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Market Commentary: US Sees Robust Job Numbers; S&P 500 Closes Out Negative Quarter

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: US Sees Robust Job Numbers; S&P 500 Closes Out Negative Quarter

The U.S. economy has continued to create jobs. The establishment report, which measures jobs at known entities, added 431,000 new jobs last month. Economists expected 478,000 new jobs. The previous two months were revised higher by nearly 100,000, making up for the slight miss. Unemployment dipped to 3.6%, according to the household survey, which includes self-employed workers. The household survey indicated the labor force grew to 164.4 million, supporting the idea people are returning to the labor force.

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Market Commentary: Fed Officials Indicate Faster Pace, Steeper Hikes for Interest Rate Increases

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Fed Officials Indicate Faster Pace, Steeper Hikes for Interest Rate Increases

Initial jobless claims reached their lowest level since September 1969. Continuing claims fell to 1.35 million and reached their lowest level since 1970. The labor force was half as large then as it is today. Concerns about inflation, excess demand, and uncertainty about Russia’s attack on Ukraine have not stopped firms from keeping the workers they have on the payroll (Figure 1).

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Market Commentary: To Combat Inflation, Fed Plans 6 More Interest Rate Hikes, Surprising Investors

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: To Combat Inflation, Fed Plans 6 More Interest Rate Hikes, Surprising Investors

The Federal Reserve both met expectations and surprised investors at the same time last week. As expected, the Fed raised rates 0.25%, beginning to unwind the sharp rate reductions it implemented to protect the economy during the early stages of COVID-19. The surprise was the announced intention to raise rates six more times this year. Previously the Fed had indicated around three hikes was likely this year.

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Market Commentary: Fed Poised to Raise Rates this Week, Could Signal Future Increases

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Fed Poised to Raise Rates this Week, Could Signal Future Increases

Inflation continued to bound higher last month. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbed 0.8% last month and is 7.9% higher than one year ago. The big culprits were food and energy. Food prices leapt 1% last month and gasoline prices increased 6.6% as part of an increase in overall energy prices of 3.5%. Core CPI increased 0.5% as the big increases in food and energy are omitted from core inflation. Car prices, which have contributed to inflationary pressures, were flat last month. Increased rent costs, which are applied to homeowners as well, were a top contributor to inflation.

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Market Commentary: Risk of Expanded Russian Conflict Pushes Markets Lower; US Economy Adds 678,000 Jobs

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Risk of Expanded Russian Conflict Pushes Markets Lower; US Economy Adds 678,000 Jobs

Concerns the Russian invasion of Ukraine will draw more countries into the conflict raised risk and pushed global markets lower. Statements about nuclear forces going on alert and world leaders discussing a no-fly zone concerned investors.

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Market Commentary: U.S. Markets Rally But Face Uncertainty Amid Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: U.S. Markets Rally But Face Uncertainty Amid Russia-Ukraine Conflict

U.S. stocks rallied after Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday. The news that the initial sanctions wouldn’t target Russian energy exports to Europe reduced concerns about a European economic slowdown. While global markets declined last week, the U.S. finished higher even though the S&P 500 moved by more than 1% on all four trading days.

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Market Commentary: How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Could Impact Markets, and How Investors Should Respond

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Could Impact Markets, and How Investors Should Respond

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has pushed the S&P 500 into a deeper decline. Stocks had already fallen more than 10% in anticipation of the attack and concerns over inflation and higher interest rates. When the invasion proved to be on the aggressive end of expectations, markets initially fell even further.

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Market Commentary: Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Inflation Among Contributors to Market Volatility After Relatively Calm 2021

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Inflation Among Contributors to Market Volatility After Relatively Calm 2021

Market uncertainty on multiple fronts is making it tough for investors. Russia’s ambitions in Ukraine, inflation, and some upheaval in individual securities are making it more challenging to bear risk than last year. 2021 was relatively calm, with only 80% as many 1% daily moves in the market as normal, and many of those were upswings. Who doesn’t love a 1% jump?

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Market Commentary: Inflation, Potential Rate Hikes, Russia-Ukraine Tensions Weigh Heavily on Markets

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Inflation, Potential Rate Hikes, Russia-Ukraine Tensions Weigh Heavily on Markets

Inflation continues to move sharply higher. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.6% last month and is up 7.5% in the last 12 months. The annual gain is the highest since February 1982. Big gains in energy and food helped fuel the outsized price hikes. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.6% as well.

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Market Commentary: Data Revisions Show Surging Jobs Market, Though Nearly 11 Million Openings Remain

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Data Revisions Show Surging Jobs Market, Though Nearly 11 Million Openings Remain

 The U.S. jobs market provided most of the major economic news last week. The latest establishment survey estimated 467,000 jobs were added in January. Regular revisions in the most recent months added an additional 709,000 jobs. The job market appears stronger than expected.

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