The Rally Picks Up

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Weekly Update - January 22, 2019

01.19,19.PNG

Market data

as of January, 18th 2019

 U.S. markets were up again last week, as major domestic indexes posted their 4th weekly gains in a row.[i] In fact, the S&P 500 was no longer in correction territory at Friday’s close—and was in the middle of its best yearly start since 1987.[ii]

 

For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.87%, the Dow added 2.96%, and the NASDAQ increased by 2.66%. So far, all three indexes are up more than 5% in 2019.[iii] Internationally, the MSCI EAFE also ended the week in positive territory, posting a 1.06% gain.[iv]

 

What is driving the rally?

Once again, developments in our ongoing trade negotiations with China contributed to the performance. On Thursday, a report emerged that the U.S. was weighing whether to lift tariffs on Chinese imports. However, the Treasury Department said Secretary Steve Mnuchin had not recommended this action.[v] Then, on Friday, Bloomberg released news that China may raise its imports to a level that would close the trade deficit by 2024.[vi] This potential sign of progress contributed to the day’s market gains.[vii]

 

While these trade updates significantly affected stock performance last week, the following details are also worth noting:

1.     Corporate earnings season started.

So far, 11% of S&P 500 companies have released their earnings reports for the 4th quarter of 2018. As expected, growth is not as fast as in the last year’s previous quarters, but total earnings are still up 16.9% over the same period in 2017. We are very early in earnings season but anticipate data from another 56 companies coming out this week.[viii]

2.     Consumer sentiment missed expectations.

The latest consumer sentiment reading fell to its lowest level since 2016, yet it still remains relatively high. This decline could signal that the current impasse over border-wall funding and the volatile markets are negatively affecting the economy.[ix]

3.     Manufacturing beat projections.

The latest data showed that U.S. manufacturing output increased by 1.1% in December. This rate exceeded expectations and may help calm concerns that factory production is slowing.[x]

4.     The government shutdown continued.  

Since December 22, parts of the Federal government have been closed, marking the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Economists estimate that each week the shutdown continues could reduce our quarterly growth of Gross Domestic Product by up to 0.2%.[xi] 

Looking ahead, we will not only have earnings data to consider in this shortened trading week, but also information on home sales and durable goods orders. We’ll continue to monitor economic reports—and geopolitical developments—as we support each client’s long-term goals. As always, if you have questions or concerns, we’re here for you.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Monday: Markets Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Tuesday: Existing Home Sales   

Thursday: Jobless Claims

Friday: Durable Goods Orders, New Home Sales


[i] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-street-extends-rally-on-u-s-china-trade-optimism-idUSKCN1PC1FH

[ii] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/18/stocks-us-china-trade-talks-take-center-stage-shutdown-earnings.html

[iii] http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=%21DJI&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO

[iv] https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

[v] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-street-extends-rally-on-u-s-china-trade-optimism-idUSKCN1PC1FH

[vi] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-18/china-is-said-to-offer-path-to-eliminate-u-s-trade-imbalance

[vii] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/18/stocks-us-china-trade-talks-take-center-stage-shutdown-earnings.html

[viii] https://www.nasdaq.com/article/key-takeaways-from-q4-earnings-results-thus-far-cm1084343

[ix] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy/u-s-consumer-sentiment-at-two-year-low-manufacturing-rebounds-idUSKCN1PC1NT

[x] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/18/industrial-production-december-2018.html

[xi] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy/u-s-consumer-sentiment-at-two-year-low-manufacturing-rebounds-idUSKCN1PC1NT

Why Market Timing is Inefficient

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Today’s market conditions may feel a bit uncertain. Between international trade tensions, changes from the Federal Reserve, and increased volatility, some investors react emotionally and may want to make changes to their portfolio.

Ultimately, changing your asset allocation based on market fluctuations can be a hasty decision. If you guess wrong, you may end up missing out on the best market days. With that in mind, here are some ways that trying to time the market can negatively impact your returns.

