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Prior Week Commentaries

Week of June 29, 2020

Stock markets in the United States and Europe retreated last week as the number of new COVID-19 cases increased steadily in America. On Thursday, there were more than 44,000 new cases, the highest daily total to date, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. Read More

Week of June 22, 2020

U.S. stock markets have marched higher despite a pandemic, an economic downturn, and social justice protests – and a lot of people have wondered why. Read More

Week of June 8, 2020

American stock markets responded enthusiastically to the news U.S. unemployment was 13.3 percent in May. If it seems inexplicable double-digit unemployment would thrill investors, there is a reason. The unemployment rate in April was higher at 14.7 percent, and analysts had forecast the rate in May would jump to 19.1 percent. Read More

Week of June 1, 2020

Are those green shoots? In economic terms, green shoots are signs of improvement. If you were paying close attention, you might have seen some in economic data released last week. Read More

Week of May 26, 2020

U.S. stock markets rallied last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and Nasdaq Composite all gained more than 3 percent, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. Read More

Week of May 18, 2020

America is reopening, state by state. That’s welcome news for many businesses, but we’re far from business as usual. Last week’s economic news included unemployment hitting an 80-year high, a record drop in retail sales (-16.4 percent), and an unprecedented decline in industrial production (-11.2 percent). Read More

Week of April 6, 2020

COVID-19 has changed our world in ways previously unimaginable. In many states, Americans shelter at home, venturing out for groceries, medicine, and other essentials. Parents have become teachers guiding online schoolwork, often while balancing their own work and online meetings. We are learning to manage the loneliness, frustration, and anxiety that accompany quarantine conditions. Read More

Week of March 23, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to spread across the United States last week. On Friday, March 13, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported there were 1,629 confirmed and presumptive cases and 41 deaths. Last Friday, March 20, the numbers had increased to 15,219 cases and 201 deaths. Read More

Week of March 2, 2020

Think back to 2018. During the last quarter of the year, major stock indices in the Unites States suffered double-digit losses, much of it during December. What happened next?. Read More

Week of February 24, 2020

The coronavirus appears to have inspired two distinct schools of thought among investors. Some investors currently favor opportunities that are considered lower risk, like Treasury bonds and gold, because they’re concerned about the potential impact of the coronavirus on the global economy. Read More

Week of February 17, 2020

Investors’ optimism in the face of economic headwinds has confounded some in the financial services industry. Laurence Fletcher and Jennifer Ablan of Financial Times cited several money managers who believe investors have become complacent. Read More

Week of February 10, 2020

Last week, major U.S. indices posted strong gains. That’s welcome news, but the drivers behind share price appreciation appear to have little to do with company fundamentals. Read More

Week of February 3, 2020

Precautions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus may also slow Chinese economic growth and, by extension, global economic growth. Read More

Week of January 27, 2020

Markets hunkered down last week. News of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China unsettled investors around the world. The respiratory infection is related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), reported WebMD. Read More

Week of January 13, 2020

Iran fired 22 ballistic missiles at the Ain Al Asad air base near western Iraq and a second base in northern Iraq following last week’s U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian military commander. Read More

Week of January 6, 2020

2019 was a remarkable year for investors with many asset classes delivering positive performance. Both the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, a gauge of U.S. stock market performance, and the Dow Jones Global (ex U.S.) Index delivered double-digit increases. Read More

Week of December 30, 2019

Investors may find themselves reluctant to ring out the old and ring in the new this week. During 2019, stock and bond markets delivered exceptional returns. Read More

Week of December 16, 2019

The Federal Reserve and European Central Bank both pledged to do what they could to underpin their respective economies. The United Kingdom gave Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party a landslide victory, virtually guaranteeing that the Brexit saga will end, finally. Read More

Week of December 2, 2019

Despite relatively strong retail sales, overall, major stock indices in the United States dipped on Friday for reasons unrelated to evolving business models in the retail industry. Read More

Week of November 25, 2019

Year-to-date, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite have all gained more than 20 percent with dividends reinvested. The MSCI World Index also is up 20 percent year-to-date. Read More

Week of November 18, 2019

The longest bull market in history showed no signs of slowing last week. Read More

Week of November 11, 2019

According to a source cited by Barron’s, U.S. stock markets are responsible for creating $6 trillion in paper wealth this year. ‘Paper’ wealth is when an asset is estimated to be worth a specific amount. The wealth becomes ‘real’ when the asset is sold. Read More

Week of November 4, 2019

The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates last week, as expected. There were no enthusiastic fans singing the Baby Shark song, but the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision was well received. Read More

Week of October 28, 2019

All three indices finished last week in positive territory. Lawrence Strauss of Barron’s reported signs that global markets are stabilizing supported investors’ optimism. Read More

