Market Update: May 16, 2022-Inflation Takes Center Stage, Plus SFG News and Events


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Inflation Takes Center Stage


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Inflation Takes Center Stage

In a volatile trading week, stocks extended their losses as economic growth and inflation concerns soured investor sentiment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2.14%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 2.41%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 2.80% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slumped 3.21%.

A Turbulent Week
Inflation moved to center stage last week with the release of April’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Producer Price Index. Both numbers came near their 40-year highs but were lower than March’s year-over-year numbers. The results heightened investor anxiety about future Fed monetary tightening and its impact on economic growth.

In recent weeks, technology stocks have borne the brunt of the downdraft as investors lightened up on risk exposures, with some of the mega-cap tech names getting swept up in the selling pressure. Cooling import price increases buoyed spirits on Friday, helping spark a rally that reduced the week’s losses.
Inflation Stays Hot
Investors were greeted with a mixed CPI report, looking for signs that inflation may be cooling. Year-over-year costs rose 8.3%, slower than the previous month but faster than consensus estimates. Excluding food and energy, core inflation climbed 6.2%. Buried beneath the headline number was a …

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Market Update: April 25, 2022-Powell Favors Quick Movement, Plus SFG News and Events


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Powell Favors Quick Movement


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the Week


Powell Favors Quick Movement

Hawkish comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell overshadowed many largely positive earnings results, sending stocks lower for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.86%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 2.75%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 3.83% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, advanced 0.50%.

Focus Comes Off Earnings
With the inflation report in the rearview mirror and a Fed meeting two weeks away, many may have expected corporate earnings to be in focus last week. Comments by Jerome Powell stole the spotlight.
Investors began the week awaiting earnings reports looking for insight into businesses handling the latest inflation, a jittery consumer, tighter monetary policy, and ongoing supply chain issues. Despite one high-profile earnings disappointment, corporate profits appeared better than expected. By the time trading began on Thursday, 17% of S&P 500 companies had reported, and 81% had beaten Wall Street analysts’ estimates. Investors responded positively, sending share prices higher until Powell’s comments on Thursday afternoon triggered selling into the day’s close and accelerated through Friday.
Powell Unnerves Markets
On Thursday, at an event hosted by the International Monetary Fund, the Fed Chair offered his view that it may be appropriate to …

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Market Update: April 18, 2022-Earnings Season Begins, Plus SFG News and Events


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Fed Signals More Aggressive Action on Interest Rates


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the Week


Earnings Season Begins

Stocks posted losses in a holiday-shortened trading week as the first-quarter earnings season kicked off and investors digested new inflation data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.78%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.13%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 2.63% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, lost 1.20%.

Watching Bonds
Stocks began the week moving lower as bond yields climbed higher, with growth stocks suffering some of the steepest declines. Investors considered China’s ongoing lockdown warily, worried it might worsen supply-chain issues.
Historically high consumer and producer price inflation reports were shrugged off by the stock and bond markets in the main, with bond yields slipping despite the hot inflation numbers. Despite an encouraging start to the first-quarter earnings season, stocks pulled back on Friday as bond yields resumed their move higher ahead of a three-day holiday weekend.
An Eye on Inflation
On Tuesday, March’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report offered little indication that inflation may be moderating, as prices increased 8.5% year-over-year, the fastest pace in 40 years. Core inflation, excluding food and energy prices, recorded a 6.5% jump, the steepest rise since August 1982. One encouraging note was that core inflation showed potential signs of ebbing, posting a monthly increase of 0.3% versus expectations of a 0.5% increase.
The following day, March’s Producer Price Index, a potential insight into future inflation, rose 11.2% year-over-year. A March survey by the National Federation of Independent Business released earlier in the week, indicated that …

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Market Update: April 11, 2022-Fed Signals More Aggressive Action on Interest Rates, Plus SFG News and Events


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Fed Signals More Aggressive Action on Interest Rates


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the Week


Fed Signals More Aggressive Action on Interest Rates

Stock prices fell last week in response to the Fed’s plan to combat inflation, which staked out a more aggressive stance than investors had anticipated. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.28%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1.27%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 3.86% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slid 2.05%.

