The H Group Blog

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

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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Weekly Review - December 11, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, December 11, 2017

Summary

Economic releases were mixed on the week, with weaker results in non-manufacturing ISM, factory orders and lower sentiment. On the other hand, labor markets continued to perform, with jobless claims running at cyclical low levels and the monthly employment situation report coming in stronger than expected.

U.S. stocks gained for the week, as did developed foreign markets despite the tempering influence of a stronger dollar. Bonds were generally flat, while commodities also fell due to the dollar's strength coupled with other specific factors.

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Weekly Review - December 4, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, December 04, 2017

Summary

Economic data released last week included an upward revision in 3rd quarter GDP, a dip in the ISM manufacturing index, a recovery in various housing metrics and higher levels of consumer confidence.

U.S. equity markets rose sharply during the week, outperforming foreign stocks, which lost ground. Bonds were little changed on net with interest rates mixed across the yield curve. Commodity prices fell, with declines in several key segments, including oil and metals.

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Weekly Review - November 27, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, November 27, 2017

Summary

On a shortened Thanksgiving week, the few economic reports that surfaced were mixed, with slightly weaker durable goods orders, while existing home sales and jobless claims were positive, and the index of leading economic indicators was quite strong.

Global equity markets fared positively, with U.S. small caps and foreign stocks faring well on the heels of a weaker dollar. Bonds ended up with slight gains as interest rates ticked downward slightly, with foreign bonds faring better. Commodity indexes were higher as crude oil rose to its highest price in over two years.

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Weekly Review - November 20, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, November 20, 2017

Summary

Economic data for the week was highlighted by stronger retail sales, mixed-but-still-strong manufacturing and industrial production results, along with slightly higher inflation. Homebuilder sentiment improved, while jobless claims remained very low.

U.S. equity markets were mixed with small caps outperforming large caps. Emerging market stocks similarly outperformed developed market equities. Bonds achieved positive gains, while foreign bonds were helped by a weaker dollar. Commodities lost a bit of ground with crude oil prices ending flat for the week.

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Weekly Review - November 13, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, November 13, 2017

Summary

In a very light week for economic data, highlights included continued strong job openings data, while claims ticked upward due to temporary weather impacts. Consumer sentiment also ticked downward a bit.

U.S. and foreign equity markets lost ground for the first week in several as sentiment soured, although emerging markets gained. Bonds were also down across the board, although a weaker dollar helped foreign stocks and bonds somewhat. Commodities gained as energy prices again moved higher.

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How is 2018 Shaping Up?

Guest Post - Monday, November 13, 2017

We know it’s early, but market hopes and dreams have already moved on to next year.

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