Weekly Updates

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

March 29, 2022


Table of Contents



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

March 21, 2022


Table of Contents



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

March 14, 2022


Table of Contents



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

March 7, 2022


Table of Contents



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

March 1, 2022

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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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Market Update: February 22, 2022-Inflation and Ukraine Rattle Investors Another Week, Plus SFG News and Events

February 22, 2022

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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 …

CONTINUE READING

Market Update: February 14, 2022-Inflation and Ukraine Fears Cool Markets, Plus SFG News and Events

February 14, 2022

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Table of Contents



Inflation and Ukraine Fears Cool Markets


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Inflation and Ukraine Fears Cool Markets

A hot inflation print and the growing concern of a Russian invasion of Ukraine sent stocks tumbling late in the week, leaving major indices lower for the five-trading days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average skidded 1.00%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 retreated 1.82%. The Nasdaq Composite index slumped 2.18%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, advanced 2.26%.

A Double Whammy
Mid-week, a fresh batch of positive corporate earnings surprises lifted investor sentiment, helping stocks claw back losses with technology stocks posting some of the sharpest gains. But January’s inflation report, set for release on Thursday morning, remained investors’ biggest concern.
When the report hit, it showed accelerating inflation, and stocks dropped and bond yields bounded higher. Stocks managed to recover from the initial reaction to the unexpectedly high inflation number. But when the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis commented that the Fed may consider a more aggressive move against inflation, stocks resumed their slide lower. The stock skid accelerated into Friday on White House reports that an invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces may be imminent.
Inflation Sizzles
Prices of consumer goods accelerated in January, rising 0.6% from the previous month and 7.5% year-over-year. This annual inflation rate was the highest since 1982. Core inflation, which excludes the more volatile food and energy prices, was 6.0% higher from last January.
Many economists and market analysts had expected inflation to moderate, but …

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Market Update: February 7, 2022-Stocks Extend Rally; Eyes On Tech, Plus SFG News and Events

February 8, 2022


Table of Contents



Stocks Extend Rally: Eyes on Tech


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Stocks Extend Rally; Eyes on Tech

Stocks managed to gain ground last week as investors turned their focus to corporate earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.05%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 1.55%. The Nasdaq Composite index picked up 2.38% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, tacked on 2.73%.

Earnings in Focus
At the start of the week, stocks extended the previous week’s rally with some high-growth companies leading the move higher. Strong company profits fueled the market the middle of the week, until an earnings disappointment from a mega-cap company took investors by surprise. The earnings miss deflated sentiment as it heightened worries of what it may portend for other technology companies yet to report. These anxieties led to a sell-off that reverberated across the market.
Subsequent earnings beats from several technology and social media names, and an above-consensus rise in new payrolls on Friday, helped the market close with week with a solid gain.
Omicron and Unemployment
A string of employment reports pointed to a generally healthy labor market, despite the Omicron surge late last year. The Job Openings and Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed a hiring slowdown, with near-record high job openings and worker resignations. The ADP (Automated Data Processing) employment report saw private payrolls shrink by 301,000. That was the first monthly decline since December 2020.
More encouragingly, initial jobless claims declined, while continuing jobless claims reached their lowest level since 1973. A strong January employment report showed …

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Market Update: January 31, 2022-Volatile Week Ends On Rebound, Plus SFG News and Events

January 31, 2022


Table of Contents



Volatile Week Ends on Rebound


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Volatile Week Ends on Rebound

An exceptionally volatile week, marked by wide intraday price swings, whipsawed investors with stocks ending higher following a surge to the upside on the final trading day of the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.34%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 0.77%. The Nasdaq Composite index ended flat (+0.01%) for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, declined 3.54%.

Market Volatility
Rising bond yields, Federal Reserve uncertainty, and escalating tensions on the Ukrainian-Russian border unsettled markets all week. The week opened with two successive days of deep early losses that were erased by furious, late-afternoon rebounds. The following two-trading sessions that started with strong gains that evaporated with late-session selling.
The most dramatic session was Monday, in which stocks ended slightly higher after hitting intraday lows that saw the NASDAQ fall 4.9%, the Dow shed 1,115 points, and the S&P 500 moved into correction territory. Technology was at the epicenter of the volatility all week as rate fears weighed on sector. Stocks rebounded strongly on Friday, managing to conclude a week on an upbeat note.
Fed Readies Market for Rate Hikes
Last week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) left rates unchanged, though officials signaled short-term rates would likely be raised at its next meeting in March. As expected, the Fed also approved one last round of bond purchases, bringing quantitative easing to an end by March.
Left a bit more nebulous were details on the pace and timing of reducing the Fed’s balance sheet, a lingering worry of some investors. But Fed Chair Powell indicated that …

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Market Update: January 24, 2022-Rate Hike Talk Sinks Stocks, Plus SFG News and Events

January 24, 2022


Table of Contents



Rate Hike Talk Sinks Stocks


Food for Thought


Tax Tips


Healthy Living


Weekly Riddle


Photo of the week


Rate Hike Talk Sinks Stocks

Stocks extended their January retreat as worries over inflation and rising bond yields continued to exert downward pressure on prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 4.58%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 sank 5.68%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 7.55% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.61%.

Another Turbulent Week
After the holiday weekend, stocks found little respite from this month’s selling pressures. The week began with the 10-year Treasury yield hitting a two-year high that triggered a broad retreat in stocks, with technology and other high-growth companies bearing the brunt of the losses. The Nasdaq Composite officially entered correction territory and closed below its 200-day moving average for the first time since April 2020.
Stocks struggled throughout the week, rallying in early trading on both Wednesday and Thursday on solid corporate earnings and stabilizing bond yields, only to end lower on late-day selling. While last year may have been distinguished by “buying on the dip,” this week reflected a different mindset, “selling on the rebound.” Stocks extended their losses in the final hours of the Friday trading session to conclude a difficult week.
Rate Hike Expectations Rise
Recent market volatility has stemmed predominantly from inflation concerns and how aggressive the Fed will be in fighting it. This reaction reflects the market’s pricing of rate hike probabilities, and their estimation of the Fed’s reaction.
Last week’s interest rate futures suggested that …

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