The H Group Blog

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

Weekly Review - September 11, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, September 11, 2017

Summary

The short week ended with a temporary respite for the federal budget and debt ceiling debate, strong ISM services results, but higher jobless claims due to hurricane effects.

U.S. stocks stumbled a bit on the week, as did foreign stocks in local currency terms, but the latter were saved by a large decline in the U.S. dollar for the week. Bonds experienced a positive week as yields for certain maturities fell to their lowest levels in some time. Real estate bucked the trend and fared well, while commodities were generally flat with offsetting forces.

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Weekly Review - September 5, 2017

Guest Post - Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Summary

Economic news for the late summer week was focused on a revision higher in Q2 GDP results, continued expansionary manufacturing numbers, mixed housing results, and a somewhat disappointing employment report.

Equity markets fared positively for the week, with U.S. stocks outperforming both foreign developed and emerging. Bonds were flattish with credit outperforming, as did emerging market debt. Commodities saw positive returns with gains in a variety of categories, with the hurricane impact mostly affecting gasoline prices.

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Weekly Review - August 28, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, August 28, 2017

Summary

In a very light late summer week for economic data, housing statistics were generally lackluster, jobless claims remained within recent ranges, while durable goods fell, as expected.

Global equity markets gained for the week, upon weak volumes and political rhetoric outweighing any meaningful economic news to move the needle. U.S. and foreign stocks both saw positive results, with emerging markets leading the way—foreign assets were boosted by a weaker dollar. Bonds also moved a bit higher, led by high yield. Commodities were mixed with little change in the prices for energy.

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Are we about to have another debt ceiling debacle?

Guest Post - Monday, August 28, 2017

It's certainly possible, but could be less likely than the prior mess in the summer of 2011. Stocks hit another patch of volatility mid-week, as the President threatened to hold up debt ceiling negotiations in September and even force a government shutdown until certain parameters were met. However, economists appear to be putting the odds of shutdown at far less than half, and Congressional sentiment appears focused on avoiding a shutdown this time. These are actually two separate bills—one to extend the ceiling and other a continuing resolution to keep the government running—both of which come due at the end of Sept.

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Weekly Review - August 21, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, August 21, 2017

Summary

Economic data for the week was highlighted by mixed housing results but gains in retail sales, several strong readings from regional manufacturing surveys, and strong results for the index of leading economic indicators and jobless claims.

Global equity markets were mixed last week with U.S. stocks losing ground, and foreign stocks gaining slightly on net. Bonds were little changed along with minimal movement in interest rates, while emerging market bonds fared well. Commodities lost ground slightly with losses more concentrated in agriculture than in energy.

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Is LIBOR going away? By the way, what is it, anyway?

Guest Post - Monday, August 21, 2017

LIBOR stands for the London Interbank Offered Rate, and represents several averages of interest rates that large banks in London charge each other for short-term loans. Although it's referred to in the singular, it's a series of rates for different terms ranging from 1 day to 1 year. In that sense, it's similar in some respects in concept to the fed funds rate used by banks in lending to each other in the U.S., although the fed funds rate is a single rate as opposed to a variety of rates. Due to its long history, particularly 1-month and 3-month LIBOR have been used as 'base rates' for a variety of variable-rate global financial transactions, from floating rate bank loans to commercial debt to even home mortgages. In recent years, up to $350 trillion of global monies have been tied to LIBOR rates, making this significant from a financial industry perspective. Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - August 14, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, August 14, 2017

Summary

Economic data was highlighted by weakness in inflation, with the PPI and CPI both coming in lower than expected. On the labor side, the government JOLTs job openings index and claims continued to show strength, while labor cost and productivity growth remained sub-par.

Global equity markets fell last week, in line with most risk assets, due to escalating geopolitical tensions with North Korea. Government bonds, by contrast, in both the U.S. and developed foreign markets fared well that that safe haven-seeking environment, and outperformed corporates and emerging markets. Commodities lost a bit of ground on net as oil prices fell.

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Weekly Review - August 7, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, August 07, 2017

Summary

Economic data for the week was dominated by the employment situation report, which surprised on the upside. The ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes both declined, but remained solidly expansionary.

Equity markets gained globally, as did bonds to a certain degree with lower interest rates on the longer part of the yield curve. Commodities declined slightly, despite little net change in oil prices during the week. Overall, low volatility conditions in stock and bond markets continue.

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Weekly Review - July 31, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, July 31, 2017

Summary

In a busy week for economic data releases, the Fed meeting resulted in no action and GDP for Q2 came in largely as expected. Durable goods orders and consumer confidence metrics came in more positively than expected, while a variety of housing data came in weaker than expected.

Equity markets were generally flattish in the U.S. last week, while foreign equities continued their string of gains, helped at least in small part by a weaker U.S. dollar. Bonds were mixed but generally lower on the investment-grade side as interest rates rose. Commodities gained along with sharply higher oil prices to end the week.

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Weekly Review - July 24, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, July 24, 2017

Summary

Economic data for the week was mixed, with several regional manufacturing surveys showing weaker yet still expanding metrics, but strong housing starts and monthly index of broad leading indicators.

Equity markets gained globally, with emerging markets outperforming developed markets. Bonds also fared well, with interest rates declining worldwide amidst dovish central bank language and weaker inflation. Commodity indexes fell overall as oil prices declined a bit for the week, offset partially by a rise in gold.

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