Market Commentary

Quarterly Update: A Review of the First Quarter of 2017

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April 13, 2017 Quarter in Brief In the first quarter, the market rally that began in the previous quarter continued with the Dow Jones Industrial Average topping 20,000 for the first time. In response to accelerating economic conditions and signs of strengthening inflation pressure, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by an additional quarter of a point. Consumer confidence is high and new home sales improved while sales of existing homes have slowed. Domestic Economic Health Demand for factory orders and services expanded nicely during the first quarter…

Quarterly Update: A Review of 4Q 2016

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January 12, 2017 Quarter in Brief In the fourth quarter, two major events influenced the financial markets, however, neither upset investors. The election of Donald Trump led to a Wall Street rally and the December interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve was taken in stride. The S&P finished the quarter up 3.25% and on the whole the most-watched U.S. economic indicators were encouraging. Domestic Economic Health The Federal Reserve announced its second quarter point rate hike in two years on December 14th. The forecast for 2017 shows three planned…

Holiday Wrap Up 2016

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A look back at 2016 thus far Presented by UPAL November 29, 2016 The year in brief. Investors will likely remember 2016 as a year of two momentous votes and one monetary policy decision. This year brought the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and a surprise presidential election victory for Donald Trump, and it now appears probable that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December. As Thanksgiving week began, the S&P 500 sat comfortably near 2,200, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average pushed toward breaking 19,000. Some…

Third Quarter 2016 Market Commentary

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Date: October 28, 2016 QUARTER IN BRIEF The economy seemed to hit a soft patch this summer, but stocks carried forward with the S&P 500 advancing for the fourth straight quarter in Q3, rising 3.31%. In spite of two major banking scandals, multiple terror attacks and an especially contentious presidential race, markets were noticeably calm for much of the quarter. For the year, the markets have produced decent returns in spite of these distractions. The Federal Reserve emerged from its September meeting with strong signals for a rate hike before…

Second Quarter 2016 Market Commentary

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THE QUARTER IN BRIEF The first half of 2016 repeated the same pattern as 2015 and 2014 with a poor performing first quarter followed by a stronger performing second quarter. During the second quarter, economic indicators showed improvements in consumer spending, retail sales, and manufacturing.  The pace of hiring declined in May and the rate of growth in the housing sector showed moderation. DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH In general, the domestic economy showed signs of health causing the Federal Reserve Chair to comment about a potential rate hike in the coming…

First Quarter 2016 Market Commentary

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Date: 4/18/2016  THE QUARTER IN BRIEF In investing, patience is often a virtue. For an illustration of why it matters, simply look at the opening quarter of 2016. Stocks plunged in January and fell further in early February, and a bear market seemed a possibility. Then, Wall Street turned around. The Dow staged its greatest quarterly comeback in 83 years, rising more than 7% in March alone and ending March slightly positive YTD. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each gained more than 6.5% in March. It was a quarter…

Fourth Quarter 2015 Market Commentary

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Unfulfilled Expectations The equities markets ended with a whimper for 2015 and marked it as a year of unfulfilled expectations. While the forecast for 2015 was for significant market volatility, economists are still predicting continued opportunity for positive returns on equity investments. These forecasts were grounded in the belief of continuing improvement in the fundamentals of the US economy, the continuation of the quantitative easing in developed international markets, especially in Europe, and the hope for a recovery in commodities, primarily in the energy sector. As we now know, in…

Third Quarter 2015 Market Commentary

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Third Quarter Market Commentary Summer was a Bummer!   At least this was true from an investor perspective!  A quarter like this one hasn’t been experienced since 2011. All three  equity indexes finished in negative territory with the Nasdaq Index down -7.4%, the Dow Industrials Index off -7.6% and the S&P 500 Index  finishing -6.9%. As forecast in our commentary for the 2nd quarter, volatility remained rampant. During the quarter the VIX Index, a forward-looking representation of what sort of volatility the markets expect in the short-term, ranged from 15…

Second Quarter 2015 Market Commentary

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Second Quarter In the later part of 2014 and in early 2015, reference was frequently made to Wall Street being ahead of Main Street. This meaning that U.S. companies were showing strong fundamental statistics to support the continuing climb in stock values while activity on “Main Street” was not consistent with this show of market strength. In 2Q2015, evidence of strengthening on Main Street started to surface.  Indicators such as Consumer Confidence, Average Wages, Unemployment, and Job Growth all showed improvement.  The predicted volatility of the market acted to camouflage…

First Quarter 2015 Market Commentary

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Even with the headwinds of volatility, why is the U.S. economy doing reasonably well at this point? One of the principal factors is continuing improvements in the labor markets in both employment and wages. We’ve seen some of the best growth for job creation, especially when one adjusts for the slowdown in the workforce population. So, on a demographic-adjusted basis probably the best job creation we’ve seen in the last 10-15 years. This is starting to really help the outlook for the U.S. consumer. With wages going up somewhat and…