August 2017 Economic Update

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.54% in July as earnings announcements and fundamental indicators provided a lift for the blue chips and other stock market indices. Hiring and manufacturing data was particularly reassuring. Annualized inflation declined once more. Oil, gold, and other marquee commodities advanced and so did many Asia-Pacific stock benchmarks. In the real estate market, home buyers coped with slim supply and high median prices as mortgage rates crept up. Wall Street had another calm month and that suited the bulls.1

2nd Quarter 2017 Investment Letter

The markets and the economy extended their growth trajectories from the first quarter into the second quarter of 2017.  The S&P 500 returned 3.1% for the quarter, bringing the year-to-date gain up to 9.3%.   The biggest news for the past three months was how quiet the financial markets were, with measures of volatility at their lowest levels in many years.

Will You Be Prepared When the Market Cools Off?

Markets have cycles, and at some point, the  major indices will descend.

We have seen a tremendous rally on Wall Street, nearly nine months long, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones Industrial Average repeatedly settling at all-time peaks. Investors are delighted by what they have witnessed. Have they become irrationally exuberant?

July Economic Update

June brought some definite headwinds to Wall Street, but the broad stock market still advanced. The S&P 500 added 0.48% across the month, even with tech shares selling off. As anticipated, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by another quarter point. Last month was a trying one for European stocks as well as oil and many other commodities. The latest round of U.S. economic indicators contained some disappointments; though, manufacturing and home sales surprised to the upside. All in all, increased volatility, terrorist incidents, and political happenings did not have much of an effect on investor confidence.1

Having the Money Talk with Your Children

Some young adults manage to acquire a fair amount of financial literacy. In the classroom or the workplace, they learn a great deal about financial principles. Others lack such knowledge and learn money lessons by paying, to reference William Blake, “the price of experience.”

June Economic Update

May was another good month for stocks. The S&P 500 gained more than 1%, putting its YTD advance above 7.7%. While the housing market showed some spring weakness, hiring bounced back and most other important economic indicators did not falter. Wall Street seemed little troubled by politics, terrorist incidents, data disappointments, or earnings misses. Overseas, stock benchmarks largely advanced, some impressively. Gasoline futures ascended; mortgage rates descended. Both investors and consumers seemed firmly confident.1

What You Need To Know About The New Fiduciary Rule

Why is Working With a "Fiduciary" So Important?
As an investor, you may assume that your investment professional only makes recommendations that are in your best interest, right? Believe it or not, this isn't always the case....unless your advisor is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), like Steward Advisors, they may not be legally bound to act as fiduciaries.  Lately there has been a lot of conversation about the new Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule. So, what is this new rule and why is it so important to retirees?

May Economic Update

In April, investors kept one eye on impressive corporate earnings and another on geopolitical developments in Asia and Europe. Earnings ultimately drew the most attention – the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 1% for the month, while the Nasdaq Composite added more than 2%. The latest readings on some key economic indicators were disappointing, but consumer confidence and purchasing manager indices looked good. Positive economic news filtered in from both China and the eurozone. Home sales were up; mortgage rates down. Commodity futures largely struggled. All in all, the month featured more economic positives than negatives.1

1st Quarter Investment Letter

The markets and the economy got off to a solid start for the first quarter of 2017.  The S&P 500 returned 6.1% for the quarter, it’s strongest quarterly performance since Q4 2015.  While the overall market picture is positive, the markets have a very different complexion than we saw in 2016.

April Economic Update

Stocks went sideways rather than north in March, with the S&P 500 losing just 0.04%. The Federal Reserve made another quarter-point interest rate move, and overseas, the United Kingdom initiated Brexit proceedings. While new data showed weak consumer spending, consumer optimism remained high and hiring was once again strong. A subpar month for commodities did bring major gains for two energy futures. In the housing market, existing home sales decelerated, while new home sales picked up. A little volatility did not upset the primarily bullish outlook on Wall Street.1

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