General market news
- Rates dropped after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting last week. The 10-year Treasury yield dropped from 2.11 percent at the start of the week to below 2 percent after the meeting. On Monday, it opened at 2.02 percent. The 2-year and 30-year yields stand at 2.74 percent and 2.54 percent, respectively.
- The perceived dovish tone from the FOMC meeting was one of the main drivers in stocks last week. Although the committee left rates unchanged, investors flocked to riskier assets, as the word patient was removed from the stated approach to future potential rate cuts. Another driver of trade was news of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, with Iran claiming responsibility for shooting down an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday.
- The energy, technology, and industrials sectors were last week’s top performers. Oil drove the rally in energy. The strength in technology was supported by the launch of Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra, as well as strong operating numbers from Oracle and Adobe. Consumer staples, materials, and financials were underperformers.
- On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for May fell from 66 to 64, against expectations for a modest increase to 67. This unexpected decline was due to dropping sentiment in the northeastern and western regions, which was likely weather related. While this decline was disappointing, the index still sits well above lows seen in December and January, so there is no immediate cause for concern.
- On Tuesday, May’s housing starts and building permits reports were released. These results were mixed, with starts declining by 0.9 percent and permits increasing by 0.3 percent. Economists had forecast modest growth for both figures, but housing starts surged by 5.7 percent in April, so the pullback in May is understandable.
- The week ended with the release of May’s existing home sales figure on Friday. Existing home sales increased by 2.5 percent during the month, which beat expectations for 2.1 percent growth. Given the decline in home builder confidence during this same period, the growth in sales is very encouraging.
|MSCI Emerging Markets
|Fixed Income Index
|U.S. Broad Market
What to Look Forward To
Tuesday will see the release of May’s new home sales report. Economists expect sales to grow by 2.2 percent month-over-month, which would be in line with the growth in existing home sales we saw last month. If we do see this modest growth, it would bring new home sales to its second-highest level in the past 12 months, nearing postrecession highs.
Tuesday will also see the release of the Conference Board consumer confidence survey. It is expected to decline slightly from 134.1 to 131 in June. Despite this expected pullback, consumer confidence remains near multiyear highs, as a healthy job market and a rebound in U.S. equities supported confidence during the month.
On Wednesday, we will receive the first report for May’s durable goods orders. Headline orders are expected to decline by 0.2 percent, primarily driven by a decline in transportation orders. There is further downside risk here, as the impact from the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX could lead to even steeper declines in headline orders. Core orders, which strip out volatile transportation figures, are expected to show modest 0.2 percent growth.
On Friday, May’s personal income and personal spending reports are both set to be released. Income is expected to grow by 0.3 percent, while spending is set to increase by 0.5 percent. This would follow similar growth figures from April. Consumer spending is the backbone of the economy, so this continued steady growth in consumers’ ability and willingness to spend is very encouraging.
Finally, we finish the week with the second and final release of the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for June. It is expected to decline slightly from 97.9 to 97.7. Similar to the Conference Board measure of confidence, this index remains near postrecession highs, so this slight pullback is nothing to worry about.
Disclosures: Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. All indices are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment by the public. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The S&P 500 is based on the average performance of the 500 industrial stocks monitored by Standard & Poor’s. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures the performance of all issues listed in the Nasdaq Stock Market, except for rights, warrants, units, and convertible debentures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is computed by summing the prices of the stocks of 30 large companies and then dividing that total by an adjusted value, one which has been adjusted over the years to account for the effects of stock splits on the prices of the 30 companies. Dividends are reinvested to reflect the actual performance of the underlying securities. The MSCI EAFE Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure developed market equity performance, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a market capitalization-weighted index composed of companies representative of the market structure of 26 emerging market countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Basin. The Russell 2000® Index measures the performance of the 2,000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000® Index. The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted performance benchmark for investment-grade fixed-rate debt issues, including government, corporate, asset-backed, and mortgage-backed securities with maturities of at least one year. The U.S. Treasury Index is based on the auctions of U.S. Treasury bills, or on the U.S. Treasury’s daily yield curve. The Bloomberg Barclays US Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted index of 15- and 30-year fixed-rate securities backed by mortgage pools of the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), and balloon mortgages with fixed-rate coupons. The Bloomberg Barclays US Municipal Index includes investment-grade, tax-exempt, and fixed-rate bonds with long-term maturities (greater than 2 years) selected from issues larger than $50 million.
Rich Tegge is a financial advisor located at Wealth Strategy Group 300 S. Front Street Ste C, Marquette MI 49855. He offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. He can be reached at 906-228-3696 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authored by the Investment Research team at Commonwealth Financial Network. © 2018 Commonwealth Financial Network ®