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Weekly Market Commentary

Market Commentary, August 17, 2020

The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index finished the week within a whisker of its February high, reported Randall Forsyth of Barron’s.

It’s a remarkable feat. The stock market has recovered in just 175 days. Historically, comparable recoveries (those following market drops of 20 percent or more) have taken... 

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Market Commentary, August 10, 2020

There was good news and bad news in last week’s employment report.

The good news was the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered better-than-expected data about employment. In July, the U.S. economy added about 1.8 million new jobs.

That’s about 300,000 more than the Wall Street consensus forecast, according to Jeff Cox of CNBC, who reported, “…

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Market Commentary, August 3, 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. Real gross domestic product, which is the value of all goods and services produced by our country...

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Market Commentary, July 27, 2020

Where are we on vaccines and treatments?

During 2020, the United States government has spent more than $13 billion on Operation Warp Speed (OWS), which is focused on accelerating the development of...

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Market Commentary, July 20, 2020

Is the United States economy recovering or faltering?

It depends on who you ask and which data you consider. For example, last week, the Department of Labor reported...

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Market Commentary, July 13, 2020

Please don’t scream inside your heart.

Last week, a reopened Japanese theme park asked patrons to wear masks to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. It also asked them not to scream while riding the rollercoaster. “Please scream inside your heart"...

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Market Commentary, July 6, 2020

What a quarter!

Who could have guessed a global pandemic would produce outsized stock market returns? Near the end of last quarter (March 23), the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 30.75 percent for the year, and it looked like 2020 was going to be a...

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Market Commentary, June 29, 2020

Blame it on the coronavirus.

Stock markets in the United States and Europe retreated last week as the number of new COVID-19 cases increased steadily in America. On Thursday, there were more than... 

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Market Commentary, June 22, 2020

Could it be the upside surprises?

U.S. stock markets have marched higher despite a pandemic, an economic downturn, and social justice protests – and a lot of people have wondered why...

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Market Commentary, June 15, 2020

The Nasdaq Composite dipped its toes into record territory last week before retreating.

Stock indices in the United States rallied early last week on optimism about the reopening of businesses across the country. The Nasdaq Composite rose to 10,000 for the first time ever, before...

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Market Commentary, June 8, 2020

The employment report electrified U.S. stock markets last week. American stock markets responded enthusiastically to the news U.S. unemployment was 13.3 percent in
May. If it seems inexplicable double-digit unemployment would thrill investors, there is a reason. The unemployment rate in April was higher at 14.7 percent, and analysts had forecast the rate in May would jump to 19.1 percent. All in all, that makes 13.3 percent look pretty attractive.

There were some caveats...

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Market Commentary, June 1, 2020

Are those green shoots?

In economic terms, green shoots are signs of improvement. If you were paying close attention, you might have seen some in economic data released last week.
They weren’t apparent in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the United States economy. Gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in our country, shrank by...

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Market Commentary, May 26, 2020

It was a good week for stock markets in the United States, but there was trouble in Asia.

U.S. stock markets rallied last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and Nasdaq Composite all gained more than 3 percent, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s.

Investors had plenty of fuel for optimism early in the week. On Sunday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell struck a positive tone during his 60 Minutes interview stating, “The big thing we have to avoid…is a second wave of the virus. But if we do, then...

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Market Commentary, May 18, 2020

America is reopening, state by state.

That’s welcome news for many businesses, but we’re far from business as usual.
Last week’s economic news included unemployment hitting an 80-year high,
a record drop in...

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Market Commentary, May 11, 2020

The stock market is not the economy.

 It’s an important point to remember when headlines marvel that U.S. stock markets are moving higher while the U.S. economy is contracting. Stock markets are not mindful of the present moment. They are forward-looking, reflecting expectations about what will happen in the months and years to come, explained Mark Hulbert in a MarketWatch opinion piece.

In the present moment, the...

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Market Commentary, May 4, 2020

There are signs COVID-19 may be in retreat.

 Last week, the Centers for Disease Control reported, overall in the United States, for the week ending April 25 (officially week 17 of the coronavirus), the number of:

 People visiting healthcare providers with COVID-19 symptoms declined.

  • Positive tests at public health, clinical, and commercial laboratories declined or remained similar.
  • Deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 declined, too, although the percentage remains above normal.

 This is good news since...

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Market Commentary, April 27, 2020

We live in interesting times.

There is discussion about whether the saying, “May you live in interesting times,” is a blessing or a curse.

At this point in 2020, we all understand why. Last week, the world watched in consternation as the price of oil, specifically West Texas Intermediate
crude oil, dropped into negative territory. The price moved below...

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Market Commentary, April 20, 2020

Last week’s economic data was about what you might expect in the midst of a virus crisis that has shut down businesses and forced people to stay home:

• Retail sales were down 8.7 percent in March. Retail sales track demand for everything from clothing to refrigerators. The March decline was the worst monthly performance on record, according to Ben Levisohn of Barron’s.
• Oil prices fell further. Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other nations agreed to reduce oil production, but that may not be enough to steady prices. The Economist explained...

