The following economic awareness entry is based on short-term events and therefore should not be taken as information towards making investment decisions, which are of a long-term nature. It is only meant to provide clarity regarding current economic events, as there is often a large degree of incorrect information dispersed through the media or other sources.
Once again, trade and corporate earnings were in the news last week. We learned that the U.S. is considering increasing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports. In response, China announced their own tariffs ranging from 5%-25% on $60 billion of U.S. products.
Corporate earnings season also continued, and so far, more than 78% of S&P 500 companies have beaten estimates. If the trend holds, the 2nd quarter will likely average more than 20% growth in earnings per share. Companies have also detailed positive perspectives for the rest of 2018, showing that this strong corporate performance should continue.
Of course, last week's trade and earnings weren't the only topics on investors' minds. We also received a number of data reports that shaped our understanding of the economy's health.
Key Findings from Last Week
- Consumers are earning and spending more.
The latest data for personal consumption and personal income revealed both measures increased by 0.4% in June. In addition, the report included revised data from 2013-2017, which indicated that people earned $1.05 trillion more during that time period than initially thought.
- Tariff concerns are affecting manufacturing.
The manufacturing sector continues to expand at a faster rate than in 2017, but the pace of growth slowed more than anticipated in July. Respondents to the ISM Manufacturing Index survey shared concerns about tariffs, steel and aluminum disruptions, and transportation challenges.
- The Federal Reserve is on track for a September rate hike.
The Fed didn't raise rates this month, but projections show a 93.6% chance that it will do so in September. The latest jobs report detailed steady wage increases, which helped ease Fed concerns about inflation.
This week is relatively light on economic data, but we will continue to analyze last week's reports and the remaining corporate earnings releases. If you have any questions about where the economy is today or what may lie ahead, we're here to talk.
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Consumer Price Index
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Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.
The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.
The S&P US Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index contains US- and foreign issued investment grade corporate bonds denominated in US dollars. The SPUSCIG launched on April 9, 2013. All information for an index prior to its launch date is back teased, based on the methodology that was in effect on the launch date. Back-tested performance, which is hypothetical and not actual performance, is subject to inherent limitations because it reflects application of an Index methodology and selection of index constituents in hindsight. No theoretical approach can take into account all of the factors in the markets in general and the impact of decisions that might have been made during the actual operation of an index. Actual returns may differ from, and be lower than, back tested returns.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.
The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
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