- Stocks are up again, +2.87% in the US and 1.97% x-USA.
- It is still early, but earnings reports have been positive, sales have been mixed.
- Economic reports slightly on the negative side.
- Investment legend Jack Bogle passes.
US stocks fell slightly on Monday, and then rallied the remainder of the week to finish up by 2.87%. International equities advanced by 1.97%. Bonds fell by 0.19%. The S&P 500 is off to its 6th best start of all-time at +6.5%. Small-cap stocks are up by 10.03%. Since the low on December 24th, the S&P is up by 13.6%.
Stocks were helped by progress on trade talks between the US and China and by earnings reports. It is still very early in the earnings season, 69% of companies have reported earnings higher than the consensus and 49% have beaten sales estimates. Companies that have reported have generally had a favorable reaction in the market. This is the opposite of last quarter, where even positive reports were often ignored or sold on. However, guidance going forward has been more negative than positive.
There was actually a positive report this week. The Philly Fed General Business Activity Index hit a three-month high, up by 7.9 points to 17.0. New orders increased at the fastest rate in six months. But managers were less certain about orders going forward. However, the Empire Manufacturing report came in much less than the estimate, 3.9 versus 10.0 and down from 10.9. Overall last week, economic indicators slightly missed projections.
The labor market remains very strong. Jobless claims came in at 213,000, that is near historical lows.
The news was worse in China. Imports and exports are falling. Imports were down by 7.6%.
Investment legend Jack Bogle passed this week. Jack was the founder of Vanguard and essentially invented the index fund. His efforts at reducing costs and making investing more efficient have saved investors billions. His common-sense approach to investing inspired legions of followers and it can be said that he, more than anyone else, has single-handily changed the way people invest.
Bruce Konners, CPA, CFA, PFS
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
The purpose of this commentary is to provide readers with a summary of recent market and economic news. It is not intended to provide trading advice. Investors should have a long-term plan and should consider working with a professional investment advisor. The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the presenter(s). Any discussion of investments and investment strategies represents the presenter’s views as of the date created and are subject to change without notice. The opinions expressed are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Any forecasts may not prove to be true. Economic predictions are based on estimates and are subject to change.