Broker Check



Week of October 26, 2015

Central Banks coaxed the equity markets higher yet again this week. Hints of more easing from the European Central Bank and a surprise rate cut by the Bank of China pushed stocks higher in the back half of the week. It also didn’t hurt that earnings reports from large technology companies beat expectations. The S&P 500 finished last week 2.1% higher, its fourth consecutive weekly gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.5%. And, the technology heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 3%.

Central Banks to the Rescue Again

A pair of central banks boosted equity markets this past week. First, the European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi, hinted that more stimulus could be coming when that central bank reexamines its current policy in December. The ECB is currently purchasing 60 billion Euros worth of bonds each month. This sent European equity markets to their highest point since August, and pushed yields on the German ten-year note below 50 basis points. The Euro also sank nearly 2% to $1.11 on the news. Then, on Friday the Central Bank of China announced a quarter-point cut in its benchmark interest rate as well as a 50 basis point reduction in reserve requirement ratios for banks. This was the sixth time since November 2014 that the Chinese central bank cut interest rates.

Existing Home Sales Surge

The National Association of Realtors recently announced that existing home sales rose 4.7% for the month of September to an annual rate of 5.5 million. The September figure puts us on pace for the best year for existing home sales since housing crisis. The increased activity appears to be driven by job growth, low rates, and pent up demand given years of low new household formations. However, the robust report did show some cracks. Primarily the reduction in the percentage of first time home buyers. First-time buyers represented just 29% of purchases in the month, down from 32% in August. A reduction in this source of new demand could foreshadow a slowdown in the coming months. This is largely the result of home prices rising faster than incomes. The median home price for September rose more than 6% year over year, compared to just 2% income growth.


Gas Drops to Six-Year Low

Gasoline futures have dipped 10% so far in October, capping off a collapse to a six-year low. The decline stems from further increases in supply. According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline inventories stood at 221 million barrels at the end of the first week of October. This is the highest level for this time of year since 1990. On top of the increased supply is the seasonal effect where refineries begin ramping production of heating oil, which produces gasoline as a byproduct. This is causing some forecasters to call for gasoline prices to fall below $2 per gallon this winter. However, domestic demand is expected to remain strong, which may keep prices elevated. The U.S. now uses more than nine million barrels of gasoline a day; the highest level for this time of year since 2009. WMC102615_chart2

Fun Story of the Week

For most people, completing a marathon is, in and of itself, a major accomplishment. However, Steve Bergstrom went above and beyond during this year’s Chicago marathon by finishing in less than four hours, and receiving twelve date requests in the process. The recently-single marketing professional decided to run the marathon shirtless with a simple message sharpied onto his back: SINGLE/on Facebook/Steve Bergstrom. The runner thought he would have a better time finding a suitable mate during the marathon since he spends hours a week training. Even in a world of social media and online banner ads, some of the best marketing can still be done with a little creativity and pen.

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Securities offered through Jacques Financial, LLC (JFLLC) a Broker-Dealer, Member FINRA and SIPC.Certain associates of Joseph W. Jacques, CPA, CFPTM are registered representatives of JFLLC. Joseph W. Jacques, CPA, CFPTM and JFLLC are affiliated. Investment advisory services are offered through Jacques Advisors, LLC an affiliate of JFLLC. Tax services are offered through Jacques & Associates Certified Public Accountants, LLC an affiliate of JFLLC.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial advisor.