Macro Overview

Equity markets defied the historically negative month of October with equity indices moving higher despite ongoing trade dispute uncertainty and growing concerns of global economic headwinds. Major domestic and international equity indices rose in sync as interest rates remained low worldwide, driving assets into stocks. Monetary policy that prompted rate cuts by central banks around the world are expected to …

Bond Yields Stabilize – Fixed Income Overview

The Federal Reserve injected additional amounts of funds into the overnight lending markets, also known as the repo market, in October. The move served to dampen concerns that a repeat of volatility that hit markets in December 2018 would occur again. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the third time this year but signaled that it would not cut …

What Prices Have Changed The Most – Consumer Markets

Government agencies compile and track prices on a multitude of products from various sources. Dramatic price swings help economists determine who may be influenced and how the overall economy may be affected. Price changes on certain products tend to affect a larger portion of the population more so than other products. Over the past year, the cost of health insurance …

Social Security Payments Increasing By 1.6% – Retirement Planning (chart)

Social Security recipients are due to receive a modest increase in benefit payments payable in 2020. But for many recipients, the increase in payments will go towards higher Medicare costs. The increase will affect over 63 million Americans receiving Social Security benefit payments. The Social Security Administration announced a 1.6% increase in benefit payments effective in late December 2019 for …

Japanese Exports Fall (chart)

One of the world’s biggest exporters, Japan, released data that showed a drop in its exports for the 10th consecutive month. Japanese exports include optical lenses, ships, automobiles, and  high-end machinery. Two major buyers of Japanese products, China and the United States, saw a decline in demand for Japan’s exports.  Data from the Japanese Ministry of Finance revealed a fall …

Tax Actions To Consider As The Year End Approaches – Tax Planning

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act passed in 2017, brought about various tax changes that affected most individual tax payers. Following are various changes to consider as we reach the end of the year. Withholdings & Estimates Withholdings and estimated taxes should be verified before year end, as the IRS withholding tables have been unclear since the tax law changes. …

Stock Indices Move Higher In October – Global Equity Review

Both domestic and international equity markets advanced in October, lodging new highs for various indices. The S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Index both closed at record levels as of November 1st. Developed and emerging market indices propelled higher in October buoyed by a continued low rate environment and a weaker dollar.  Volatility, as measured by the CBOE, (Chicago Board …

Equity Markets Advance In The 3rd Quarter – Domestic Equity Update

Despite ongoing trade tensions and concerns about a slowing economy, U.S. equities excelled in the third quarter, with technology, consumer staples, and utilities as the leading sectors for the S&P 500 Index. The energy and health care sectors were the under performers relative to the other 9 sectors. Equity markets are reacting more sensitively to economic indicators, such as unemployment, …

Baby Boomers Working Past Retirement – Demographics

This year, the youngest baby boomers are now 55 and the oldest are 73, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As more baby boomers reach retirement, good health and financial obligations are driving more to work longer or find a new job. As baby boomers retire, some are finding it necessary to return to work even in their retirement …

Countries With Highest & Lowest Import Tariffs – International Trade Policy

Some countries impose import duties, also known as tariffs, on certain imports for various reasons. Import duties on products that may hinder or compete with an industry or product produced in that country may have tariffs imposed in order to limit imports that may have negative consequences. Imports brought into a country at below market prices may be considered dumping, …

Inflation Picks Up – Consumer Trends

A measure of inflation as gauged by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) accelerated by more than forecast over the past year. The CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 2.4% from a year earlier as reported by the Department of Labor. These statistics are tracked by the Labor Department since they affect all U.S. workers throughout the country. The latest …

Federal Deficit Projections Top $1 Trillion – Fiscal Policy Review

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) establishes budget forecasts based on various factors that are constantly changing. Among the factors are fiscal policy, economic projections, as well as trade policy initiatives.  Projections are revised on a regular basis by the CBO and may change or be modified contingent on fiscal policy and government outlays such as Social Security and health care …

Stretch IRA Rules May Change – Retirement Planning

Rules surrounding the distribution of funds from an Inherited IRA may change due to new rules being imposed. Those most affected by the new rules are retirees with generous IRA balances intending to leave funds to their children and grandchildren. Known also as Stretch IRAs, which have allowed IRA beneficiaries to stretch distributions and taxes over an extended period of …

Macro Economic Overview – October 2019

A proposed tariff increase on goods imported from China was delayed from October 1st to October 15th. Tariffs on a number of Chinese goods are scheduled to increase to 30 percent from 25 percent effective on the 15th. U.S. equity markets marked their best third quarter since 1997, recapturing gains that were lost in the final quarter of 2018. The …

Rates Edge Up Slightly In September – Fixed Income Overview

Bond yields edged higher in September, rebounding from the lows reached in August. The 10- year Treasury bond yield rose from 1.47% at the beginning of September to 1.68% at the end of the month. The rise in yields affected loan rates as they had just reached lows in August not seen in years. Additional rate cuts in Europe by …

Argentine Politics Lead To Market / Bond Sell Off – International Finance

A presidential election in Argentina has led to a sell off in the country’s bonds and currency, as fears were stoked that a populist ruling government would negate billions of dollars owed on government debt by foreign holders. Argentina announced in late August that it would begin the process of reorganizing its government debt, meaning that the country was technically …

China No Longer Biggest Trade Partner With U.S. – International Trade

The United States maintains a favorable trading relationship with many countries all over the world, yet only a handful encompass the bulk of all trading activity. For years, Mexico, China and Canada have been the top three trading partners with the United States, sending imports and exports across borders made up of all types of products and materials. Trade treaties …

U.S. Recessions – Historical Note

Historians and economists claim that there have been 47 recessions in the United States dating back to the Articles of Confederation, which was ratified in 1781. The duration and intensity of each recession has been unique, with various factors affecting economic conditions contingent on current circumstances. Ironically, the recession during the early 80s from 1980 through 1982 was driven by …

U.S. Treasuries Remain Attractive – Global Fixed Income Overview

Even as the 10-year Treasury yield fell below 1.5% in August, it is still offering a more attractive yield than most other developed country government bonds. Yields for 10-year government bonds in Germany and Japan yielded -0.69% and -0.27% respectively. Such negative yields mean that investors are basically paying the governments of Germany and Japan to hold on to their …

Volatile Month For Stocks – Equity Overview

Despite the volatility in August, all eleven sectors of the S&P 500 were still positive YTD as of Aug 30th, with the technology, real estate and consumer discretionary sectors leading. Earnings moved to the forefront of concerns for equities as the effect of Fed rate cuts dissipated with fewer cuts expected. Global growth headwinds along with international debt issues contributed …