The H Group Blog

Investment and Financial Planning news from some of the best in the business.

Weekly Review - March 27, 2017

Website Administrator - Monday, March 27, 2017

Summary

In a lighter week for economic data, durable goods and housing data were mixed, while jobless claims rose due to winter weather in parts of the country.

U.S. stocks declined in line with political disappointments surrounding health care reform, while foreign equities were helped somewhat by a weaker dollar. Bonds fared well as flows moved away from risk and interest rates declined, with foreign outperforming domestic. Commodities declined generally with weakness in crude oil prices due to supply concerns.

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Corrections Are Just a Part of This Bull Market

Ron Kelemen - Monday, March 20, 2017

As the current bull market enters its ninth year, it's time to recall that bull markets never go in a straight upward trajectory.  Pullbacks of 5% or more and corrections of 10% or more are quite normal.  But just how normal are they?   Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - March 20, 2017

Website Administrator - Monday, March 20, 2017

Summary

It was a busy week for economic data, as the FOMC raised interest rates by a quarter-percent, manufacturing data came in decently, inflation ticked a bit higher, and housing results and labor data came in stronger.

U.S. equity markets ticked modestly higher on the week, but were outpaced by foreign stocks, and especially so by emerging markets. Bonds also experienced a decent week, as interest rates declined somewhat. Commodity prices rose with strength in metals, a weaker dollar and slight recovery in crude oil.

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Weekly Review - March 13, 2017

Website Administrator - Monday, March 13, 2017

Summary

Economic data for the week was highlighted by strong employment reports from both ADP and the official government report on Friday, which raised or solidified the likelihood of a FOMC interest rate increase next week. Other peripheral manufacturing reports were generally neutral.

Equity markets in the U.S. fell back for the first time in a while, while European stocks gained due to stronger results and ECB language. Bonds suffered due to higher interest rates, as did real estate. Commodities experienced a poor week from a sharp decline in oil prices due to higher inventories.

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Question of the Week - March 13, 2017

Website Administrator - Monday, March 13, 2017

Is the bull market really 8 years old?

It doesn't seem that long ago, but stock markets just celebrated an 8-year anniversary from the market lows hit on March 9, 2009, when sentiment hit a trough during the Great Recession. Since that time, the S&P 500 price index has moved from 677 to 2,373, which, when adding back in dividends, accounted for a +316% cumulative total return (over 19% on an average annualized basis). Interestingly, it has been considered one of the least-loved bull markets in some time, as many investors seemed to have been skeptical from the start, and only recently have shown signs of optimism with hopes for improvement from the political side in the tax and regulatory environment, as well as hoped-for fiscal spending on defense and infrastructure.

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Happy 8th Birthday, Mr. Bull

Ron Kelemen - Wednesday, March 08, 2017

March 9 marks the 8th anniversary of our current bull market, three years longer than typical.  This has been our second longest bull and our third highest performing.  So what's next?  Are we on the verge of a correction and/or a bear market?
We are always on the verge of a pull-back or a correction of 5-10%.  They happen quite frequently in any given year.  For us to be entering a bear market, more things must fall in place over a period of weeks.  According to James Stack, a market historian and President of InvesTech Research, seven indicators can serve as warning flags of a bear market.  The more indicators the more likely a bear market.
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Weekly Review - March 6, 2017

Website Administrator - Monday, March 06, 2017

Summary

Economic data for the week was led by strength in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes, strong consumer confidence and jobless claims, and mixed housing results.

Equity markets gained in the U.S. and abroad in foreign markets, while emerging markets fell back for the week. Bonds lost ground as interest rates rose in response to Fed rate hike comments. Commodities lost ground, mostly due to oil and precious metals.

 Read Entire Article Here

Question of the Week - March 6, 2017

Website Administrator - Monday, March 06, 2017

Is the Economy Running 'Hot' Yet?

Probably not, but it's all relative. That reference was a previous quote from Janet Yellen, in regard to her willingness to let the economy overheat a bit more than typical in an effort to err towards higher growth. This can be a tricky balance, of course, from a monetary standpoint, as the purpose of raising interest rates and other types of restrictive policies in the first place is to keep economies from running overly hot. 'Hot' economies tend to be characterized by over-exuberance, too much risk-taking and taking on credit risk until a peak hits—when there's not much margin for error from smaller economic hiccups, that can lead to defaults and subsequently lead to a dramatic reversal of the previously bullish sentiment. This is the nature of the process, and is hard to circumvent completely, although officials do their best to 'manage' the severity of these cycles as much as they can. This was generally successful over the past few decades (2008 excluded), with ongoing debate about how much an economy can be managed using just these tools.

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Weekly Review - February 27, 2017

Website Administrator - Monday, February 27, 2017

Summary

On a shortened holiday week, and a light one for economic data, housing results were generally strong, and jobless claims continued to run at low levels.

Global equity markets were generally higher on the week, with continued improved sentiment, while U.S. bond markets rallied upon lower interest rates, as did foreign bond markets. Commodities ended flat, with little change in crude oil prices.

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Are Equities Overvalued?

Website Administrator - Monday, February 27, 2017

With the Dow index of 30 stocks recently closing above 20,000, we are getting asked if the stock market is too high. Our favorite answer to this and many other questions is "It depends." Just the price of a stock or the level of a market index doesn't tell the whole story. Part of our answer depends upon whether one is looking at the stock market as value investor or as a growth investor. Both approaches are valid, and both go in and out of favor. Read Entire Article Here


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