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Economic Update

Monthly Economic Update: 3/18/19

The Markets (as of market close March 15, 2019)

Tech shares were bullish last week, leading the way for what turned out to be a very strong performance in the market. The tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed each of the other benchmark indexes listed here, and leads in overall year-to-date performance. Bond yields sank to their lowest level since January as prices soared on weak inflation reports (bond yields fall as bond prices rise). Signs that global and domestic economic growth may be slowing, coupled with lagging inflation, may be giving investors confidence that U.S. and foreign central banks will temper a push to increase interest rates.

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Market Month: February 2019

The Markets (as of market close February 28, 2019)

Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted positive monthly gains, led by the Russell 2000, which lapped the field after gaining over 5.0% for the month. The small-cap index is almost 17.0% ahead of its 2018 closing value. Signs that a trade accord with China may be in the offing helped stimulate investors to trade throughout February. Also, word from the Federal Reserve that it may not raise the target interest rate range as aggressively as proposed last year has had a positive impact on stocks. Corporate earnings season continued on a relatively positive trend, while energy stocks rebounded as oil production was curbed, sending gas prices at the pumps higher. Overall, following the Russell 2000, the Dow posted the next highest monthly gain ahead of the Nasdaq, S&P 500, and the Global Dow.

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Monthly Economic Update 2/4/19

The Markets (as of market close February 1, 2019)

The benchmark indexes listed here rose for the week, particularly last Wednesday and Thursday. Strong corporate earnings reports, especially in the communication services sector, helped push stock prices higher. However, the biggest boost to the market may have come following the Federal Reserve’s meeting last Wednesday. The Fed decided to keep interest rates at their current spread and removed any reference to future rate increases. For the year, the small caps of the Russell 2000 lead the way, followed by the Nasdaq, the S&P 500, the Global Dow, and the Dow.

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Monthly Economic Update 1/31/19

The Markets (as of market close January 31, 2019)

Investors celebrated a month in which several indexes posted their best January performance in three decades. A strong labor market, low inflation, and a more “patient” Federal Reserve Board all sent encouraging messages to investors who were hungry for good news after last December’s precipitous plunge. The Russell 2000 led the charge, closing the month more than 11% higher than its 2018 close, followed by a nearly 10% gain in the Nasdaq, while the S&P 500, Dow, and Global Dow all topped 7%.

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Monthly Economic Update 1/22/19

The Markets (as of market close January 18, 2019)

Rhetoric that trade tensions between the United States and China may be easing helped quell investors’ concerns, prompting a stock market rally last week. The large caps of the S&P 500 and the Dow led the
way, followed by the Nasdaq, the Russell 2000, and the Global Dow. This marks the fourth consecutive
week of positive returns, the longest such streak since last August. For the month (and year), each of the benchmark indexes listed here are well ahead of their 2018 closing values. The small-cap Russell 2000 is nearly 10.0% above its 2018 closing value, while the Nasdaq is ahead by almost 8.0% since the end of December.

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Monthly Economic Update 11/05/18

The Markets (as of market close November 2, 2018)

Stocks posted a solid week of returns for the first time in several weeks, pulling all but one of the major benchmark indexes listed here into positive territory for the year to date. A strong labor report helped push stocks higher at the end of last week, while somewhat positive tweets from President Trump following discussions with Chinese president Xi also helped quell investors’ concerns over the ongoing tariff war.
Small caps fared the best last week, led by the Russell 2000. Global stocks also reversed course as the Global Dow climbed over 3.0%. The Nasdaq, S&P 500, and the Dow each posted strong returns by last week’s end. Not surprisingly, long-term bond prices fell, driving yields higher.

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Monthly Economic Update 10/31/18

The Markets (as of market close October 31, 2018)

October truly was a scary month as stocks closed the month well below their end-of-September values. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost over 9.0% by the end of October, while the small caps of the Russell 2000 fared even worse, losing almost 11.0%. The S&P 500 fell close to 7.0% — its largest monthly decline in over seven years. The Dow dropped 5.0%, and the Global Dow sank over 7.0%. A slide in internet stocks, coupled with investor concerns that global economic growth is slowing, helped amp up volatility during October. Yields on long-term bonds rose as prices fell, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries climbing about 8 basis points on the last day of the month.

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Monthly Economic Update 10/08/18

The Markets (as of market close October 5, 2018)

Another tough week on Wall Street as stocks and long-term bond prices fell, pushing yields higher. While each of the benchmark indexes listed here lost value last week, the large caps of the Dow and S&P 500 held up better than the tech stocks of the Nasdaq and the small-cap Russell 2000. With the continuing rise in oil prices, energy stocks and utilities fared well as did financial shares, which benefitted from a spike in interest long-term rates. On the other hand, tech stocks fell, dropping the Nasdaq to its worst week since early spring. Economic news continues to be somewhat encouraging, making another Fed interest rate hike likely. Speaking of interest rates, they’ve been on the rise, pushing long-term bond prices lower and yields higher.

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Quarterly Market Review July-September 2018

The Markets (as of market close September 28, 2018)

The third quarter proved to be very strong for domestic stocks. July saw the major benchmark indexes listed here enjoy robust gains, led by the large caps of the Dow and S&P 500. Global stocks also rebounded in July, with the Global Dow surging 3.76% by the end of July. Favorable economic indicators and encouraging corporate earnings reports were enough to quell investor concerns over the continuing saga that is the back-and-forth trade tariffs between the United States and China.

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Monthly Economic Update 09/07/2018

The Markets (as of market close September 7, 2018)

Apparently a strong labor report, which included increasing wages, wasn’t enough to quell investors’ fears as stocks plummeted last week. President Trump’s threat to raise tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese imports heightened trade war rhetoric and frightened investors. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here felt the heat, particularly the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which sank over 2.50%. The small caps and energy stocks of the Russell 2000 were also hit hard, as was the Global Dow. The S&P 500 dropped over 1.0%. Only the Dow managed to weather the storm, falling a comparatively slight 0.19%. The favorable employment report may be seen as a sign of rising interest rates as demand for long-term bonds increased, sending prices lower and yields up (bond prices move in the opposite direction from bond yields).

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