Market Commentary, 04/22/19
For the second week in a row stocks changed little overall, with the Dow finishing the week +0.6%, the Nasdaq +0.2%, and the S&P 500 -0.1%. On a positive note, stock market volatility has declined to its lowest level in six months according to the Cboe Volatility Index, a gauge that measures investors’ expectations of short-term stock volatility. (www.cboe.com; 04/22/2019)
The number of workers seeking new unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since the height of the Vietnam War. The Labor Department reported initial jobless claims fell for the fifth week in a row to 192,000, below the expected 204,000. New claims have totaled less than 200,000 for the second consecutive week, an event that hasn’t occurred since Richard Nixon was president. (www.dol.gov; 04/18/2019)
After a decline in February, retail sales climbed 1.6% in March, posting its largest monthly gain since September 2017. The gain was broad, with sales rising for nearly every retail store category. This bounce back, on the heels of stronger-than-anticipated US exports and economic growth in China, pushed up estimates for gross domestic product (GDP) in the first part of the year and expectations for a second-quarter boost. (www.wsj.com; 04/18/2019)
The initial estimate of Q1 GDP growth is likely to be the most closely watched economic report scheduled this week. Following the strong retail sales numbers several economists have increased their GDP estimates, including JP Morgan to 2.9%, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to 2.8%, and an overall consensus of 2.2%. (www.finance.yahoo.com; 04/21/2019)
Reduced layoffs, consistent hiring, and the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years have produced a strong labor market that continues to fuel an economic expansion that is now almost a decade old. In conjunction with strong retail numbers that indicate fears about the softening in the economy late last year were overblown. Taken in its totality, a broad swathe of data still paints a largely positive picture for the US economy.
Jeremiah Patterson, CFP®
Copelin Financial Advisors
514 Brooks Street
Sugar Land, TX 77478
Phone: 281 240-2902
Fax: 281 240-2856
Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Broker-Dealer and Member FINRA & SIPC. Advisory services offered through Investment Advisors, a division of ProEquities, and Harvest Investment Services, LLC, Registered Investment Advisors. Copelin Financial Advisors, Inc and Harvest Investment Services, LLC are independent of ProEquities, Inc.