Timing the Market vs. Time in the Market

Research suggests that investors who buy and sell stocks during periods of market volatility may see lower returns than investors who stick with an established investment strategy.

For example, imagine you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500 on December 31, 2003, and then took it out on December 31, 2018. Here’s where your assets could be[i] if you:

  • Left your investment untouched: $30,711

  • Missed the 10 best performing days: $15,481

  • Missed the 40 best performing days: $4,943

In other words, missing just a few days over 15 years could mean the difference between losing over $5,000 and gaining more than $20,000.

Some data indicates that an investor would need to accurately time the market 74% of the time to earn more than someone who stays in the S&P 500. Considering the same study claims that only 47% of “market timing experts” predictions are correct, timing the market just doesn’t appear to add up.[ii]

Clearly, for most investors, time in the market is more important than timing the market.

Investing with Patience

Of course, volatility and declines can be uncomfortable. But corrections are a normal part of market cycles. Consider the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Although the index moves between highs and lows, it has never failed to grow in a 20-year period.[iii] In other words, investors who don't try to time the market may see greater long term returns. Of course, past performance does not guarantee future results, but the research shows that successful investing may stem from a patient and disciplined strategy.

Bottom line

Trying to predict how markets may act and making emotional investment decisions can leave your portfolio in a vulnerable state. We know that market timing can feel tempting, but it can be virtually impossible to do so accurately.

Instead, you may consider a personalized investment strategy that allows for prudent adjustments when warranted. Finding the right approach—and sticking with it—can leave you in a much better position to pursue your financial goals.

If you have any questions about the information we’ve presented or want to know how recent economic events may affect your investments, please let us know. We would be happy to answer your questions and discuss any concerns.

Sources cited:

[i] https://www.putnam.com/literature/pdf/II508.pdf

[ii] https://money.usnews.com/investing/buy-and-hold-strategy/articles/2018-06-19/no-right-time-for-market-timing

[iii] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/18/trying-to-time-the-market-is-a-losing-game.html

 

Markets Up - Volatility Continues

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Weekly Update: Week ending January 7th, 2019

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Market Data

as of January 4th, 2019


U.S. markets experienced more wild sessions last week before ending in positive territory as the recent turbulence continued. In fact, we are currently in the middle of some of the most volatile market performance in more than eight years. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 1.86%, the Dow added 1.61%, and the NASDAQ increased 2.34%. MSCI EAFE stocks also increased, posting a 1.42% weekly gain.

While the results may not seem especially dramatic, the path to get there certainly was. On Thursday, January 3, domestic stocks plunged, as factory data and a tech warning spooked investors. Then, the next day, the S&P 500, Dow, and NASDAQ each gained at least 3.3%. Friday’s performance marked one of the largest rallies since the beginning of this bull market.

What drove the market rally?

Two key events contributed to the huge jumps on Friday: 1) the latest labor report and 2) comments from the Federal Reserve Chairman.

1. December’s labor report exceeded projections.

Many people expected that the economy would add around 176,000 jobs last month. Instead, the latest data revealed that the increase was actually 312,000 new jobs in December—drastically beating expectations. Not only did last month’s labor report show more jobs added than anticipated, but wage growth and labor market participation also increased.

Why does this data matter?

Investors have been very concerned that economic growth is slowing. This data helped quell worries that a recession is ahead.

2. The Fed shared new policy perspectives.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell told the American Economic Association that the Federal Reserve understands the market’s worries and hasn’t predetermined its future interest rate hikes.

Why does this update matter?

Some of the uneasiness the markets have shown recently are a result of concerns that the Fed is tightening monetary policy too quickly. Powell’s comments indicate the Fed is sensitive to economic conditions, an update that many investors wanted to hear.

What is on the horizon?

