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Economic updates

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

Economic Update for October 2018

Wall Street maintained its optimism in September. While trade worries were top of mind for economists and investors overseas, bulls largely shrugged at the prospect of tariffs and the probability of another interest rate hike. The S&P 500 rose 0.43% for the month. On the whole, U.S. economic indicators were quite good, and some offered pleasant surprises.1

Economic Update September 2018

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Wall Street had much to celebrate in August. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both reached historic heights, with the Nasdaq crossing two 1,000-point milestones in a calendar year for the first time since 1999. The current bull market became the longest on record. U.S. stock exchanges outperformed many others around the world, as imposed tariffs and currency troubles in the emerging markets gave overseas investors pause. Major commodities largely lost ground. U.S. economic indicators were again strong for the most part, aside from those in the housing sector.1

August 2018 Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

While investors kept tariffs and trade disputes in mind in August, a new earnings season provided Wall Street with a lift. Blue chips especially benefited: the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.71% for the month. Broadly speaking, strong corporate profits and domestic economic data gladdened the bulls, even as question marks about global commerce flashed.1

July 2018 Economic Update

In this month’s recap: tariff talk weighs on equities worldwide, oil prices jump 10%, and the Fed raises rates once more.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Economic Update June 2018

THE MONTH IN BRIEF
In May, investors were left to interpret mixed geopolitical and financial signals. The historic U.S.-North Korea summit was on, then off, then possibly on again. An apparent truce emerged in the U.S.-China tariffs battle, but it did not last. Oil rallied, but then prices fell. Federal Reserve policy meeting minutes indicated central bank officials would accept above-target inflation for a while. Other economic signals were clear: new and existing home sales were down, consumer confidence was back up, and consumer spending was strong. In the end, the markets took all this in stride – the S&P 500 rose 2.16% for the month.1

May 2018 Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

April saw the S&P 500 advance 0.27% as a new earnings season unfolded – one in which investors grew uneasy about rising Treasury yields, protectionism, and privacy concerns involving tech giants. While the financial media largely focused on those anxieties, good news also appeared. The latest consumer spending and consumer confidence data was solid. Home buying picked up as listings increased slightly. Oil rallied, and so did the dollar. Overseas equity benchmarks saw big gains, even as some economists wondered if the boom in global growth was fading. One of the major financial news stories of April broke only hours before the start of May: a postponement of the tariffs planned for imported metals.1

April 2018 Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF
In March, stocks faced another significant challenge. The Trump administration’s sudden plan to institute tariffs on imports sent a shudder through the bulls. All three major Wall Street benchmarks fell more than 2.5% during the month as investors around the world considered the prospect of trade wars involving American, Chinese, and European products. The Federal Reserve raised the target range for the federal funds rate by another quarter point; mortgage rates were little changed for the month, and existing home sales improved. In Europe, leaders agreed on how the Brexit would unfold. The value of bitcoin declined, while gasoline and oil futures rallied. All in all, it was an eventful and volatile month for the economy and the markets.1

March 2018 Economic Update

THE MONTH IN BRIEF
Investors certainly received a wake-up call in February. A correction hit Wall Street for the first time in nearly two years, and benchmarks overseas were also challenged. Two weeks later, though, the S&P 500 had gained back more than half of what it had lost in the dive. Prices of important commodities sank early in the month, but recoveries followed. While the latest readings on fundamental indicators were largely upbeat, reports on retail sales and home sales disappointed. As the Jerome Powell era began at the Federal Reserve, investors wondered if four rate hikes would occur this year rather than the three the central bank had envisioned, given inflation pressure.1

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