Week of October 21, 2019

There was some positive news for investors who prioritize fundamentals. Third quarter’s earnings season – the period of time when companies let investors know how they performed during the previous quarter – got off to a strong start. Read More

Week of October 14, 2019

The world breathed a sigh of relief last week when the United States and China took a step toward a trade-war truce. Read More

Week of October 7, 2019

From trade wars to impeachment inquiries, investors had a lot to ponder during the third quarter. Toward the end of September, they appeared to become more cautious, although it’s difficult to say which issues weighed most heavily. Read More

Week of September 23, 2019

On Saturday, reports from U.S. trade representatives and China’s state-run news agency emphasized trade discussions were ‘constructive’ and ‘productive’ and would continue in October, reported The New York TimesRead More

Week of September 16, 2019

If you enjoy searching for Waldo, the visual nemesis in a red-striped sweater and cap, you may appreciate the quandary of central bankers in many wealthy nations. For almost a decade, they’ve been they’ve been trying to find inflation. Read More

Week of September 9, 2019

The U.S.-China trade war has had a significant impact on stock market performance during the past two years. Since the trade war began, U.S. stock markets have rallied when trade talks are announced and retreated when trade talks fail. Read More

Week of September 3, 2019

Last week finally brought some relief. It was the best week for major U.S. stock indices since June. Read More

Week of August 26, 2019

Last week’s stock market volatility was like a thunderstorm on a lake. Markets were doing well until the squall brewed up on Friday. Read More

Week of August 12, 2019

Investors boomeranged from stocks to safe havens and back as trade tensions between the United States and China intensified last week. Read More

Week of July 15, 2019

Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index set a new record, closing above 3,000 for the first time. Other major U.S. stock indices also finished at record highs, reported Barron’sRead More

Week of July 8, 2019

There was unexpected economic news last week. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced 224,000 new jobs were added in June, which was more than analysts had anticipated. The gains were offset a bit by reductions in April and May employment estimates. Read More

Week of July 1, 2019

After U.S. stocks dropped sharply during the last weeks of December 2018, investors were not optimistic about the future. Early in January 2019, the State Street Investor Confidence Index dropped to its lowest point since 2012, and the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Sentiment Survey showed just about 31.6 percent of investors as bullish. Read More

Week of June 24, 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee met last week (they decide whether the central bank of the United States should push rates higher or move them lower). It left rates unchanged, but indicated a willingness to lower rates in support of economic expansion. Read More

Week of June 10, 2019

Since the U.S.-China trade conflict resumed in early May, investors have been off balance. The possibility of escalating tariffs on Mexico heightened economic uncertainty. Read More

Week of June 3, 2019

Just two weeks ago, the U.S. government lifted tariffs on Mexico and Canada. So, it was a surprise last week when President Trump tweeted the United States would impose an escalating tariff on all goods imported from Mexico until the flow of migrants to the United States’ southern border stops. Read More

Week of May 28, 2019

During the past decade, the profitability of U.S. companies increased rapidly. Strong corporate earnings helped the U.S. stock market outperform markets in other nations by a significant margin. Read More

Week of May 20, 2019

There was some good news on trade, last week. The United States took steps to reduce trade friction with the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. Read More

Week of May 13, 2019

Major U.S. stock indices moved lower when trade talks between the United States and China broke down. The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones Industrial Index all finished the week down between 2 percent and 3 percent. Read More

Week of April 29, 2019

Economic growth in the United States was strong during the first quarter. The Bureau Of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, increased by 3.2 percent. Read More

Week of February 25, 2019

Investors were pleased with the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) new approach to its balance sheet. The Fed delivered its semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress last week. Read More

Week of February 18, 2019

The great mystery of stock markets reared its head last week. With no clear driver, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 3 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index moved higher by about 2.5 percent. Read More

Week of February 11, 2019

At its first policy meeting of 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve changed direction. After four rate increases in 2018, Chair Jerome Powell announced interest rates were on hold. Read More

Week of February 4, 2019

Last week, the Federal Reserve put itself on hold. The Federal Open Market Committee met on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, to discuss the state of the economy and determine policy. Read More

Week of January 28, 2019

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which has gotten off to its best start since 1987, ended the week with a slight loss, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite finished slightly higher, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’sRead More

Week of January 21, 2019

Investors seemed to be following the advice of Johnny Mercer’s song and accentuating the positive by focusing on solid U.S. economic data and continued positive signs the U.S. and China are moving toward a trade deal. Read More

Week of January 14, 2019

Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) was up 2.5 percent. If the Index finishes this month higher, then the January Barometer suggests it should finish the year in positive territory. Read More