A number of unresolved situations remain for the markets and economy. The government shutdown continues, and a solution doesn’t appear imminent at the moment. Trade dynamics are also still an important consideration, especially since corporations are now issuing warnings that trade is affecting their profits. Meanwhile, U.S. officials will be meeting with China this week to talk once again.

For now, the volatility we are experiencing may continue. Remember, we’re closely tracking developments to see how they may affect your financial life. If you have questions about how to weather these ups and downs, we are here for you.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Monday: Factory Orders, ISM Non-Mfg Index

Tuesday: JOLTS

Wednesday: FOMC Minutes

Thursday: Jobless Claims

Friday: CPI

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-04/all-the-days-are-big-days-for-stocks-as-bulls-bears-trade-blows?srnd=premium

[1] http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=%21DJI&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO

[1] https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/stock-market-investors-react-to-us-china-trade-talks.html

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/stock-market-investors-react-to-us-china-trade-talks.html

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/stock-market-investors-react-to-us-china-trade-talks.html

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-st-rebounds-on-robust-jobs-report-dovish-powell-remarks-idUSKCN1OY154

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/stock-market-investors-react-to-us-china-trade-talks.html

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[1]https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-st-rebounds-on-robust-jobs-report-dovish-powell-remarks-idUSKCN1OY154

How Much is Your Advisor's Commission Costing You?

Fee-Only Insurance Advice

Author: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Historically, commissions generated by the sale of insurance (or investment) products create a conflict of interest for the advisor that is typically not understood by the investor. Take for example, a hypothetical client with a $1,000,000 Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) retirement account being sold an annuity by a commission-based advisor. The advisor will be paid a commission from the sale, sometimes over 10% of the value of the account at the time of issuance. In this case, we’ll use a 10% commission rate, or $100,000 for the sake of simplicity. This figure may seem obscurely large, but it is a common commission rate seen within the industry

Currently, the TSP has a fee of 0.03%, one of the most cost-effective retirement platforms in existence. Assuming the agent has the investment advisory licences to do so, they can recommend that the client roll their $1,000,000 TSP account into a high fee (rider fee 1.25%+) annuity, and still receive a $100,000 commission. Should that occur, the client may face $12,500 more per year in fees, lower performance, and a “lock-up” period in the form of a surrender charge. Clearly, this is not in the best interest of the client, yet the agent will still be legally permitted to call himself a “fiduciary”.

Even more unsettling, the financial advisor has the choice to present annuities that provide him with the highest commission payout possible. Though one annuity may not have an annual fee at all, or pay the client a higher return, the advisor has full discretion over what is recommended to the client. The advisor has no obligation to recommend the better product, and can easily for-go a better performing annuity that pays him 5% ($50,000) on $1,000,000, so that he may earn 10% ($100,000) for the poor annuity product.

Should the client unknowingly decide to go with the annuity that pays the agent more, there is the potential of hundreds of thousands of dollars to be lost in performance opportunity cost and annuity fees over 30 years. The client would have simply been better off never meeting the advisor at all, instead leaving the TSP retirement account invested in its low-cost platform. This unfortunate conflict is constant within the financial services industry. As such, we are passionate about making transparency and honesty a focal point of advisor-client relationships while providing comprehensive advice for both investment strategies and insurance products.

To further illustrate how commissions impact annuity investor returns, we have taken a fixed indexed annuity illustration from the largest insurance company in the world and compared projected performance to its fee-only counterpart. To start, this particular product is one of the most competitive products this company offers. Agents who sell this annuity must accept a significantly lower commission rate to begin with, yet the benefit to the client by removing this commission is astonishing.

In this example, a 60 year old male is investing $1,000,000 in the competitive annuity from the largest insurance company in the world. For the sake of this example we will call the commissioned annuity, Annuity A. The non-commissioned version of this annuity will be called Annuity B.

