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    Markets "In a Nutshell" for June 6, 2018

    Jun 06, 2018

    Investment Week at a Glance

    Stocks finished mixed for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.48%, the S&P 500 rose 0.49%, the New York Stock Exchange Composite (2,000 stocks) was down 0.11% and the average investors index (Value Line Index) was up 0.38%.  Foreign stocks (DJ Global ex U.S.) were down 0.81%.  Bond prices were higher for the week, pushing the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury down 3 basis point to finish the week at 2.90%.  (Data sources: Barron’s Financial, Wall Street Journal)

     

    Strong Jobs Market Helps Stocks Gain Ground

    Economic data out of the U.S. was mostly positive: Nonfarm payrolls, the ISM Manufacturing Index and initial jobless claims all came in ahead of expectations. One weak spot was a disappointing revised GDP growth rate for the first quarter of 2018.

    In contrast, international economic data disappointed—with Manufacturing PMI in France and industrial production in Japan coming in below expectations.

    In the U.S. equity market, technology stocks outperformed as investors shifted into growth-oriented assets. Real estate also outperformed following a spate of mergers and acquisitions announcements. Financials underperformed as interest rates softened.

    Internationally, emerging markets India and Indonesia outperformed as investors recognized accelerating economic growth in those countries. Europe was the worst performing region, as fears about Italy’s new socialist government and its disdain for the European Union spooked investors.

    In the fixed-income markets, long-duration bonds outperformed as interest rates fell. But emerging markets debt underperformed as investors continued to reduce risk in their fixed income portfolios.

     

    Italian Election Jitters

    The holiday-shortened week was a choppy one as Italian election jitters pressured European stocks early in the week. Volatility was heighted due in large part to fears that Italy could potentially exit from the euro currency—a move that would be disastrous for European banks and financial markets. Stocks ultimately rallied by the end of the week due to a strong jobs report and other generally positive U.S. economic data, as well as on news that the U.S./North Korea summit is back on after being canceled. Markets have been choppy for most of 2018 so far due to a combination of mixed economic data, earnings season and political uncertainty (especially following various tweets from the President).

    U.S. equity markets have taken the lead in terms of performance, with small-caps and growth stocks continuing to show strong fundamentals and positive upward momentum.

    The fixed-income markets were also choppy but ended the week close to where they started it. The bond yield tug-of-war continued to keep yield on the 10-year Treasury note trading in a narrow band. For example, the 10-year Treasury yield at one point fell toward the low end of its recent range as investors felt the economy and inflation might be softer than expected. But yields rose again on Friday following the better-than-expected jobs report, which caused many investors to predict the Fed would raise short-term interest rates at its next meeting later this month. We continue to favor corporate credits over Treasuries, while maintaining a shorter duration profile than the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index.

     

    Quiz:

    When did the current bull market begin?

    a)  March 9, 2009

    b)  December 15, 1989

    c)  October 20, 1987

    d)  June 14, 2016

     

    Have a good week!

     

     

     

     

    Answer to quiz:

    a)  March 9, 2009. This is the day the S&P 500 reached its low point of the last bear market, closing at 676.53.