The H Group Blog

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

Weekly Review - January 5, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, January 05, 2015

Summary

  • The most closely-watched economic releases were the ISM Manufacturing survey and Chicago PMI, which fell from last month and under expectations. Housing/construction data was mixed, while consumer confidence was a bit better.
  • Ending the year, both U.S. and developed foreign equities fell, while emerging market stocks and real estate gained. Investment-grade bonds generally gained, while crude oil led commodities down for yet another week.
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Question of the Week - January 5, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, January 05, 2015

How did last year stack up? (2014 Investment Review)

Looking back at predictions for the previous year, as we often do at year-end, is another reminder that what 'should' have happened rarely does—at least not to the magnitude or timeline it was supposed to.

 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 29, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 29, 2014

Summary

  • During the holiday-shortened trading week, we received some upbeat economic news: The Q3 real GDP growth rate was revised up significantly more than expected, consumer confidence reached the highest level in eight years, and seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims continued to edge downward.
  • Amid positive economic developments, we saw a slightly disappointing durables report, some softness in the housing data and limited personal income growth versus the pace of consumer spending.
  • A strong GDP report helped fuel last week's Santa Claus rally. Domestic stocks continued to swing up while the Dow topped 18,000 for the first time. Foreign stocks slightly lagged behind, bonds retreated, REITs' performance was up more than 1%, and commodities were down for the week.
 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 22, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 22, 2014

Summary

  • Last week's domestic economic data were mixed. Good news came from the stronger industrial production report in November and lower than expected jobless claims.
  • Disappointing news came from December's Empire manufacturing report, slightly worse than expected housing market data and November's soft CPI report.
  • Stocks rebounded significantly from the prior week's slump, as depressed energy prices showed some signs of stabilization, the U.S. economy continued to strengthen, and the Fed expressed patience regarding the timing of rate liftoff. However, bond performance was muted. REITs delivered small positive returns that were offset by negative performance from the commodity markets.
 Read Entire Article Here

Fed Note - December 17, 2014

Guest Post - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The FOMC finished their final meeting of the year today, and offered no substantive changes now that the taper has already completed and there isn't much to tweak—other than raise interest rates, which they didn't do (no rate increases were expected) Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 15, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 15, 2014

Summary

  • The economic releases were focused on retail sales (which came in as a slight positive surprise), and several sentiment surveys, which also came in more positively than expected. However, oil prices were the most closely watched and discussed indicator of the week.
  • Stocks were significantly lower on the week globally, due to concerns over the repercussions of lower energy prices and forward-looking demand. U.S. investment-grade bonds gained with lower interest rates in a risk-off week, while riskier bonds sold off. Real estate fared well, however.
 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 8, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 08, 2014

Summary

  • Several key economic reports came through last week, including better-than-expected ISM Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing reports.
  • Stock markets in the U.S. were generally higher on the week on better economic and employment situation report news, while bonds suffered under higher interest rates. Foreign equities and debt were mixed.
 Read Entire Article Here

Question of the Week - December 1, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 01, 2014

Why have oil prices declined so sharply?

As we’ve discussed in the past, commodity prices don’t have a ‘cash flow’ of any sort that allows us to model their intrinsic or ‘fair’ value, as do stocks, bonds or real estate.  Instead, supply and demand factors work against each other to find a clearing market price.  Economics tells us that either stronger demand or scarcer supplies should cause prices to move higher, while eroding demand or an abundance of supplies has a lowering effect on prices.  As complicated as the modeling behind the scenes looks, everything is based on this relationship. 

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Weekly Review - December 1, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 01, 2014

Summary

  • Despite a holiday-shortened week, there were several major releases—the more important of which surprised a bit on the upside.  U.S. GDP was revised substantially higher from the first estimate while other releases, such as durable goods, PMI and claims were mixed.
  • Equity markets ticked higher with lower volatility than we’ve been used to in recent months.  Interest rates fell, pushing domestic bonds higher as well.  The biggest news was the almost -15% drop in crude oil prices, which affected energy stocks, commodities and oil export-heavy nations.
 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - November 24, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, November 24, 2014

Summary

  • A busy week of economic data releases: modest weaker industrial production and below consensus expected capacity utilization in October; absent deflationary risk, both domestic PPI and CPI in October came in slightly above the consensus expectation, but remained within the Fed's inflation target.
  • Mixed housing market data in October showed disappointing housing starts with stronger building permits number and an upside in existing-home sales.
  • U.S. job markets continued to slowly improve as initial jobless claims stayed below 300k for the tenth week, the first such stretch since 2000. The 4-week moving average of continuing claims fell to its lowest level since January 2001.
  • Fueled by major central banks' further monetary easing commitments, global equity markets were generally up with EM outperforming domestic equity and EAFE stocks.
 Read Entire Article Here

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