Annuity+A.png

The investor may begin income at any point with this product, but in this example he has chosen to begin income on year 7. This product has a 1.05% rider fee, and its growth rate is determined by the S&P 500 on an annual point-to-point basis. This interest credits from the S&P 500 will increase the accumulation (account) value of the investor, and increase the lifetime income payment once the withdrawal period begins. The insurance company sets a cap on annual interest credits. Annuity A has a cap rate of 5.75%, yet Annuity B will have the cap rate increased to 7%. This is because the insurance company has increased the cap rate to the investor, a direct result of the reduced cost of the product’s sale without a commission to an agent.

Annuity+B.png


This already competitive product (Annuity A) begins income on year 7 at $71,677. Annuity B begins income at $78,389 on year 7. This $7,967 difference is obviously significant, but allowing time increase the difference in the performance of the two products shows how dramatic the removal of the commission can be towards the returns of the investor.  

Over 30 years, the difference in income between Annuity A and B is $616,790 for a 60 year old male investing $1,000,000. Now if we were to invest $2,500,000, this difference would increase to $1,541,975. For an investor investing $10M, this difference would skyrocket to $6,167,901. To reiterate, this is the difference in projected income from simply removing the commission from annuity A. Undoubtedly, the removal of the commission can have massive difference in investor experience, especially as the amount of money and time invested within the account increases.

Problems with Commissioned Fixed Indexed Annuities:

  • High commissions keep cap rates or participation rates low thereby reducing growth potential

  • Carriers often use different rates for “new money” vs “renewals,” meaning the cap or participation rates clients received when they opened the policy may be lowered after the first year

  • Long (10-15 years) and expensive surrender periods are often found in traditional FIAs

  • Sold to clients as equity replacements even though assets are not invested in the market

How Commission-Free FIA’s help:

  • The elimination of commissions result in cap rates and participation rates that are generally significantly higher than commissioned products

  • Sentinel only works with carriers with track records of consistent cap and participation rates

  • Surrender periods are reasonable and surrender penalties are aligned with investment costs

  • FIAs are posited as fixed income replacements, not equity replacements, setting proper performance expectations for advisors and clients.

Comparison.png

We can apply the same commissioned-free insurance product example to any insurance or annuity program. This includes Variable Annuities, Buffer Annuities, Fixed Annuities, Variable Universal Life (VUL), Indexed Universal Life (IUL), Universal Life (UL), or Whole Life Insurance. The client will always benefit from the removal of the commission paid out the the agent. The monetary value of this removed commission exponentially increases with the size of the investor’s account.

The massive difference in performance can also be seen in variable annuities. Variable annuities provide a tax-deferred investment vehicle, and offer insurance benefits such as income or a death benefit. To pay for this benefit, insurance carriers will charge a “mortality and expense” fee. The amount of this charge is directly impacted by the commission paid to the agent at the time of the contract’s issuance.

Problems with Commissioned Variable Annuities:

  • Average Mortality & Expense Fee: 1.25%*

  • Investments often have 12b-1 fees making cost of funds 0.35-0.50%, more expensive than their comparable mutual funds

  • Hidden fees clients may not be aware of.

  • Surrender charges create illiquidity and impose significant penalties if clients withdraw assets

  • Investment restrictions often imposed. 60/40 investment limitations and/or managed volatility investments are commonplace.

Benefit of Commission-Free Variable Annuities:

  • Average Mortality & Expense Fee: 0.33%*

  • Sentinel encourages carriers we work with to utilize institutional share class funds to drive costs down (not all carriers we offer do so)

  • Sentinel explicitly presents fees associated with all products we utilize

  • Sentinel’s VA offerings are free of surrender charges and surrender periods

  • Many of Sentinel's products offer investment flexibility with variety of extensive underlying fund options - often less expensive than comparable options on the market.