Fed Roils Markets
After a positive start to the week, stock prices turned lower on a more hawkish tone from Fed officials. On Tuesday, investors were surprised by comments from Fed governor Lael Brainard, one of the Fed’s more dovish members, who suggested the Fed could take a more aggressive approach with interest rates.
The unease extended into Wednesday when minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting were released, signaling a potentially faster pace in both interest rate hikes and the wind-down of the Fed’s balance sheet. Yields climbed steadily throughout the week as the bond market digested this new information. Particularly hard hit were high valuation stocks, as reflected in the 4% drop in the Nasdaq.
Fed Minutes
After raising the federal funds rate by 0.25% last month, the minutes from the March FOMC meeting made it clear the Fed is serious about fighting inflation with higher interest rates.
Fed officials indicated they might have hiked rates by a half percentage point in March had it not been for the uncertainty created by the invasion of Ukraine. Multiple Fed officials suggested that …

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Market Update: April 4, 2022-Markets Weigh Menu of Uncertainty, Plus SFG News and Events


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Markets Weigh Menu of Uncertainty


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the Week


Markets Weigh Menu of Uncertainty

Stocks spent last week digesting the sharp gains of previous weeks as investors assessed a tightening yield curve, the war in Ukraine, and an uncertain outlook for economic growth and inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.12%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 was flat (+0.06%). The Nasdaq Composite index led, picking up 0.65% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 1.02%.

Stocks Pause
Stock prices bounced around following strong gains in two previous weeks as money managers appeared to reposition their portfolios ahead of the first-quarter close. Oil was under pressure all week as prices fell on news that Shanghai imposed a strict lockdown due to COVID infections. President Biden announced a sustained release of oil from the country’s strategic petroleum reserve.
Bond yields reversed their recent climb. The flattening in the yield curve triggered some concerns about economic growth and the possibility of a recession.

Labor Market
With economic growth worries overhanging the market, last week’s employment reports showed continued strong demand for workers. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey reported the number of open positions remained near record highs, with job openings exceeding the number of available workers by a record five million. Afterward, the Automated Data Processing employment report saw private payrolls grow by 455,000 in March, slightly above consensus expectations.
Finally, the government’s monthly jobs report showed that …

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Market Update: March 28, 2022-Confidence Grows In Resilient Economy, Plus SFG News and Events


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Confidence Grows In Resilient Economy


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Stocks Rally in Changing Landscape

With growing confidence in the economy’s resilience, stocks posted another week of solid gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.31%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 1.79%. The Nasdaq Composite index picked up 1.98% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 0.27%.

Stocks Extend Gains
Markets bounced around all week as investors grappled with the crosswinds of rising yields, continued hostilities in Ukraine, and hawkish comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. After suffering declines in two of the first three trading sessions of the week, stocks turned higher on a good jobless claims number that investors interpreted as continuing economic strength.
Stocks drifted higher as the week came to a close amid rising bond yields, which on Friday saw the 10-year Treasury yield rise for the 13th time in 16 trading sessions.
Labor Market
Many economists speculated that the invasion of Ukraine would likely shave economic growth in the short term as hostilities worsened supply chains and increased inflationary pressures. The impact, so far, has not been seen in the labor market.
Last week’s initial jobless claims fell by 28,000 to 187,000, the lowest level since December 1969. The number of people on state unemployment rolls fell to …

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Market Update: March 21, 2022-Stocks Rally in Changing Landscape, Plus SFG News and Events


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Stocks Rally in Changing Landscape


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Stocks Rally in Changing Landscape

With the Fed embarking on a new course of monetary tightening amid continued fighting in Ukraine, stocks staged a powerful, broad-based rally last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 5.49%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 6.16%. The Nasdaq Composite index soared 8.18% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, advanced 5.17%.

Stocks Roar
After surrendering gains on Monday, stocks surged higher for four consecutive days. The rally was propelled by strong economic data, the outcome of last week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, and reports that Russia made interest payments on its sovereign debt, avoiding technical default.
The uptrend began with a drop in oil prices and a lighter-than-expected wholesale inflation report. Stock prices initially buckled following Wednesday’s hawkish FOMC announcement, but turned higher as investors interpreted the Fed’s news as a welcome plan to combat inflation. Stocks extended their gains into the final two trading sessions, cementing their best weekly performance since November 2020.

