Monthly Economic Update

06 March 2020

March 2020 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: The coronavirus becomes the leading news story in the financial markets, sending stock indices and Treasury yields lower; oil futures slide; consumer confidence, hiring, and manufacturing data offer bright spots.
March 2020 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

In February, anxieties about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) rippled through stock, bond, and commodity markets. Stories about the disease dominated the news cycle and concerns that a pandemic might occur hurt equities. The S&P 500 slipped 8.41% for the month, and foreign stock markets also retreated. Oil tumbled below $50. Away from the trading floors, the latest fundamental economic indicators showed manufacturing and job creation strengthening and consumer confidence at high levels. Data on home sales were mixed; home loans grew less expensive.1

06 February 2020

February 2020 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: the emerging coronavirus reins in the bulls on Wall Street, trade deals make headlines, the United Kingdom makes its Brexit, and confident U.S. households help the economy keep its pace.
February 2020 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Early January gains gave way to late January losses as the coronavirus emerged as a global health concern, and correspondingly, a concern for the investment markets. The S&P 500 ended up retreating 0.16% for the month. The coronavirus outbreak was just one of the big stories in January: President Trump signed one trade deal while Congress approved another, Brexit occurred, oil prices temporarily jumped as tensions between America and Iran heightened, and stocks hit record highs again.1

10 January 2020

January 2020 | Quarterly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this Q4 recap: Equities maintain their momentum to close out a strong year on Wall Street, helped by a slight thaw in the U.S.-China trade dispute and some better-than-expected domestic economic data.
January 2020 | Quarterly Economic Update

THE QUARTER IN BRIEF

Movement in U.S.-China trade negotiations, an accommodative Federal Reserve, evidence of decent economic growth – all this brought some fourth-quarter tailwinds to Wall Street. The S&P 500 advanced 8.53% in the final three months of the year. Foreign stock markets also posted Q4 gains, and some clarity emerged regarding the Brexit. Gold and oil both posted Q4 gains. Home buying tapered off. As the quarter ended, a new federal law was passed, affecting both retirement savers and retirees.

10 January 2020

December 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: stocks stay in rally mode, helped by hints that the U.S. and China may be closing in on a phase-one trade deal; hiring bounces back; key real estate indicators look stronger.
December 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

The S&P 500 rose 3.4% in November and attained a series of record closes in the process. Earnings results helped stocks, as did intermittent signals that the first stage of a U.S.-China trade agreement might be near at hand. Job creation improved, and consumer spending lived up to market expectations; consumer confidence and business activity, not so much. Housing indicators communicated good news, and the rally in stocks made the commodity sector look less attractive.

10 January 2020

November 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: another rate cut from the Federal Reserve, a strong hint of a partial U.S.-China trade deal, and stocks reach record heights again.
November 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Investors and traders found much to like in October. The S&P 500 gained 2.04% during the month, topping 3,000 again. The Federal Reserve made its third interest rate cut of the year. Word came that the U.S. and China could be headed toward the first phase of a new, bilateral trade agreement. The United Kingdom failed to meet its extended Brexit deadline, but the European Union granted it more time. While some fundamental U.S. economic indicators were underwhelming, Wall Street got a lift from the latest earnings season.

10 September 2019

September 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: stocks descend as traders respond to the devaluation of the Chinese yuan as well as new developments in the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks; the price of gold rises, and bond yields fall.
September 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

The stock market had a tumultuous August, reacting to the sudden devaluation of the Chinese yuan and the escalation of the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Ultimately, investors seemed more interested in risk aversion: the S&P 500 lost 1.81% for the month. Demand for bonds helped to send Treasury yields lower; prices of precious metals climbed. Away from the markets, monthly personal spending and retail sales gains were strong.

09 October 2019

October 2019 | Quarterly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this Q3 recap: the U.S. and China intensify their trade dispute, but agree to negotiate again, the Federal Reserve cuts short-term interest rates once more, and stocks ride through some volatility to end the summer higher.
October 2019 | Quarterly Economic Update

THE QUARTER IN BRIEF

Summer doldrums? Not exactly. The third quarter brought a number of attention-getting events, and while investors took some cues from them in the short term, Wall Street’s confidence remained – the S&P 500 rose 1.19% in Q3. The abrupt devaluation of the Chinese yuan shocked traders, and shifting Treasury yields also made headlines. Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China broke down, but as the quarter ended, it looked like they would resume in the fall. Manufacturing was giving mixed signals, both here and abroad, breeding concerns about the health of the global economy. Both the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank took steps to ease monetary policy.