M&E Comparison.png

*Average M&E - Morningstar, 2018; Average calculated based on four product offerings: TIAA M&E assumes as $100k-$499k account size

How significant is this? 1.25%-0.33%= 0.92% in fees per year. On a $1,500,000 account, this equates to savings of $13,800 per year. These are for-certain expenses that can be saved by an investor electing to work with a fee-only planner over a commissioned sales agent. Not only are these dramatic savings and calculable value-add of a fee-only planner, but these are fees saved only on M&E expenses. This does not account for potential savings in expense ratios and other sales charges within variable annuities

Our Insurance Solutions:

Wealth Accumulation:

Leveraging the benefits of tax deferral and downside protection can help individuals grow their wealth. Our solutions include an innovative products designed to provide a buffer of downside protection on a low-cost indexed investment, as well as a variety of low-cost, investment-only variable annuities.

Retirement Income:

Our clients want income they can rely on. We offer a range of commission-free products designed to help provide income in a cost-effective way. Commission-free annuities can provide greater levels of guaranteed income, mitigate longevity risk, guaranteed growth, and certain tax withdrawal strategies.

Annuity Rescue:

Traditional, commission-based annuities are notoriously expensive. Sentinel provides access to a variety of repriced, commission-free products that can reduce fees and investment costs. Talk to our advisors to explore cost savings, discover ways to potentially improve death benefits, and create efficient withdrawal methods or expend investment selection.

Principal Protection

Using insurance to protect principal can provide meaningful benefit to an individual’s portfolio, as well as their peace of mind. Our commission-free solutions can provide hedging strategies, fixed returns or downside protection.

Unbiased Investment & Insurance Analysis

Product & Strategy Audit: Sentinel performs an audit of investment and insurance strategies currently used. This provides a basis for Sentinel to intimately understand strategies, knowing when to recommend them for the needs of the client and their plan, aiming to implement the most effective strategies available to the industry.

Client Review (existing insurance & investment holdings): We work with clients to review existing assets and insurance coverage to explore whether client needs are being met in the most efficient way possible. When appropriate, we will provide multiple options to cover each goal or risk, which may improve client long-term outcomes.

Implementation: If the client decides the investment or commission-free insurance strategy is right for them, Sentinel processes the implementation of the recommendations for both investments and insurance.

Stocks Down, What Now?

Posted By: Ryan Kimes, CFP

Weekly Update – Week ending December 17th, 2018

Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

Last week brought more volatility to the markets. While domestic indexes had some rallies as positive trade news emerged earlier in the week, by Friday, December 14, they had erased any gains. The last time major U.S. indexes ended in correction territory was March 2016, meaning they are now at least 10% below their highs from the past year.

For the week, the S&P 500 dropped 1.26%, the Dow lost 1.18%, and the NASDAQ declined 0.84%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also had a 0.89% weekly loss.

Why did markets struggle last week?

With last week’s declines, the S&P 500 was in the midst of its worst December since 2002. Concerns about global growth fueled much of the declines as China and Europe released economic data that missed projections. The ongoing trade tension contributed to slower growth in China, which drove some investors to worry about U.S. growth, as well.

We did, however, receive solid domestic data last week, including a healthy retail sales report. But, through the week, investors seemed less interested in this data and positive trade updates, focusing instead on understanding the global economy’s standing.

What might be ahead?

This week presents a potentially significant event for domestic markets: the Federal Reserve’s commentary after its latest meeting. The Fed will likely raise interest rates during the meeting, which would be the 9th increase since December 2015. Markets expect this hike, but what investors aren’t sure about is how the Fed will describe its plan for 2019. Some analysts believe that if the Fed indicates it will pause or slow rate hikes next year, we could see a sizable “Santa Claus rally” through the end of December.