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Market Commentary, April 13, 2020

Why is the stock market doing so well when the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to peak?

At the end of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the United States remains in the acceleration phase of the coronavirus pandemic. This phase ends when new cases of COVID-19 level off. The next phase should be a period of...

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Market Commentary, April 6, 2020

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy says to her little dog, “Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”  Today, many of us understand Dorothy’s trepidation and uncertainty better than ever before.

 COVID-19 has changed our world in ways previously unimaginable. In many states, Americans shelter at home, venturing out for groceries, medicine, and other essentials. Parents have become teachers guiding online schoolwork, often while balancing...

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Market Commentary, March 30, 2020

The United States set some records last week.

First, we became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Popular Science explained:
“An increase of 15,000 known cases in just one day pushed the United States past Italy and China, making it the new epicenter of the pandemic…Experts suspect the actual number of U.S. cases is much higher than currently reported…the United States has tested a far lower percentage of its large population than other hard-hit countries.”

On Friday, March 27, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported...

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Market Commentary, March 23, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to spread across the United States last week.
On Friday, March 13, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported there were 1,629 confirmed and presumptive cases and 41 deaths. Last Friday, March 20, the numbers had increased to 15,219 cases and 201 deaths.

Governments in several states – including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho,Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, and New York – have issued shelter-in-place orders that apply to the entire state or...

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Market Commentary, March 16, 2020

Last week was one for the history books.

Mid-week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a global pandemic. At the time, there were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and the death toll exceeded 4,000 people. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 46 states and the District of Columbia have been affected, so far. As of Friday, there have been 1,629...

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Market Commentary, March 9, 2020

Last week, market volatility reached levels that make many investors uncomfortable.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged higher, delivering its biggest one-day point gain in history. The catalyst may have been reports that ‘Group of Seven’ (G7) finance ministers and central bank governors were meeting via conference call on Tuesday. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire indicated the discussion would lead to coordinated monetary...

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Market Commentary, March 2, 2020

Take a deep breath.


We have experienced downturns before. Think back to 2018. During the last quarter of the year, major stock indices in the Unites States suffered double-digit losses,
much of it during December. What happened next? By the end of 2019, those indices had reached new highs.

The reasons for, and performance following, market downturns varies. The key is not to panic....

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Market Commentary, February 24, 2020

The coronavirus appears to have inspired two distinct schools of thought among investors.

Some investors currently favor opportunities that are considered lower risk, like Treasury bonds and gold, because they’re concerned about the potential impact of
the coronavirus on the global economy. Others are piling into higher risk assets, like stocks, that could benefit if central banks (like the United States Federal Reserve)...

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Market Commentary, February 18, 2020

Many stock markets around the world moved higher last week. Investors’ optimism in the face of economic headwinds has confounded some in the financial services industry.

Laurence Fletcher and Jennifer Ablan of Financial Times cited several money managers who believe investors have become complacent. One theory is investors’ buy-the-dip mentality has become so firmly ingrained that any price drop is seen as a buying opportunity, regardless of share price valuation...

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Market Commentary, February 10, 2020

Last week, major U.S. indices posted strong gains. That’s welcome news, but the drivers behind share price appreciation appear to have little to do with company fundamentals.

Fourth quarter earnings season is underway. During earnings season, companies let investors know how profitable they were during the previous quarter. With 45 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index reporting, earnings are slightly down. If the trend continues...

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Market Commentary, February 3, 2020

Prepare yourself. There is a good chance markets will be volatile in the coming weeks.

Precautions designed to slow the spread of the Coronavirus may also slow Chinese economic growth and, by extension, global economic growth.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus to be an international health emergency. The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for China...

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Market Commentary, January 27, 2020

Markets hunkered down last week. 

News of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China unsettled investors around the world. The respiratory infection is related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), reported WebMD

Previous virus outbreaks have affected global economic growth. Research into pandemic preparedness suggests...

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Market Commentary, January 21, 2020

The new trade deals are here! 

The United States and China signed a preliminary trade deal last week. The next day, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was approved by the Senate. 

The phase-one deal between the United States and China has been analyzed, applauded, disparaged, and questioned. Here is a sampling of what’s being said...

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Market Commentary, January 13, 2020

It was a nerve-wracking week.

 Iran fired 22 ballistic missiles at the Ain Al Asad air base near western Iraq and a second base in northern Iraq following last week’s U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian military commander. Newsweek reported the bases suffered minimal damage and...

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Weekly Market Commentary, January 6, 2020

About face!

 

2019 was a remarkable year for investors with many asset classes delivering positive performance. Both the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, a gauge of U.S. stock market performance, and the Dow Jones Global (ex U.S.) Index delivered double-digit increases (see the below table). Bonds and gold rallied, too, delivering...

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