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Economic updates

September 2019 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.

Economic Update August 2019

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

July 2019 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.

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.1  

June 2019 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.

Economic Update May 2019

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.

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

April 2019 Economic Update

April 2019: 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.  

March 2019 Economic Update

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

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

February 2019 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.

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

January 2019 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.

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.1

 

Economic Update November 2018

In this month’s recap: another correction hits Wall Street, housing indicators raise questions, but consumer confidence, consumer spending, and GDP look healthy.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

October certainly lived up to its reputation for volatility. The S&P 500 suffered its second correction of the year as investors wondered if they were seeing early signs of the peak of the current business cycle, absorbing news of moderating corporate earnings, while also considering the potential impact of higher interest rates and tariffs. Real estate indicators, for the most part, left much to be desired; labor, manufacturing, and consumer spending and confidence indicators were in better shape. Overseas, major and minor reductions in economic growth were forecast for various nations. In the commodities sector, oil and gasoline posted major losses.1

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