March 19, 2022 Weekly Equity Market Recap. Notching their biggest weekly gain in 16 month, the S&P had staged a four-day rally that tallied 6% from the close on Monday. The NASDAQ which had taken the brunt of the recent selling rose 10%. Stocks were buoyed on Federal Reserve comments and only 0.25% rate action, along with oil dropping to $94 a barrel after U.S. crude oil topped $130 last week. The Federal Reserve comments also included “the Committee expects to begin reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities at a coming meeting." Federal Reserve Board members and Federal Reserve Bank presidents under their individual assessments of projected appropriate monetary policy, which shows that the median projection for the Federal funds rate is 1.9% for the end of 2022.
March 12, 2022 Weekly Equity Market Recap. The Nasdaq dropped 2.2% and S&P 500 fell 1.3% for the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down only 0.7% . However, the Dow posted a fifth straight weekly loss - its longest losing streak since 2019 on dropping consumer sentiment, inflation hikes and global military tensions. As near-term inflation worries mount, U.S. consumer sentiment is at a 11-year low dropping to 59.7 so far this month, from 62.8 in February. The West Texas intermediate topped $130 a barrel in recent sessions on oil supply shocks and losing 10% of supply; U.S. halted purchases from Russia given the humanitarian calamity in Ukraine. Insofar as we maintained our real asset portfolio hedges in commodities, gold, energy, and treasury inflation-protected securities, we may look to partly reduce in the coming weeks given Russia-Ukraine are in talks to reach peace terms.
March 5, 2022 Weekly Equity Market Recap. For the week, both the S&P 500 & the Dow Jones lost about 1.3%, while the Nasdaq dropped nearly 3%. With the broad market U.S. index marking its third consecutive loss, investors also were exposed to the second correction on the year, where the S&P 500 dropped below 10%. As previously highlighted last week's investment blog, Russia’s unprovoked war with Ukraine is disrupting commodity pricing and trade, while also elevating fear of greater escalation in the region, including the potential nuclear option. Further, with 10% of U.S. oil imports from Russia and WTI prices reaching $115/barrel, exorbitant energy prices continue to spike inflation costs on much of the U.S. economy, ranging from shipping, transportation and a hefty bill at the gas pumps. Fortunately for our client portfolios, we reduced risk and added smart hedges last week – gold, commodities, energy and treasury inflation-protected securities – all of which have been paying off. On Friday, nonfarm Payrolls surged 678k for the month of February, a much stronger figure than the projected 440k by economists, which moved the unemployment rate to 3.8% from 4.0% (the lowest since February 2020). However, even this upbeat economic result was overshadowed by the economic toll of rising inflation and geopolitical tensions. Of course, the greatest market disruptor is undoubtedly war crimes perpetrated by a major military power controlled by "strongarm" Vladimir Putin who is increasingly perceived as an evil madman by the civilized world.