Market Commentary: The Markets: (as of close May 19, 2017)

A rally late last week pulled equities higher, but not enough to overcome a midweek tumble. Only the Global Dow posted a slight gain by last week’s end, as each of the other indexes listed here lost value. Possibly shaken by continuing controversy between Russia and the White House, investors appeared to move from equities to bonds, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries falling 9 basis points from the previous week while dropping over 20 points year-to-date.

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Market Commentary: The Markets: (As of Close May 12, 2017)

The Markets (as of market close May 12, 2017)

Lackluster economic data (weak price gains and import prices that are outpacing export prices), coupled with some not-so-strong quarterly corporate earnings reports, kept trading down last week. Only the Nasdaq posted weekly gains as each of the benchmark indexes listed here lost ground against their respective prior week’s values. The leading loser was the small-cap Russell 2000, which dropped over 1.0%. The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell slightly as prices crept higher. Despite last week’s marginal tailspin, each of the indexes listed here are still well ahead of their 2016 closing values.

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Market Commentary: The Markets: (As of Close May 5, 2017)

The Markets (as of market close May 5, 2017)

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq reached record highs last week as most of the benchmark indexes listed here posted solid gains. Only the Russell 2000 ended last week in negative territory, falling almost a quarter of a point. While the economic news last week was mixed, a strong labor report was apparently enough to offset stagnant price and wage gains in April. While the Fed didn’t see enough economic growth to raise interest rates, the Committee expects the economy to continue to strengthen over time. Prices fell for 10-year Treasuries, pushing yields higher. Overall, equities performed fairly well, despite falling oil prices and the petition of Puerto Rico for federal relief from its $51 billion debt, which would be the largest restructuring of municipal debt in U.S. history. Continue reading

The Markets (as of Close April 28, 2017)

The Markets (as of market close April 28, 2017)

Tech-heavy Nasdaq reached 6000 for the first time in its history last Tuesday. The small-cap Russell 2000, which surged for much of 2016 but fell back earlier this year, rebounded over the past few weeks, attaining a record high of 1419.43 by midweek. Better-than-expected quarterly corporate earnings reports, a sign of sustained strength for many large companies, have pushed stocks higher. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted notable gains last week, led by the Global Dow, which rose over 2.50%, followed by Nasdaq’s 2.32% climb. Long-term bond yields increased on news of proposed tax cuts. Continue reading

Market Commentary: The Markets (as of Close April 21, 2017)

Better-than-expected earnings reports for the first quarter helped push stocks higher last week. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted gains, some for the first time in several weeks. The small-cap Russell 2000, which had fallen below its end-of-year closing value, jumped 2.57% for the week and is now over 1.50% ahead of last year’s closing value. Gains in the industrial sector were reflected in an almost 1.0% advance in the S&P 500, while the Nasdaq increased nearly 2.0% for the week. On the other hand, energy companies didn’t fare as well, as oil fell below $50 per barrel. Continue reading

Market Commentary: The Markets (as of close April 14, 2017)

With the United States and many global markets closed for Good Friday, stocks ended the short trading week lower. Trading volumes were low for much of the week, as investors may be concerned with rising tensions overseas in Syria and North Korea, and the continuation of strained diplomatic relations with Russia. Of the indexes listed here, only the Dow’s losses were under 1.0%. On the other hand, the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq suffered the largest dips, falling 1.42% and 1.24% respectively. Continue reading

The Markets (as of market close April 7, 2017)

Stocks gave back the prior week’s gains as each of the indexes listed here lost value by last Friday’s market close. The small-cap Russell 2000, which had gained over 2.0% the prior week, fell over 1.5% and is once again in danger of falling below its year-end closing value. Energy stocks rallied midweek, riding the increase in oil prices. However, that surge wasn’t enough to keep the large-cap Dow from falling back a bit. The labor report, while positive, came in well below expectations, which may have dampened investor enthusiasm by the close of the markets last Friday. Continue reading

The Markets (as of market close March 31, 2017)

Stocks rebounded last week as each of the indexes listed here posted week-over-week gains. The small-cap Russell 2000, the strongest-performing index last year, hit a rough patch over the past several weeks. But the index gained over 2.30% last week, pushing it up 2.12% year-to-date. Tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed about 1.40% after falling 1.20% the prior week. The Dow recouped some of its losses from the previous week after gaining a little over 0.30%. Of the indexes listed here, Nasdaq leads the way, having gained almost 10.0% year-to-date and about 1.50% for the month.

The price of crude oil (WTI) rose last week, closing at $50.85 per barrel, up from the prior week’s closing price of $48.14 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) continued to climb, closing at $1,250.60 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week’s price of $1,246.40. The national average retail regular gasoline price decreased to $2.315 per gallon on March 27, 2017, $0.006 less than the prior week’s price but $0.249 more than a year ago. Continue reading

The Markets (as of market close March 24, 2017)

Uncertainty over whether Congress would pass a new health-care law, coupled with the prospects of additional interest rate hikes later in the year, may have weighed on investors’ minds as stocks tumbled early last week. The S&P 500 lost over 1.0% last week for the first time this year. By the end of last week, each of the indexes listed here posted notable losses, with the small-cap Russell 2000 falling over 2.50% for the week putting it in negative territory year-to-date. Late last Friday, the proposed American Health Care Act was pulled from consideration for lack of support, leaving the current Affordable Care Act in place for the foreseeable future. What impact, if any, this action will have on trading next week remains to be seen. Investors are likely to be watching the last GDP report of the fourth quarter to get a better fix on the economy. Continue reading

The Markets (as of market close March 17, 2017)

Following the Fed’s announcement that it was raising the target range for the federal funds rate 25 basis points, investors favored government bonds and dividend-paying stocks last week. As a result, the yield on 10-year Treasuries fell 7 basis points as prices climbed with increased demand. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted gains over their prior week’s closing values. The small-cap Russell 2000 and Global Dow led the way, followed by the Nasdaq. Continue reading