The H Group Blog

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

Weekly Review - October 9, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, October 09, 2017

Summary

Economic data for the week was led by especially strong ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing reports, decent construction spending, while the employment situation report for September was a mixed bag.

U.S. stock markets continued to churn forward, while a stronger dollar held back developed foreign markets—with the exception of emerging markets, which outperformed all groups. Bond returns were tempered, as U.S. rates rose a bit. Commodities lagged due to a drop in the price of crude oil and natural gas.

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Taking a Look at the Third Quarter of 2017

Ron Kelemen - Monday, October 02, 2017

Can you believe it?  The third quarter of 2017 is already behind us, and we're in the home stretch for the year.  It's been an interesting quarter.  Here's our take on it, including a little extra about the Fed's decision to dial back its quantitative easing program.  Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - October 2, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, October 02, 2017

Summary

Economic news for the week included generally few surprises—a small revision upward for prior-quarter GDP, strong manufacturing results, mixed but generally disappointing housing data, slightly weaker sentiment and weather-affected jobless claims.

U.S. equity markets rose, led by small-cap stocks, while foreign markets were mixed, being negatively affected by a stronger U.S. dollar. Bonds lost ground on the government side with higher rates, while credit fared better. Commodities were mixed, as a pullback in metals was matched by higher pricing for crude oil.

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Where do we stand now with tax reform?

Guest Post - Monday, October 02, 2017

Described by the administration as 'giant, beautiful and massive,' there is now a draft plan on the table. This has been eagerly anticipated—especially since high hopes for any time of plan had begun to erode in the midst of the fractured Obamacare repeal effort. Although raw, it offers a starting road map for tax cuts and, potentially, although more complicated, more comprehensive tax reform. There weren't a lot of surprises in the first draft, but there is already pushback and this only serves to kickstart the process of further cross-party negotiations in coming months. It's often said about negotiations that no one really gets what they want, but hopefully in the end everyone can live with the outcome (although this seems to have become more difficult in Washington in recent years). The more radical reforms discussed in pre-election campaign talk have been scaled back, although there are several items that remain controversial. As you might expect, every component on a tax return has a unique constituency and lobbying effort.

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Weekly Review - September 25, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, September 25, 2017

Summary

Economic data for the week was highlighted by the outcome of the Fed meeting, which outlined a gradual balance sheet reduction plan. Housing data was mixed, with prices increasing but sales were negatively affected by recent hurricanes. The latter also impacted near-term jobless claims.

Stock markets rose worldwide, with developed markets outperforming emerging markets, in contrast to recent trend. Bonds returns were generally weak globally, with interest rates ticking higher and the headwind of a stronger U.S. dollar. Commodity indexes gained as oil prices again rose above $50.

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Weekly Review - September 18, 2017

Guest Post - Monday, September 18, 2017

Summary

Key economic data for the week included a disappointing retail sales report, slightly weaker consumer sentiment, moderately higher producer and consumer inflation and slightly improved jobless claims. As anticipated, several of these metrics appear to be affected by recent hurricane activity.

U.S. equities gained for the week in a variety of sectors, accompanied by a positive week in developed foreign markets, although tempered due to the negative impact of a stronger dollar. Bonds lost ground on the investment-grade side as yields rose, with foreign bonds affected more negatively due to currency. Commodities gained for the week, as energy prices rose sharply.

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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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