For short-term traders, predicting whether 2018 will stay in negative territory or stocks will end the year on a surge is in many ways a guessing game. What we are here to do is help you manage your investments for the long term. We will follow this week’s developments closely and strive to determine how they may affect the economy going forward. Ultimately, we are focusing on your goals not just through the year, but for the rest of your life.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Monday: Housing Market Index

Tuesday: Housing Starts

Wednesday: Existing Home Sales, FOMC Meeting Announcement

Thursday: Jobless Claims

Friday: GDP, Durable Goods Orders, Consumer Sentiment

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/14/us-stock-futures-dow-jones-sp-500-nasdaq-to-open-lower-on-friday.html

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=%21DJI&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO

https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks-weekahead/wall-st-looks-to-fed-outlook-wednesday-for-early-christmas-gift-idUSKBN1OD2E7

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/14/us-stock-futures-dow-jones-sp-500-nasdaq-to-open-lower-on-friday.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-st-tumbles-on-global-growth-worries-jj-decline-idUSKBN1OD1HP

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-13/asia-stocks-to-dip-as-rally-stalls-dollar-climbs-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks-weekahead/wall-st-looks-to-fed-outlook-wednesday-for-early-christmas-gift-idUSKBN1OD2E7

Volatility Continues

Posted By: Ryan Kimes, CFP

Weekly Update – December 10th, 2018

Capture.PNG

Markets went for another wild ride last week, as major domestic indexes swung back and forth. By Friday, December 7, markets had posted their worst weekly performance since March—and the S&P 500 and Dow both moved into negative territory for 2018.

Overall, the S&P 500 lost 4.60%, the Dow declined 4.50%, and the NASDAQ dropped 4.92%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also struggled, posting a 2.27% weekly loss.

Let’s take a look at what is driving this challenging market performance.

Examining Recent Volatility

1. How volatile are stocks right now?

If recent market fluctuations have felt intense to you, there’s a reason: They are. The past three weeks have had the most volatility since 2008’s financial crisis. During this time, domestic indexes have ricocheted between gains and losses. The large swings have occurred both week-to-week and within daily trading.

2. What is causing the volatility?

Many of the same themes we’ve discussed throughout 2018 are continuing to affect market behavior. Ultimately, many investors are worried that corporate profits and global growth will suffer if trade tension persists and the Federal Reserve continues raising interest rates.

Concerns about Treasury yields were also on investors’ minds. For part of last week, 3-year Treasury notes had higher yields than 5-year notes. Called an inversion, a higher yield on shorter-term Treasuries can be a sign of a coming recession. The yield spread between 2-year and 10-year Treasury notes, which people focus on more, has not inverted.

3. Should you feel concerned?

With many headlines to digest, from conspiracy charges against a Chinese tech leader to comments from the Fed, investors had a lot to consider last week. The difference is how they reacted to this information. For some time, markets were basically ignoring headlines. Now, they’ve moved in the opposite direction into what one investment manager called “a period of hypersensitivity.”

Consequently, recent market performance may seem unnerving. As is often the case, however, the reality may be less extreme than what appears at first glance, especially when you look at the fundamentals.

4. What do the fundamentals tell us?

While last week’s market performance saw large fluctuations, the fundamentals we received were far less dramatic. We learned that two sectors beat expectations in November: manufacturing and service. Further, the November labor report revealed fewer new jobs than anticipated, but unemployment is still at historically low levels, as job and wage growth continue.

Remember, risks exist in the markets and economy, and we’re analyzing these details closely. If you have any questions about your financial standing or anything you hear in the news, we are here to talk.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Monday: JOLTS

Tuesday: PPI-FD

Wednesday: CPI

Thursday: Jobless Claims

Friday: Retail Sales, Industrial Production

[1] http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=%21DJI&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO

[1] https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-07/stocks-drubbing-vexes-fund-managers-as-year-end-pressure-mounts?srnd=premium

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-07/stocks-drubbing-vexes-fund-managers-as-year-end-pressure-mounts?srnd=premium

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/07/stock-market-dow-futures-fall-ahead-of-unemployment-figures.html

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-06/asia-signals-mixed-start-for-stocks-yields-drop-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/07/stock-market-dow-futures-fall-ahead-of-unemployment-figures.html