The Fed’s Plan
For the first time since 2018, the Federal Reserve hiked the federal funds rate, increasing it by 0.25% and signaling that it expected to raise rates at a faster pace than originally outlined in December. Based on its projections of …

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Market Update: March 14, 2022-Ukrainian War Impacts Global Economy, Plus SFG News and Events


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Ukrainian War Impacts Global Economy


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Ukrainian War Impacts Global Economy

Intensifying hostilities in Ukraine continued to unsettle markets, as investors grappled with the war’s impact on the global economies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.99%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 2.88%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 3.53% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 0.90%.

Markets Remain Stressed
Markets gyrated last week as Russia escalated its attacks on Ukraine, the U.S. banned imports of Russian oil, and more companies announced the suspension of business in Russia. Eastern Europe has added complexity to the Fed’s plans for raising interest rates to manage accelerating inflation, which has been exacerbated by a sharp rise in energy and other commodity prices.
The stock market saw brief moments of respite. Stocks rallied Tuesday on a news report that Ukraine would promise not to pursue NATO membership, but lost momentum before the close. Stocks rallied on Wednesday as oil prices tumbled, but were unable to follow-through on Thursday and then faded further into Friday’s close.
A Four-Decade High
Consumer prices rose 0.8% in February as energy and commodity prices pushed higher. This latest monthly report showed a year-over-year inflation rate of 7.9%, the highest level since January 1982. Excluding the more volatile food and energy prices, the 12-month increase was 6.4%, a slight bump from last month’s 6.0% year-over-year increase.4
Many economists hoped that inflation pressures would …

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Market Update: March 7, 2022-Ukrainian War Stresses Economy, Plus SFG News and Events


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Ukrainian War Stresses Economy


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Ukrainian War Stresses Economy

War in Ukraine weighed on stocks as investors assessed the economic impact of continued hostilities, expanding economic sanctions, and potentially higher inflation due to rising oil prices and new stresses on the global supply chain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.30%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 1.27%. The Nasdaq Composite index slid 2.78% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, dropped 3.21%.

Another Volatile Week
The uncertainty introduced from Russia’s invasion continued to whipsaw the financial markets last week. Intensifying hostilities early in the week sent stocks sharply lower as oil prices surged and a flight to safety drove investors to buy bonds.
Stocks rebounded mid-week following the release of positive economic data and Congressional testimony by Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who said the Fed is likely to move forward on rate hikes, but would proceed cautiously. Investor enthusiasm was short-lived, however, as stocks resumed their decline on Thursday into Friday despite a strong employment report.
Powell Testifies
Fed Chair Powell told Congress on Wednesday that he would propose a 25 basis point increase in the federal funds rate when the Federal Open Market Committee meets in mid-March. He conceded that the invasion of Ukraine and the economic sanctions against Russia introduced a level of uncertainty and that the Fed would proceed carefully with monetary tightening.
Powell also testified that he would not have the Fed’s strategy to …

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Market Update: February 28, 2022-Rocky Week After Russian Invasion, Plus SFG News and Events

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Table of Contents



Inflation and Ukraine Rattle Investors Another Week


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Inflation and Ukraine Rattle Investors Another Week

Stocks closed lower for the week as escalating tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border added to existing jitters over higher inflation and a pending tightening of monetary policy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.90%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 1.58%. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 1.76% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, fell 1.00%.

Geopolitical Tensions
Markets have been skittish in recent weeks due to persistent, elevated inflation and the uncertainty over how aggressive the Federal Reserve may be with its monetary tightening. As tensions escalated between Russia and the West over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, investors moved away from risk assets, such as stocks, and sought the safety of U.S. Treasury bonds.
Stocks were hard hit on Thursday as reports surfaced that both sides were exchanging artillery fire. The slide continued on Friday as prospects of a diplomatic offramp appeared to dim. While geopolitical news dominated trading last week, investors were relieved by the Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes (released on Wednesday) that suggested the Fed may not act any more aggressively than current market expectations.
An Early Economic Snapshot
Last week three economic reports provided an update on the state of the economy. The first was the Producer Price Index, which suggested that inflationary pressures remain acute. Wholesale prices rose 1.0% last month and posted a 12-month rise of 9.7%, the latter of which was near a record high.
The consumer showed continued strength as retail sales rose a better-than-expected 3.8%, though some of that …

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