The H Group Blog

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

Weekly Review - February 5, 2018

Guest Post - Monday, February 05, 2018

Summary

Economic news for the week was highlighted by the FOMC keeping interest rates unchanged in their first meeting of the year, Manufacturing surveys showed a bit of a drop while remaining high, housing data showed gains, and the employment situation report came in stronger than expected.

Global equity markets declined sharply on the week, led by weakness in the U.S. coupled with higher interest rates. These same rates increases also punished bond markets, particularly on the long-term part of the yield curve. Commodities also came in lower, due to a pare back in energy prices for the week.

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Weekly Review - January 29, 2018

Guest Post - Monday, January 29, 2018

Summary

Economic data for the week was highlighted by a weaker-than-expected result for the prior quarter's GDP and prior-month housing sales, but stronger showings in durable goods, jobless claims and the index of leading economic indicators.

Equity markets continued to grind higher in both the U.S. and abroad, with the latter helped by a sharp decline in the U.S. dollar, as the result of off-the-cuff comments from the administration. Bonds were flattish with little changes in interest rates, while commodities gained ground.

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Weekly Review - January 22, 2018

Guest Post - Monday, January 22, 2018

Summary

Economic data for the week was mixed, with decent results reported in industrial production, while regional manufacturing results, housing starts and consumer sentiment came in weaker. The Fed's anecdotal Beige Book showed general strength across most segments of the U.S. economy.

Equity markets in the U.S. rallied for yet another week, with continued strong economic data, despite a more dramatic political backdrop. Stronger global growth and a weaker dollar propelled foreign stocks to another week of leadership. Bonds lost ground as interest rates rose for a variety of reasons, while commodities declined along with a pareback in crude oil prices.

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Weekly Review - January 16, 2018

Guest Post - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Summary

Economic data for the week was led by growth in retail sales, tempered inflation results and mixed but continued strong labor market metrics.

Equity markets gained ground again, with U.S. markets leading the way upon strong sentiment. Foreign markets also gained, with a help from a weaker dollar. Domestic bonds generally lost ground with interest rates ticking higher. Commodities gained across the board, but particularly due to higher crude and natural gas prices last week.

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Weekly Review - January 8, 2018

Guest Post - Monday, January 08, 2018

Summary

Economic data for the first week of the new year showed strength in manufacturing, a weaker result for services ISM, and a mixed result in employment, with strong jobless claims and ADP employment numbers, while the government employment report disappointed with challenging winter weather.

Equity markets started the year with significant gains globally, with optimism for the new year running high in both the U.S. and abroad. Bonds faced a more challenging week, as interest rates increased along with these expectations. Commodities rose to a more tempered degree, as crude oil again gained in price.

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Weekly Review - January 2, 2018

Guest Post - Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Summary

With an extremely light holiday calendar for economic data, highlights included stronger housing and regional purchasing data and weaker consumer confidence and jobless claims.

U.S. stock markets fell during the last week of the year, while international equities gained with the help of a weaker dollar. Bonds fared well as interest rates declined for the week, and foreign bond markets also benefited from the dollar’s move. Commodities across the board experienced a positive week.

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Weekly Review - December 26, 2017

Guest Post - Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Summary

Economic releases last week consisted of very strong results in housing and manufacturing, as well as the broad measure of leading economic indicators, mixed results from personal income/spending and durable goods orders and slightly worse sentiment and jobless claims.

U.S. equities gained with tax reform efforts wrapping up, which boosted pre-Holiday sentiment. Foreign equities outperformed with help from a weaker dollar. Bonds generally lost ground as interest rates gained across the curve. Commodities also rose slightly, along with the price of crude oil.

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Now that the tax plan is finished, now what?

Guest Post - Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The 1000+ page tax reform plan, the largest in decades, has been passed by both legislative chambers and signed into law. It moved surprisingly quickly, with initial debate about various components turning into a package that looked very much like the original submission.

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Weekly Review - December 18, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, December 18, 2017

Summary

Economic activity for the week centered on the Federal Reserve, which raised short-term interest rates another quarter-percent, as expected. Retail sales gained more sharply than expected, while industrial results were mixed and inflation came in weaker than consensus though several measures. Labor force gains remain robust.

U.S. equities gain for the week, with positive sentiment related to tax reform. Foreign markets were mixed on net, falling behind U.S. stocks for the week with little change in the dollar. Bonds on net made slight gains, with the treasury yield curve flattening further. Commodities were generally little changed with crude oil experiencing a quieter week.

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What to make of the rise in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

Guest Post - Monday, December 18, 2017

Bitcoin has been in the news again, with exponential gains in its dollar price (currently over $18,000 per unit), coupled by the rollout of a futures market for the currency, which has left many intrigued about the future prospects of this and other cryptocurrencies. However, many traditionalists are quick to quote classic market wisdom that 'no tree grows to the sky,' as hyperbolic euphoria and emergence of new products related to niche investment themes have often been associated with market manias (and subsequent later pullbacks). The difficult part is that such episodes are far easier to spot in hindsight than in real time.

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