[1] https://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2018/12/3/the-ism-manufacturing-index-rose-to-59.3-in-november

https://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2018/12/6/the-ism-non-manufacturing-index-rose-to-60.7-in-november

[1]http://wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=485662&cust=wsj-us&year=2018&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top

Why Stocks Are Dropping

Posted By: Ryan Kimes, CFP

Weekly Update – November 26th, 2018

11.26.18.PNG

Last week was a tough one for markets. The S&P 500 dropped 3.79% and experienced its worst results during a Thanksgiving week since 1939. While the index officially entered correction territory on Friday, it closed 10.2% below its most recent record high. Meanwhile, the Dow and NASDAQ continued the downward trend, losing 4.44%, and 4.26%, respectively. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also declined, posting a 1.12% loss.

Reading these results may feel quite unpleasant and elicit concerns about what is ahead. As is often the case, the story behind the numbers can help us understand the complexity and what this performance means.

Why did stocks drop?

Plummeting oil prices were one of the biggest drivers behind the market’s losses, as investors worried that too much oil is available. These concerns have contributed to oil experiencing seven weeks of losses in a row and dropping more than 20% so far this month.

While oil was a key focus last week, many other details were also on investors’ minds. Major tech companies continued to struggle and posted sizable losses for the week. In addition, the markets still don’t know how the Brexit deal, political challenges in Europe, and ongoing trade tension will all work out.

Examined together, these challenges can create questions about the strength of global growth.

Will the market losses continue?

No one can predict the future, but a few data points and perspectives can help deepen understanding of the current environment. We believe the following two details are important for you to know:

1. Trading was light last week: The days before and after Thanksgiving had trading volume that was much lighter than normal, which often happens during this time period. This lower volume can exacerbate pricing trends, such as the declines we saw with oil. As a result, Friday’s performance may be less significant than it seems on the surface.

2. Black Friday shopping was strong: Brick-and-mortar stores had people lined up for discounted buys, and online purchases were 28.6% higher than in 2017. The holiday season is very important for retailers, and these initial results indicate consumer spending may remain strong through year’s end.

In the coming weeks, we will gain a clearer understanding of many market influences. President Trump and Chinese President Xi are scheduled to meet this week at the G20 summit to discuss trade. Right now, the markets may be assuming these talks won’t solve the trade tension and that an economic slowdown could be ahead. Investors may also doubt whether oil-producing countries can slow production fast enough to counter reduced demand.

Other experts believe we are experiencing a disconnect between what investors are feeling and what is truly happening in the economy. As a result, a so-called “Santa Claus” rally could occur as consumer spending continues during the holiday season.

But these perspectives are opinions, not a crystal ball. No one can say for sure how these complex scenarios will play out. Rather than rely on guesswork or headlines, we’ll continue to look for clear trends and insight that support your long-term goals. If you have questions or want to talk about your current investments and strategy, we are here for you.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Tuesday: Consumer Confidence, FHFA House Price Index

Wednesday: GDP, New Home Sales

Thursday: Pending Home Sales Index, Jobless Claims

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-22/asia-stocks-to-slip-end-weekly-drop-pound-jumps-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX&region=usa&culture=en-US

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-street-drops-sp-500-confirms-correction-idUSKCN1NS1FA

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=!DJI&region=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO

https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-street-drops-sp-500-confirms-correction-idUSKCN1NS1FA

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil/oil-plunges-nearly-8-percent-despite-talk-of-output-cut-idUSKCN1NS012

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/23/stock-markets-dow-set-for-losses-as-trading-resumes-for-half-day.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-22/asia-stocks-to-slip-end-weekly-drop-pound-jumps-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-22/asia-stocks-to-slip-end-weekly-drop-pound-jumps-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/when-does-the-stock-market-close-on-black-friday-2018-11-23?dist=markets

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-key-reasons-the-bottom-is-falling-out-of-oil-prices-on-black-friday-2018-11-23