Week of January 7, 2019

Investors will think of the last quarter of 2018 for years to come, but they won’t remember it fondly. Read More

Week of December 17, 2018

It never feels good when the stock market heads south, and that’s what happened last week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite all moved into correction territory, which means the indices have fallen 10 percent or more from their previous peaks. Read More

Week of December 10, 2018

December is usually the best month of the year for the stock market. It has been since 1950, according to Randall Forsyth of Barron’s, but not so far this year. Read More

Week of December 3, 2018

Recently, stocks have delivered a wild ride. During Thanksgiving week, U.S. stock markets took investor uncertainty on the chin, suffering a 3.8 percent drop, which was the worst performance in eight months. Read More

Week of November 26, 2018

The United States and China continued to spar over trade and other issues. An expert from Moody’s told Frank Tang of the South China Morning Post (SCMP) the United States-China dispute will not be easily resolved. Read More

Week of November 12, 2018

Some votes are still being counted but investors appear to be happy with the outcome of mid-term elections. Read More

Week of October 22, 2018

Strong economic growth and robust earnings helped U.S. stocks significantly outperform other regions of the world during the third quarter of 2018. Read More

Week of October 15, 2018

Like an unexpected gust of wind that blows the hat off your head or flips your umbrella inside out, last week’s stock market performance startled investors. Read More

Week of October 8, 2018

Last week offered some insight to economics and stock market behavior. The U.S. unemployment rate reached its lowest level since 1969 and wages moved higher, yet major U.S. stock indices lost value. Read More

Week of October 1, 2018

The Federal Reserve raised rates for the third time in 2018, as expected. In addition, the Federal Open Market Committee projects economic growth will continue for three more years, although its median numbers show growth slowing from 3.1 percent in 2018 to 1.8 percent in 2021. Read More

Week of September 24, 2018

A tech company introduced a microwave you can turn on using Wi-Fi – as long as you have one of the company’s voice assistants at home, reported Kaitlyn Tiffany of Vox. Soon, the voice assistants will be built with neural networks that will formulate hunches about whether their owners might like to be reminded to lock the door or turn off a device. Read More

Week of September 17, 2018

The September installment of University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey reported Americans are feeling pretty optimistic. Consumer sentiment rose to the second highest level since 2004, and consumer expectations reached the highest level since 2004. Read More

Week of September 10, 2018

Strong economic growth and rising wages have the potential to push inflation – increases in prices of everyday goods – higher than the Fed’s 2 percent target. The Fed battles inflation and promotes financial stability by raising the Fed funds rate. Read More

Week of September 4, 2018

Markets were fired up last week after the United States and Mexico agreed on new trade rules. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index reached an all-time high and finished the month of August up about 3 percent, reported Michael Sheetz, Thomas Franck, and Alexandra Gibbs of CNBC. Read More

Week of August 27, 2018

Not everybody loves meetings and even fewer enjoy reading the minutes, but investors make an exception with the Federal Reserve. This week the Fed published the minutes from its August 1 meeting. While no changes were made to interest rates, the minutes did provide insight to how the Fed sees the U.S. economy. Read More

Week of August 20, 2018

After a rocky start, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index came within 1 percent of an all-time high last week, reported Ben Levisohn for Barron’s. It’s significant because the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has been trading below its January record all year. Read More

Week of August 13, 2018

Let's talk Turkey! So, how did a country that represents just about 1.4 percent of the world’s economy spark a global selloff? Read More

Week of August 6, 2018

Last week, the White House proposed capital gains be adjusted or ‘indexed’ for inflation before they are taxed. Princeton Professor Alan Blinder explained the idea in The Wall Street JournalRead More

Week of July 30, 2018

Economic growth in the United States was strong during the second quarter. Gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, grew by 4.1 percent. That’s the fastest growth in four years, reported the BBCRead More

Week of July 23, 2018

The stock market had a rather boring week. The S&P 500 stayed in a tight range throughout the week and finished basically unchanged. Global stocks performed a little better as the MSCI ACWI inched 0.1% higher. The Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index dropped 0.3%. Read More

Week of July 16, 2018

Trade tensions escalated as the U.S. administration expanded tariffs on Chinese goods last week. You wouldn’t have known by watching the performance of benchmark indices, though. Just four of the 25 national stock market indices tracked by Barron’s – Australia, Italy, Spain, and Mexico – moved lower. Read More

Week of July 9, 2018

As the second quarter of 2018 began, investors were feeling less optimistic than usual. (About 36.6 percent were bearish and 31.9 percent bullish.) Their outlook was informed by a variety of factors. Read More

