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2017 Third Quarter Review & Outlook

Equities

The U.S. stock market posted solid third-quarter gains as upbeat news on the global economy overshadowed a steady stream of negative news ranging from catastrophic hurricanes to cyber hacks and war chatter between the Trump administration and North Korea. The S&P 500 Index rose 4% since June 30, notching its eighth consecutive quarterly advance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 4.9% in the past three months, posting its longest streak of quarterly advances (also eight) since 1997. This blue-chip index is up 13% this year. Stock market gains also continued to be broad internationally, spanning many regions and sectors.

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2017 First Half Review & Outlook

Equities

Global stock markets collectively had their best opening half in years. All but four of the 30 major indexes representing the world’s biggest stock markets rose—a first six-month performance unmatched since 2009 according to The Wall Street Journal. In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index each rose 8%, despite President Donald Trump’s challenges with the media and advancing his political agenda. Investors attribute the broad breadth of the rally to strengthening corporate earnings, improving global economies and continued support from foreign central banks. High stock valuations and tranquil trading this year have prompted concerns that investor complacency is setting in. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen warned that asset valuations were “somewhat rich.” The S&P 500 Index trades above 18 times projected earnings over the next 12 months, around its highest level in 13 years. Still, this is well below the 26 times forward multiple reached at the dot-com bubble’s peak in 2000, according to FactSet.

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2017 First Quarter Review & Outlook

Equities
The U.S. stock market posted its biggest quarterly gain since the last quarter of 2015—extending the fourth quarter post-election rally—lifted by a brightening economic outlook and rising confidence among businesses, consumers and investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a 4.7% gain, while the broad S&P 500 Index jumped 6.1% over the past three months. Despite a range of uncertainties across the globe including elections in Europe and a fledgling Trump administration, the first quarter of 2017 was the least volatile in more than half a century. The CBOE Volatility Index (known as Wall Street’s “fear gauge”) recorded its second lowest quarterly average on record, according to the WSJ Market Data Group.

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2016 Year-End Review & Outlook

Equities
U.S. stocks shook off a poor start for the year to log its best performance since 2013. Stocks weathered several shocks in 2016, including a possible global recession scare during the first quarter, Britain’s surprising vote to exit the European Union (Brexit) in the second quarter, and the shocking election of Donald Trump in November. The bulk of 2016’s gains came in the second half of the year. A rebound in corporate earnings, accelerating U.S. economic growth and stabilizing oil prices helped stoke investor enthusiasm for stocks. The rally gathered pace after the election of Mr. Trump as investors bet the new administration would usher in business-friendly policies such as tax cuts, looser regulations and fiscal stimulus such as infrastructure spending.

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Market and Portfolio Update November 2016

U.S. stock indexes this Wednesday after the election were trading higher, paring steep pre-market stock futures losses, after an early-morning astonishing victory by Republican candidate Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton. This was preceded by fearful trading overnight in foreign markets (especially in Asia). After initial post-election market jitters, traders now appear to be evaluating the potential economic benefits from Trump's plans to cut taxes and spend money on infrastructure projects that would put Americans to work. This has seemed to calm the U.S. market for now.

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Third Quarter 2016

Investors shifted toward riskier stocks in the third quarter, which helped push major U.S. indexes to record highs and lifting optimism that the markets’ seven-year bull run (the second longest since 1942) will continue despite sputtering corporate earnings and a near-term hotly contested presidential election. The last three months ended with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 2.1%. The S&P 500 Index of top companies was up 3.3%. So much for the “sell in May and go away” theory of investing, as equities have risen over the last five months. The Dow in the past quarter was led by volatile technology stocks, which had lagged many other “defensive” sectors for the first half of the year; such as telecommunications and utilities.

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Second Quarter/First Half 2016 Review & Outlook

Global stock markets fell near the end of June after the citizens of Britain surprisingly voted to leave the European Union (EU), causing the largest two-day drop for U.S. stocks since August 2015. Despite the Brexit-induced market fall and the first-quarter market correction, The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 indexes ended the first half of 2016 with slight gains.

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Market and Portfolio Update June 2016

Instability continues to rule on Wall Street this year as stocks bounced around in choppy trading over the past few weeks. Lately there has been a resuming flight from global stocks and other risky assets as investor worries mount over a myriad of concerns. These include slowing global growth, declining oil prices, uncertainty over Fed interest rate policy and, more recently, fears over the health of European banks.

