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June 2017

June 26, 2017 – Weekly American Wealth Review

By Weekly Newsletter

Weekly Letter

The first half of 2017 has generally been led by technology and growth stocks, but for the past few weeks market leadership has been in flux. Specifically, during the month of June growth and technology stocks have become increasingly volatile, a sign that a growing number of investors are more concerned with short term losses versus longer term gains. What we may be witnessing is a change in market leadership, an event that can be good for the stock market as long as the market laggards can keep from being a drag on the broad market averages and hold on to their gains.

One example of potential new market leadership is in health care stocks. With the senate attempting to pass a health care bill this week, some investors appear to be trying to get ahead of the vote by reallocating a portion of their funds to the health care sector. This has elevated the S&P 500 Health Care index by 2.38 percent over the past five trading days, while leaving the S&P 500 Technology sector nearly flat, up only 0.01 percent over the same period. Of course, we don’t know how long this new market leadership will last, but if congress can work together and agree upon a health care reform bill, it’s possible that health care stocks could have much further to run.

However, the bigger question surrounding health care reform has more to do with how well congress can work together to help the American people. The success or failure of congress to pass a health care reform bill will send a huge message to investors of the likelihood of tax reform later this year. Tax reform is where the real stimulus is at, but if congress can work together volatility may spread beyond just technology and growth stocks.

Laif Meidell, CMT

We hope you have a great week,
Pat Meidell, Laif Meidell and Heidi Foster

Weekly Economic Update


In a pleasant surprise for economists, both new and existing home sales picked up last month. The National Association of Realtors announced a 1.1% gain for resales, with the average house for sale spending only 27 days on the market. New home buying increased 2.9% in May, resulting in an annualized gain of 8.9%. The average sale price for a new home was $406,400, a record.1


The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index rose 0.3% for May, following gains of 0.2% for April and 0.4% for March. Most of the index’s components were positive for May and a steepening interest rate spread, a climb for the Institute for Supply Management’s new orders index, and greater consumer optimism about business and economic conditions were major factors. The LEI was up 3.5% year-over-year through May.2


WTI crude settled at $43.01 at Friday’s closing bell, down 4.4% from the end of last week. This decline marked the fifth straight weekly retreat for oil; an 8-week losing streak ended in August 2015. Oil is now in a bear market.3


All three of the major U.S. equity indices had made 5-day gains by the time trading wrapped up on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had added just 0.05%, advancing to 21,394.76, and the S&P 500 had improved 0.21% to 2,438.30. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.84% to 6,265.25. Even after this last sideways week, the Dow 30 ended Friday’s session up 1.49% month-over-month.4


On Monday, the Census Bureau shares data on May hard goods orders. Tuesday sees the release of the latest consumer confidence index from the Conference Board, plus earnings reports from Darden Restaurants and KB Home. Wednesday, the NAR puts out its May pending home sales report, and Franklin Covey, General Mills, Monsanto, Paychex, and Pier 1 announce earnings. The third estimate of Q1 GDP appears Thursday along with a new initial unemployment claims report and earnings announcements from ConAgra Brands, Constellation Brands, Micron Technology, Nike, and Walgreens Boots Alliance. The final June University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, May consumer spending figures, and the May PCE price index arrive on Friday.

June 12, 2017 – Weekly American Wealth Review

By Weekly Newsletter

Weekly Letter

This week the markets are waiting on the Fed’s move later this week. Markets spent the past week weighing political excitement by home and abroad, ending up with the S&P 500 down just 0.27% for the week.

We think that with Father’s Day coming up this week that it is a good time to remember that the constants of our family relationships are some of the most valuable and important parts of our lives.

