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.
Stocks rallied last week as optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal grew.
The renewed prospects for a trade pact were not the only development investors found appealing last week. There were indications that the Federal Reserve might be a bit less committed to its plans to raise interest rates further this year.
A Look at the Fed Minutes
There were no surprises from the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, who released the transcript from their January meeting on Tuesday. Investors pore over the meeting minutes looking for clues about the Fed's next move on short-term interest rates.
Fed policymakers appeared split on what's next. Some felt another rate hike was needed to help slow the strong economy, while others favored a "wait-and-see" approach.
Home Sales Slump
In January, existing home sales were at their slowest pace since November 2015, and down 8.5% year-over-year. One factor: rising home values. Last month, the median single-family home sale price was $247,500, almost $7,000 higher than a year ago.
Mortgage rates have now fallen for three consecutive weeks, a development that may influence home buying decisions in coming months. Thursday, a Freddie Mac survey found the average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan at just 4.35%.
The Dow Jones and Nasdaq have posted gains for nine straight weeks and are now at levels unseen since early November. Concerns over volatility have decreased, but that does not mean it is off the table. Whatever the market does in the coming weeks and months, remember your investing strategy should be based on your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: Fed chair Jerome Powell begins two days of testimony on monetary policy in the Senate.
Wednesday: The National Association of Realtors releases its latest pending home sales index.
Thursday: The federal government provides its first estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth.
Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, February 22, 2019 The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons, including the shutdown of the government agency or change at the private institution that handles the material.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: AutoZone (AZO), Home Depot (HD), Medpace (MEDP)
Wednesday: Apache (APA), Best Buy (BBY), Office Depot (ODP)
Thursday: Anheuser-Busch (BUD), Dell Technologies (DELL), Splunk (SPLK)
Source: Morningstar.com, February 22, 2019 Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
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 indices from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
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.
A 30-year fixed rate mortgage is a conventional home loan meeting the lending requirements of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but it is not a mortgage guaranteed or insured by any government agency. Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, is required for any conventional loan with less than a 20% down payment.
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