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Economic Update

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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Monthly Economic Update 08/31/2018

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

Stocks enjoyed a record-setting month in August as several of the benchmark indexes reached new all-time highs during the month. Of the benchmark indexes listed here, only the Global Dow lost value. Otherwise, indexes representing large caps, small caps, and tech stocks all posted noteworthy monthly gains. A strong employment situation, positive economic growth, and relatively stagnant inflation have contributed to investor confidence, despite ongoing global trade wars. Tech stocks soared in August, as the Nasdaq jumped almost 6.0% — its strongest August showing in 18 years. Following the Nasdaq was the Russell 2000, which gained over 4.0%. The large caps of both the Dow and S&P 500 also posted notable gains.

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Monthly Economic Update 08/13/2018

The Markets (as of market close August 10, 2018)

Despite the continued strength shown in corporate earnings reports, investors reeled in their enthusiasm last week, sending the large caps of both the S&P 500 and the Dow plummeting. Ongoing tensions between China, Russia, and now Turkey seem to have dampened investors' confidence. Following new sanctions levied against Russia by the United States, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev threatened that Russia will consider U.S. sanctions a declaration of economic war. Meanwhile, U.S. threats against Turkey for refusing to release an American pastor added to Turkey's economic crisis as the lira fell 14% against the dollar. And China has warned of a protracted trade war if the United States continues to add tariffs on Chinese goods.

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Monthly Economic Update 07/16/2018

The Markets (as of market close July 13, 2018)

Stocks posted gains for the second week in a row following some good corporate earnings reports. Each of the indexes listed here improved, except for the small caps of the Russell 2000, which dipped less than a half a point. Year-to-date, only the Global Dow remains behind its 2017 closing value. For the week, the Dow climbed a solid 2.30%, followed by the Nasdaq, the S&P 500, and the Global Dow. The price of crude oil (WTI) dipped again last week, closing at $70.62 per barrel, down from the prior week's closing price of $73.92 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) fell to $1,241.30 by early Friday evening, down from the prior week's price of $1,255.90. The national average retail regular gasoline price climbed to $2.857 per gallon on July 9, 2018, $0.013 higher than the prior week's price and $0.560 higher than a year ago.

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Monthly Economic Update 05/29/2018

The Markets (as of market close May 25, 2018)

Domestic indexes rose last week despite sinking energy stocks and ongoing geopolitical uncertainties. Oil prices plunged, pulling energy shares down following indications that OPEC was planning to increase production. President Trump's cancellation of the summit with North Korea coincided with a sharp drop in stocks earlier in the week. Uncertainty over the course of trade negotiations between the United States and China may have added to a lukewarm response to equities from investors. In any case, the large caps of the S&P 500 and the Dow posted marginal gains. The Nasdaq recorded the largest weekly gains, while continuing to lead the year-to-date tally.

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Monthly Economic Update 04/30/2018

The Markets (as of market close April 30, 2018)

April was marked by the impending tariff war between the United States and China. Tensions between the world's two largest economies certainly affected stocks both home and abroad. Escalating strife in Syria posed an additional reason for investors to be concerned. However, surging energy stocks lifted the market as crude oil prices approached $70 per barrel for the first time in almost three years. Talks between North and South Korea also helped ease investor tensions. By the close of April, the dollar reached its highest level since January, while yields on 10-year Treasuries approached 3.0% for the first time since 2014 — signs that the world views U.S. economic growth as on the rise.

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