What Makes a Dad
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it … Dad
-Author Unknown

We hope you have a great week,
Pat Meidell, Laif Meidell and Heidi Foster

Weekly Economic Update


The Institute for Supply Management’s May non-manufacturing purchasing manager index displayed a reading of 56.9 last week, showing expansion in U.S. service industries for an eighty-ninth straight month. Although the gauge declined 0.6 points from its April mark, it signaled a solid pace of growth. The index’s employment component rose 6.4 points to a mark of 57.8, as 15 industries added workers in May. The PMI has averaged a reading of 55.9 over the past 12 months.1


According to a new Census Bureau report, they decreased 0.2%. That marked their first month-over-month retreat of 2017. The 0.2% gain for March factory orders, however, was revised up to 1.0%. Orders increased by an average of 0.7% per month in the first quarter.2


WTI crude lost 3.8% during June 5-9, tumbling to a $45.83 settlement on the NYMEX Friday. The U.S. rig count rose again last week, as it has every week for the past five months. While OPEC has vowed to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels per day, daily American oil output has increased by almost 600,000 barrels, so far, this year.3


Last week, the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.55% to 6,207.92, while the S&P 500 dipped 0.30% to 2,431.76. On the other hand, the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to gain 0.31% on its way to a Friday close of 21,271.28. The CBOE VIX volatility index soared 17.03% for the week, settling Friday at 11.41.4


Nothing major is scheduled for Monday. The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the May Producer Price Index on Tuesday; in addition, H&R Block and Wiley announce quarterly results. Wednesday, investors react to the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy decision, the May Consumer Price Index, the May retail sales report, and quarterly results from Jabil and Liberty Tax. A new initial jobless claims report arrives on Thursday, plus a report on May industrial output and earnings announcements from Bob Evans Farms and Kroger. On Friday, the University of Michigan’s preliminary June consumer sentiment index appears, along with data on May housing starts and building permits.

June 5, 2017 – Weekly American Wealth Review

By Weekly Newsletter

Weekly Letter

The bull market in U.S. stocks is getting old. This bull has been charging, standing, or sitting for more than eight years. In April, it became the second longest bull market in American history, according to CNN Money.

There are some good reasons the stock market in the United States has continued to trend higher. For one, companies have become more profitable. During the first quarter of 2017, companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reported earnings increased by 14 percent, year-over-year. That was the highest earnings growth rate since 2011, according to FactSet.In addition, the economy in the United States has been chugging along at a steady pace. CIO Charles Lieberman wrote in Bloomberg View:

“…U.S. economic growth is continuing at a moderate pace, an economic recovery is finally underway in Europe, inflation is under control, corporate profits are rising, and there is some prospect for tax reform and deregulation, even if whatever gets implemented is less than what is really needed. These conditions imply continued growth in corporate profits.”

Last week’s employment report boosted both stock and bond markets. Financial Times opined the report was weak enough to ease pressure on bond rates and strong enough to boost share prices higher.

We hope you have a great week,
Pat Meidell, Laif Meidell and Heidi Foster

Weekly Economic Update


A day after ADP’s employment change report estimated a hiring gain of 253,000 in May, the Department of Labor’s latest jobs report told a far different story. It said employers added just 138,000 workers last month. The U-3 jobless rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3% in May, partly because of people dropping out of the labor force. The U-6 rate, counting the underemployed, decreased to a 10-year low of 8.4%. Annualized wage growth improved 0.2% to 2.5%.1,2


The Conference Board’s monthly consumer confidence gauge remained well north of 100 in May. It came in at 117.9. The index actually descended 1.5 points from its (downwardly revised) April reading of 119.4.1


Rising a tenth of a percentage point to 54.9, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing manager index showed healthy sector expansion in May. ISM last measured a sector contraction (a reading below 50) in August.3


In April, consumer spending grew by 0.4% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Additionally, the BEA revised the previously flat March personal spending number up to a 0.3% gain. Personal incomes also rose 0.4% in the fourth month of the year, twice the improvement seen in March.1


Rising 0.93% across four trading days, the S&P 500 ended last week at 2,439.07. The Nasdaq Composite continued its red-hot run, gaining 1.50% for the week to a June 2 close of 6,305.80. Settling at 21,206.29 Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.56% across its last four trading sessions. The CBOE VIX “fear index” closed at a remarkably low 9.79 Friday, down 30.27% YTD.4,5


ISM’s May non-manufacturing PMI appears Monday, along with data on April factory orders, and earnings from Casey’s General Stores, Dave & Buster’s, and Thor Industries. Conn’s, Fred’s, and Michaels Companies announce earnings on Tuesday. Navistar reports quarterly results on Wednesday. Thursday, Wall Street examines new initial jobless claims figures and earnings news from Dell Technologies, J.M. Smucker, and Verifone. Nothing major is slated for Friday.