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Market and Portfolio Update May 2016

Instability continues to rule on Wall Street this year as stocks bounced around in choppy trading over the past few weeks. Lately there has been a resuming flight from global stocks and other risky assets as investor worries mount over a myriad of concerns. These include slowing global growth, declining oil prices, uncertainty over Fed interest rate policy and, more recently, fears over the health of European banks.

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First Quarter 2016

Instability continues to rule on Wall Street this year as stocks bounced around in choppy trading over the past few weeks. Lately there has been a resuming flight from global stocks and other risky assets as investor worries mount over a myriad of concerns. These include slowing global growth, declining oil prices, uncertainty over Fed interest rate policy and, more recently, fears over the health of European banks.

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Market and Portfolio Update February 2016

Instability continues to rule on Wall Street this year as stocks bounced around in choppy trading over the past few weeks. Lately there has been a resuming flight from global stocks and other risky assets as investor worries mount over a myriad of concerns. These include slowing global growth, declining oil prices, uncertainty over Fed interest rate policy and, more recently, fears over the health of European banks.

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Market and Portfolio Update January 2016

Investor anxiety deepened last week as a familiar combination of new lows in oil prices, stumbling Chinese stocks and weak U.S. economic data sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its biggest one-day percentage drop since early September. On Friday, January 15, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 391 points, or 2.4%, to end at 15,988.

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Fourth Quarter 2015

U.S. stocks had their worst annual performance since 2008, closing out a rocky year that tempered investors’ expectations for gains in 2016. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a basket of 30 large-company stocks, lost 2.2% in 2015, while the broader S&P 500 Index fell 0.7%.

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Third Quarter 2015 - Summary

Stock markets around the world closed out its worst quarter in at least four years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.6% over the past three months, sparked by fears of a slowdown in China’s economic growth and uncertainty over the timing of a Federal Reserve interest-rate rise.  

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Third Quarter 2015

Stock markets around the world closed out its worst quarter in at least four years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.6% over the past three months, sparked by fears of a slowdown in China’s economic growth and uncertainty over the timing of a Federal Reserve interest-rate rise.   

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Market and Portfolio Update September 2015

On Thursday, September 17th the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided not to raise Fed funds borrowing rates from its near-zero level.  

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Second Quarter 2015

The stock market in the second quarter shifted into neutral. A list of woes tripped up investors: Greece defaulted on its debts, U.S. corporate earnings were weak, and the U.S. economy for the year remained conflicted with mixed reports.  

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Market and Portfolio Update July 2015

The investor world is watching a Greek tragedy play out as it’s government and European negotiators attempt to resolve Greece’s seemly insurmountable debt crisis. 

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Market and Portfolio Update March 2015

After the Federal Reserve started scaling back its quantitative easing (QE) bond-buying program in late 2013, bond investors began holding their breath that an end of the Fed's stimulus programs (including near-zero borrowing rates) wouldn't lead to a jump in bond yields, this much lower prices.

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First Quarter 2015

For U.S. stocks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index hit new records during the first quarter, but the rally stalled in late March amid concerns about the impact of a stronger dollar on profits of big U.S.-based multinational firms.

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2014 Year End Review & Outlook

The Dow Jones Industrial Average notched its sixth straight annual gain, rising 7.5%; the longest consecutive annual bull market since the nine-year run of the 1990’s.

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Third Quarter 2014

A strengthened dollar and on-going worldwide central bankers’ easy-money policies prodded the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a 1.3% gain for the third quarter.

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Second Quarter 2014

Despite negative economic growth and weakening corporate profits reported for the first quarter, U.S. stocks continued its advance during the second quarter.

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First Quarter 2014

During the first quarter stocks struggled to maintain the upward momentum of last year, though they remained near record highs.

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2013 Year-End Review & Outlook

Despite a year fraught with economic perils-including the prospects of reduced Federal Reserve stimulus and a federal governement shutdown over the budget and debt ceiling - the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 27% in 2013 for its best annual performance since 1995; capping the Dow Industrials' biggest annual rally in 18 years.

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Investment advice offered through Strategic Financial Concepts, LLC, a registered investment advisor.

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