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Economic Update

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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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 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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