Week of July 2, 2018

The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Composite Index, which reflects the performance of all shares that trade on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, dropped into bear market territory last week, reported CNBC. The Index has fallen more than 20 percent from its previous high. It appears some investors saw an opportunity and bought the dip since the SSE Index bounced higher last Friday, gaining more than 2 percent. Read More

Week of June 25, 2018

The yield curve may be the pocket watch of economic indicators. It’s been around for a long time and it’s often right, but not always. Read More

Week of June 18, 2018

Last week opened with heightened trade tensions between the United States and its allies. It closed with the United States imposing new tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods. Read More

Week of June 11, 2018

Disagreements about trade were the reason for heightened tensions among world leaders. At the end of May, the United States extended tariffs on aluminum and steel imports to U.S. allies. Read More

Week of June 4, 2018

The two big news items last week were a strong U.S. jobs report and a political compromise in Italy that reduced the risk of a referendum on staying in the EU. Read More

Week of May 21, 2018

U.S. stock markets were relatively calm, although they finished the week lower. U.S. Treasury yields hit a 7-year high and finished the week above 3 percent. Read More

Week of May 14, 2018

During the past decade, the employment picture in the United States has shifted dramatically. In mid-2009, 15.4 million unemployed Americans were chasing 2.2 million available jobs. At the end of 2017, just 6.6 million Americans were unemployed, and employers were casting eagerly to fill 6.6 million open jobs, reports Barron’sRead More

Week of May 7, 2018

What do asset managers and researchers make of the current state of world economies and markets? A portfolio manager cited by Barron’s said, “…until proved otherwise, we remain in a long bull market, and there is an absence of indicators outside of the equity market itself (most notably in credit markets or financial conditions) to suggest this has ended.” Read More

Week of April 30, 2018

The Federal Reserve and the U.S. bond market appear to be in agreement about the direction of interest rates. For more years than anyone cares to count, investment professionals have been predicting the end of the bull market in bonds. Bond guru Bill Gross called the end of the bond bull in 2011 – and called it again in 2013. Read More

Week of April 2, 2018

During the first week of the first quarter of the New Year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 25,000 for the first time ever. Less than two weeks later, it closed above 26,000. The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index and NASDAQ Composite also reached new all-time highs. Read More

Week of March 26, 2018

A sharp selloff in the last part of the week caused the S&P 500 to post its worst weekly loss since early 2016. The S&P 500 dropped just less than 6%. The global MSCI ACWI slid 4.4%, and the Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index was basically unchanged. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is down 3.2%. Read More

Week of March 19, 2018

The Federal Reserve is expected to use a fairly strong economy and modest inflation to support raising rates at its meeting this week. The Fed remains focused on unwinding its policy of unnaturally low rates implemented during the 2008 financial crisis. Read More

Week of March 12, 2018

There is little doubt the Millennial generation has been reshaping our world. One of the most remarkable aspects of this demographic group is a preference for experiences over consumer goods. “Three out of four millennials would rather spend their money on an experience than buy something desirable. Read More

Week of March 5, 2018

Last week, global stock markets took a bit of a dip after President Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. Tariffs are taxes on goods imported from other countries. In general, governments impose tariffs to enhance revenue and/or protect domestic industries from competition abroad. Read More

Week of February 26, 2018

Last week, the U.S. Treasury auctioned $258 billion in bonds. Treasury auctions are the way the United States government finances its debt. The Treasury sells short-, intermediate-, and long-term IOUs, known as bills, notes, and bonds. When investors and governments purchase bonds, they agree to lend money to the United States. Read More

Week of February 20, 2018

Ever since the Federal Reserve began raising the Fed funds rate in 2015, analysts have been anticipating higher inflation. The fact that price increases remained relatively small was a perplexing mystery. Then, last week, inflation increased faster than expected. Read More

Week of February 12, 2018

After months of eerie calm, stock market volatility has returned. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) – a measure of how turbulent investors expect stock markets to be during the next 30 days – appeared to fall asleep in November 2016. Read More

Week of February 5, 2018

Last week, stock markets around the world lost value. In the United States, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), Dow Jones Industrial Index (Dow), and NASDAQ all finished lower. Read More

Week of January 29, 2018

Publicly-traded companies report their earnings and sales numbers for the previous quarter in the current quarter. Read More

Week of January 22, 2018

Last week, the United States government might as well have hung a sign on the front door of the Capitol that read, “Gone negotiating. We’ll be back in…however long it takes.” Read More

Week of January 8, 2018

U.S. stock markets delivered their own version of fireworks to celebrate the New Year. During the first week of 2018, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new all-time high, moving above 25,000 for the first time ever. The NASDAQ Composite and Standard & Poor’s 500 Indices also rose to new highs. Read More