French Election, China, Fed: Wealth Economic Update May 15, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • France-516919908_360As expected, Emmanuel Macron won the French Presidential election in convincing fashion, securing 66% of Sunday’s runoff vote against National Front leader Marine Le Pen. “I will fight with all my strength against the divisions that are undermining us,” Macron declared in his victory speech. Global market reaction was subdued as the polls showed this to be the likely result, but the victory was nonetheless welcomed as it solidifies France’s place in the European Union. Also part of Macron’s policy goals are to reform France’s labor market, unify the country’s pension plans and reduce the budget deficit.
  • Reshaping their trade relationship, the U.S. and China have revealed a new 10-point plan that will see China open its market to American companies and agencies. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the import/export deals on beef, poultry, natural gas, agriculture, financial services and biotechnology will help reduce the massive trade deficit that the U.S. currently has with China.

Markets

  • Markets dipped a bit this week, continuing the period of low volatility. The S&P 500 fell 0.26% and closed at a of 2,391. The Dow Jones lost 0.34% for the week and closed at 20,897. Year to date, the S&P is up 7.56% and the Dow is up 6.67%.
  • Interest rates moved modestly lower this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.85% and 2.33%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose 3.46% this week, closing at $47.82 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 10.98%.
  • The spot price of Gold was mostly unchanged this week, closing at $1,228.43 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 7.18%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell by 2,000 from last week, coming in at 236,000. The Labor Department did not note any factors that may have affected the data this week. The four week moving average for claims ticked up to 244,000.
  • Retail sales increased 0.4% in April, falling short of expectations for a 0.6% gain. Retail sales ex-autos increased 0.3% in the month.
  • The headline Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) rose by 0.2% in April, in line with expectations. This modest rise came despite a 1.1% rise in energy prices and a 0.2% increase in food prices. Over the last 12 months, headline CPI has risen 2.2%.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy costs) disappointed and rose only 0.1% compared to expectations of 0.2%. Over the last 12 months, core prices have risen 1.9%.
  • The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose by 0.7 to a reading of 97.7 in the preliminary May report. The survey found consumers’ expectations for the future rose during the month and their assessment of current conditions was flat.

Fact of the Week

  • Core CPI (excludes food and energy costs) disappointed and rose only 0.1% compared to expectations of 0.2%. Over the last 12 months, core prices have risen 1.9%.

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Steve Meves, CFA® – (630) 801-2217 – smeves@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

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