07 August 2019

August 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: the Federal Reserve eases, stocks reach historic peaks, and face-to-face U.S.-China trade talks formally resume.
August 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

July was a positive month for stocks and a notable month for news impacting the financial markets. The S&P 500 topped the 3,000 level for the first time. The Federal Reserve cut the country’s benchmark interest rate. Consumer confidence remained strong. Trade representatives from China and the U.S. once again sat down at the negotiating table, as new data showed China’s economy lagging. In Europe, Brexit advocate Boris Johnson was elected as the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the European Central Bank indicated that it was open to using various options to stimulate economic activity.

09 July 2019

July 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: Stocks, gold, and oil all surge, a door opens for U.S.-China trade talks to resume, and the Federal Reserve suddenly sounds dovish.
July 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

You could say June was a month of highs. The S&P 500 hit another record peak, oil prices reached year-to-date highs, and gold became more valuable than it had been in six years. (There was also a notable low during the month: the yield of the 10-year Treasury fell below 2%.) Also, a door opened to further trade talks with China, and the latest monetary policy statement from the Federal Reserve hinted at the possibility of easing. For most investors, there was much to appreciate.

19 June 2019

June 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: major stock benchmarks descend as new developments in the U.S.-China tariff dispute lead to a broad risk-off in equities; consumer confidence surges, while the housing market cools.
June 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Hopes for a quick resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute faded in May as discussions broke down and rhetoric from both sides turned tough again. The disappointment lingered on Wall Street: the month saw losses for stocks. On Main Street, consumer confidence was strong and inflation tame. Mortgage rates reached year-to-date lows, but the latest data on home sales showed weak spring buying. The price of crude oil fell significantly, and so did the yield on the 10-year Treasury.

09 May 2019

May 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: the S&P 500 returns to record territory, key economic indicators show strength, oil continues its ascent, and existing home sales decline.
May 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Wall Street shifted its focus from trade to earnings in April. On that front, the news was good: through April 26, first-quarter results for S&P 500 firms had beaten expectations by 5.3%, a bit better than the historical average of 4.8%. A strong first-quarter gross domestic product reading and solid consumer spending and hiring numbers did much to quell worries about the economy slowing. Existing home sales retreated again; mortgage rates went north again. Oil prices rose. Bullish sentiment was palpable.1

01 April 2019

April 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: the Federal Reserve sees no rate hikes in 2019, investors watch Treasury yields with interest, hiring suddenly weakens, home sales pick up, and the price of oil tops $60.
April 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

The Federal Reserve altered its outlook on interest rates in March, and the stock and bond markets certainly took notice. Both the Fed and the European Central Bank communicated that they saw economic growth moderating. Even so, the S&P 500 managed to advance 1.79% for the month. Trade talks continued between the U.S. and China, but without much in the way of real developments. New reports revealed a sudden slowdown in hiring and only mild inflation. Existing home sales accelerated, crude oil gained value, and the Brexit saga took yet another turn.1

01 March 2019

March 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: domestic and foreign shares (and many commodities) advance, as two major investor anxieties ease for the moment.
March 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

You could say that Wall Street breathed a collective sigh of relief in February. Investors were encouraged by new developments in U.S.-China trade negotiations and by the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting. On Main Street, consumer confidence improved, while consumer spending kept pace. Home sales declined once more, but so did mortgage rates. Optimism about the potential of the markets seemed to outweigh pessimism about possible economic deceleration. The S&P 500 gained 2.97% for the month.1

01 February 2019

February 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: equities rally here and around the world, economic fundamentals look solid, the pace of home sales slows, and oil surges.
February 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

During a month marked by political impasses in the United States and United Kingdom, equities performed well around most of the world. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced 7.87% in January, with a new earnings season as well as trade and monetary policy developments providing tailwinds. Most of the economic data that rolled in was good; the partial federal government shutdown may have negatively impacted some of the numbers. Home sales fell off abruptly. Many commodities advanced. All in all, investors focused on the potential of the markets more than disputes.1

10 January 2019

January 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

Posted in Monthly Economic Update

In this month’s recap: equity and commodity markets experience major losses, the Fed sends a hawkish message, home sales improve, and the economy maintains its momentum.
January 2019 | Monthly Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

December 2018 will be remembered for its volatility and its challenges. The S&P 500 flirted with bear market territory, dropping 10.16% for the month. Appetite for risk declined here and abroad in the face of tariffs, concerns about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, a federal government shutdown, and questions about the Brexit. It was also a difficult month for commodities. In contrast, Main Street seemed in good shape: low unemployment, high consumer confidence, and strong consumer spending were all evident.

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