Is preparing for the future more important than enjoying the present? There is a lot to enjoy today. Last week, Financial Times wrote:
“Wall Street ended an impressive week on a steady note – eking out a tiny gain to a fresh record close – as oil prices recouped some of the previous day’s steep losses and the latest U.S. Gross Domestic Product data reinforced expectations for a June rate rise.”
In fact, U.S. equities have been performing well for some time. The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index achieved new highs 18 times during 2016 and, so far in 2017, we’ve scored 20 closing highs, including three last week.
While it’s important to enjoy current gains in U.S. stock markets, it’s equally important to prepare for the future. Bull markets don’t continue forever. They often experience corrections. A correction during a bull market is a 10 percent decline in the value of a stock, bond, or other investment. Often, corrections are temporary adjustments followed by additional market gains, but they can be a signal a bear market or recession is ahead.
We hope you have a great week,
Pat Meidell, Laif Meidell and Heidi Foster
Weekly Economic Update
CONSUMER SENTIMENT DECLINES JUST A BIT
Ending May at a mark of 97.1, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell 0.6 points from its preliminary reading for the month. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast the gauge to remain at 97.7.1
FEWER HOMES WERE BOUGHT IN APRIL
Both new and existing home sales tapered off last month. The National Association of Realtors said that resales fell 2.3% for April, while the Census Bureau announced an 11.4% retreat for new home purchases. While demand was high, tight supply reduced the number of buyers.2
FED MINUTES: Q1 SLUMP “LIKELY TO BE TRANSITORY”
With the Federal Open Market Committee expressing that exact opinion in the record of its May 2-3 meeting, investors saw little that would delay the central bank from raising interest rates in June. Still, the minutes sounded a cautious note. Fed policymakers “generally judged that it would be prudent to await additional evidence,” confirming that the winter economic slowdown was short lived prior to tightening further. The Bureau of Economic Analysis did revise its Q1 GDP estimate up to 1.2% last week, compared with an initial evaluation of 0.7%.1,3
MORE RECORD HIGHS FOR NASDAQ, S&P 500
A great week for stocks saw gains of 2.08% for the Nasdaq Composite, 1.43% for the S&P 500, and 1.32% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Friday’s settlements: Dow, 21,080.28; S&P, 2,415.82; Nasdaq, 6,210.19. Friday’s S&P and Nasdaq closes were historic peaks for both indices. The S&P advanced for a seventh straight trading session to end the week, something it had not done since February. The Nasdaq 100 ended last week up 19.01% YTD.4,5
Monday is Memorial Day – U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed. Tuesday, the April personal spending report and PCE price index appear. A new Federal Reserve Beige Book and the NAR’s April pending home sales report surface Wednesday, plus earnings from Analog Devices, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Michael Kors, and Palo Alto Networks. Thursday is heavy on jobs data, as investors look at the ADP payroll and Challenger job-cut reports and the latest initial claims numbers; ISM’s May factory PMI also arrives, along with earnings from Boot Barn, Broadcom, Dollar General, Express, Five Below, and Lululemon Athletica. Friday, the Department of Labor issues its May employment report, and Hovnanian announces earnings.