Economic Analysis
Proposed Tax Changes
The news is buzzing! After months of anticipation, the Democrats’ tax plan has arrived.
Monthly Market Commentary | October 2021
Central banks have a lot of influence on investors, markets, and economies.
Monthly Market Commentary | September 2021
“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder,” advised the Persian poet Rumi.
Monthly Market Commentary | August 2021
Last week, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finally announced the official dates for the recession that occurred in 2020.
Monthly Market Commentary | July 2021
What begins with the letter “I”?
Infrastructure is essential and sometimes taken for granted. Pipes carry drinking water to our homes, offices, and healthcare facilities, and carry away sewage and wastewater.
Monthly Market Commentary | June 2021
Are we at a tipping point? One side effect of the pandemic was a collapse in demand for oil, which led to “the largest revision to the value of the oil industry’s assets in at least a decade,” reported Collin Eaton and Sarah McFarlane of The Wall Street Journal.
Monthly Market Commentary | May 2021
It’s Spring and economic recovery is in the air. Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported the U.S. economy grew at a 6.4 percent annualized rate for the first three months of 2021.
Monthly Market Commentary | April 2021
Last week, unemployment claims were looking good and consumers were feeling good. The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits declined.
Monthly Market Commentary | March 2021
Students of financial markets may have noted a historically unusual event last week. On Thursday, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes briefly matched the dividend yield for the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index.
Monthly Market Commentary | February 2021
They say people watching the same event often see different things. That seems to have been the case last week when share prices of a few companies experienced tremendous volatility.
Monthly Market Commentary | January 2021
Last week was the cherry on top of a turbulent year for investors. After the $900 billion fiscal stimulus bill was signed on Sunday, major U.S. stock indices moved higher.
Consolidated Appropriations Act
At the close of 2020, Congress passed a second bill to address the challenges of the coronavirus, and President Trump signed it into law.
Hello and Happy New Year. Once in a very great while, there comes a year in the economy and the markets that serves as a tutorial—in effect, a master class in the principles of successful long-term, goal-focused investing.
Monthly Market Commentary | December 2020
Last week, vaccine optimism immunized investors against signs of economic weakness.
Monthly Market Commentary | November 2020
Last week, financial markets and economic data told very different stories. Reviewing economic data is a bit like looking in a rearview mirror. Typically, it offers information about what is behind us.
Monthly Market Commentary | October 2020
For four weeks, the U.S. stock market has sparked and sputtered like a campfire in light rain. Today, pandemic-driven demand is providing fuel for the investors. The need for certain types of products and services has accelerated and innovation is creating new opportunities.
Monthly Market Commentary | September 2020
The stock market rallies like it’s 1986. August has been a good month for stock investors. At the end of last week, the S&P 500 Index was up 6.8 percent for the month. The Index is poised to deliver its best returns for the month since 1986, when it gained 7.1 percent, reported Financial Times.
Monthly Market Commentary | August 2020
Last week delivered a mixed bag of financial and economic news. As many expected, the U.S. economy did not fare well during the second quarter. COVID-19 lockdowns and business closings caused productivity to fall by one-third
WEEKLY MARKET COMMENTARY | MARCH 30, 2023
What’s your jam?
When you think of fun, are you running an Arctic marathon? Biking to your favorite burger place? Gaming with friends online? Each has inherent risk: Polar bears and hypothermia, traffic and flat tires, and viruses and identity theft. Those who enjoy these activities, understand the possible risks and manage them.