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-street-drops-sp-500-confirms-correction-idUSKCN1NS1FA

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/stocks-poised-to-open-lower-in-black-friday-trade-notch-weekly-loss-of-more-than-3-2018-11-23?dist=markets

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-street-drops-sp-500-confirms-correction-idUSKCN1NS1FA

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil/oil-plunges-nearly-8-percent-despite-talk-of-output-cut-idUSKCN1NS012

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/stocks-poised-to-open-lower-in-black-friday-trade-notch-weekly-loss-of-more-than-3-2018-11-23?dist=markets

Analyzing the Data within Market Declines

Posted By: Ryan Kimes, CFP

Weekly Update – November 20th, 2018

*The 11/16/18 performance numbers for the Dow comparing the past week’s results Year-to-date, and to the previous 1, 5, and 10 years results were not available at the time this chart was published.

*The 11/16/18 performance numbers for the Dow comparing the past week’s results Year-to-date, and to the previous 1, 5, and 10 years results were not available at the time this chart was published.

Markets experienced more volatility last week, as perspectives on trade, tech, and retail pulled investor sentiment back and forth. Although domestic indexes were up on Friday, November 16, they still posted losses for the week. In all, the S&P 500 dropped 1.61%, the Dow declined 2.22%, and the NASDAQ gave back 2.15%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE ended the week down 1.51%.

A major topic over the past couple weeks has been the ongoing, significant declines in oil prices. Last week, we did experience one turnaround—on Friday, signs that oil production may decrease next month helped oil prices start to rebound. This pricing increase contributed to S&P 500 energy stocks rising 1.1%.

In addition to oil’s current trajectory, let’s examine some of the key October data we received last week:

Retail Sales Beat Projections

October’s retail sales were the highest in 5 months—up 4.6% from this time last year. While some of this growth comes from rebuilding efforts after the latest hurricanes, the overall data suggests that consumer spending remains strong. As a result, we may be able to expect ongoing economic growth.

Inflation Picked Up

The consumer price index had its largest monthly increase since the beginning of 2018. From gas to rent to cars, U.S. retail prices rose in October. Inflation is still relatively stable, however, which should mean that the Federal Reserve will continue on its current, gradual path of interest-rate increases.

Industrial Production Increased

Industrial production only grew by 0.1% in October, but the latest data also indicated that previous months were higher than originally thought. In fact, mining reached its highest point ever in August as production of oil and gas surged. Ultimately, this report paints a somewhat mixed picture for manufacturing: For now, output remains solid, but manufacturers have several concerns, including trade and global growth. Production has slowed since August, and we’ll now have to wait to learn whether this decline continues or rebounds.

Examined together, last week’s data may show that the economy still has strength, but questions remain. We will continue to monitor these and many other reports to help gain a clearer perspective on what may lie ahead.

As we look to this week, we want to take a moment to say thank you for being one of our valued clients. We recognize the trust you place in our team and are thankful for your relationship during this holiday—and every week of the year.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Monday: Housing Market Index

Tuesday: Housing Starts

Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders, Consumer Sentiment, Existing Home Sales, Jobless Claims

Thursday: Thanksgiving Day

Friday: NYSE Early Close

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-15/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-gain-brexit-slams-pound-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/sp-dow-advance-on-trade-optimism-nvidia-sinks-nasdaq-idUSKCN1NL1K9 http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX&region=usa&culture=en-US http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=!DJItr&region=usa&culture=en-US http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO

https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/sp-dow-advance-on-trade-optimism-nvidia-sinks-nasdaq-idUSKCN1NL1K9

https://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2018/11/15/retail-sales-rose-0.8percent-in-october

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/us-retail-sales-oct-2018.html

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/consumer-inflation-posts-biggest-jump-in-nine-months-on-higher-cost-of-gas-rent-used-cars-cpi-shows-2018-11-14

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/industrial-production-inches-up-in-october-as-fed-finds-record-mining-output-2018-11-16