China, Michigan flood: O2 Wealth Economic Update, May 22, 2020

U.S. and World News

  • The People’s Republic of China proposed a national security bill for Hong Kong which could result in Chinese intelligence agencies setting up bases there, threatening the independence and pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy lawmakers called the plans “the end of Hong Kong”, arguing that it is a violation of the “one country, two systems” agreement created when Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997. In the proposal, China would annex laws into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, without any local legislative scrutiny and are intended to safeguard the central government’s “overall jurisdiction” as well as Hong Kong’s “high autonomy” given Hong Kong’s “increasingly notable national security risks”. Currently, China can take no enforcement action in the city of Hong Kong, but this proposal would allow agencies to be set up in the city, expanding China’s presence. President Trump warned that the United States would react “very strongly” if China put the bill into law, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it would be the “death knell” for Hong Kong’s autonomy.
  • flood-1150729894Residents of Midland, Michigan began returning to their homes and assessing the damage from what is being called the “500-year flood” caused by a long period of heavy rain and the failure of two dams protecting the city. Nearly 11,000 people were evacuated from the city as the Tittabawassee River rose to a record 35.05 feet, much higher than the flood stage of 24 feet and left Midland underwater. Concerns over potential spread of toxic contamination arose as floodwaters overtook containment ponds at the nearby Dow chemical plant. Flood warnings remain in effect for the entire area and a forecast exists for more rain next week


  • Markets surged this week as states begin reopening. The S&P 500 spiked 3.27% and closed at 2,955. The Dow Jones jumped 3.43% and closed at 24,465. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is down -7.77% and the Dow Jones is down -13.40%.
  • Yields rose higher this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are yielding 0.34% and 0.66%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude rallied higher this week. Prices rose 13.38% and closed at $33.47 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are down -45.16%.
  • The spot price of Gold fell -0.50% and closed at $1,734.98 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 14.35%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell by 249,000 to 2.4 million and the four-week moving average of claims fell by 501,000 to 3 million. Claims rose by 59,000 in New York, 41,000 in Washington, and 36,000 in California. Claims fell by 55,000 in Georgia, 46,000 in Kentucky, and 35,000 in New Jersey.
  • The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index rose by 13.5 points to -43.1 versus expectations for a reading of -40.0
  • The level of housing starts fell 30.2% to 891,000 versus expectations for a decline of 25.9%
  • Building permits fell by 20.8% versus expectations for a decline of 25.9%
  • Existing home sales fell by 17.8% to a seasonally-adjusted-annualized rate of 4.33 million units versus expectations for a 19.9% decline.

Fact of the Week

  • This week in 1991, Michael Jordan won his second MVP title. When Jordan first launched his iconic Air Jordan sneaker with Nike in 1984, the company put a sales goal of $3million over 2 years for the shoe. The original Air Jordan went on to sell $126 million in the first year alone. (Source: Bleacher Report)

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730
Steve Meves CFA® – (630) 801-2217
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462
Ed Gorenz – (630) 906-5467
Mike Demski – (630) 966-2430
Mike Cava CFA®, CFP® – (630) 281-4522

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

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