Russia sanctions, China trade: Wealth Economic Update Aug 4, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • moscow-155388930_360President Trump has signed a bill that imposes sanctions on Russia after Moscow ordered the U.S. to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff and said it would seize two U.S. diplomatic properties. The new sanctions are the equivalent of a “full-scale trade war” according to Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev. The sanctions mark some of the strongest action Congress has taken against Russia since the Cold War. Meanwhile, the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election is taking a step forward as special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly convened a grand jury. The move would give him the power to compel witness testimony and obtain evidence. Links between the Trump campaign and Russia are subject to the investigation, although President Trump has deemed the probe a “witch hunt”.
  • A planned announcement by President Trump outlining a significant trade action against China has been postponed. It was expected that President Trump would direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation into Chinese violations of U.S. intellectual property rights and forced technology transfer. The move would bypass the World Trade Organization and is getting some rare bipartisan support; with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer saying that the U.S. should skip any investigation and take immediate action against China. It is now unknown when or if this trade action will be announced.

Markets

  • Markets were generally higher this week. The S&P 500 rose 0.23% and closed at 2,477. The Dow Jones rose 1.22% for the week and closed at a new All-Time High of 22,093. Year to date, the S&P is up 11.87% and the Dow is up 13.23%.
  • Interest rates ended the week a bit lower. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.82% and 2.26%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil decreased by 0.38% this week, closing at $49.52 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 7.85%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week lower by 0.81%, closing at $1,259.31 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 9.74%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 from last week, coming in at 240,000. The Labor Department noted no factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims held steady at 242,000.
  • The July jobs reports came in better than expected with 209,000 jobs added, beating estimates of 180,000. The prior two months’ figures were revised upwards by 2,000, bringing the three month average for job gains to 194,000.
    • The headline unemployment rate edged down to 4.3%, in line with forecasts. The labor force participation rate ticked up 0.1% to 62.9%, making the reduction in the unemployment rate stronger.
    • Average hourly earnings increased by 0.3% in the month, meeting expectations. Over the last year, wages have grown 2.5%.
  • Headline PCE inflation was flat in the month of June, in line with consensus expectations. Over the last 12 months, headline PCE inflation has increased 1.4%.
    • Core PCE inflation (excludes food and energy, Fed’s preferred inflation measure) rose by 0.1% in June, also in line with expectations. Over the last 12 months, Core PCE inflation has increased 1.5%.

Fact of the Week

  • Since 1962, Congress has increased the nation’s debt ceiling 79 times. This amounts to once every 8 months over the last 55 years. This year, Congress must vote by mid-October to raise America’s debt ceiling or risk defaulting on its debt. (Source: Federal Reserve)

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

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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

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French Election, AHCA, Fed: Wealth Economic Update May 5, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • Voters in France will head to the polls on Sunday to elect a new President, selecting either Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen. The two candidates have been campaigning tirelessly since the first round of the election led to their selection in the run-off. In order to try to gain more broad appeal, the typically anti-EU Le Pen has eased off of her stance that if elected she would push for France’s exit from the European Union. Despite these efforts, Macron currently holds a sizable lead in the polling figures and is viewed as the more ‘status-quo’ candidate.
  • medical_360The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act by a slim 217-213 margin this week. “Make no mistake: This is a repeal and replace of Obamacare,” President Trump said after the bill’s passage. The legislation now faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where several Republican members have already signaled it could see major revisions. Reports also suggest that the Senate may write its own version of a bill.
  • The Federal Reserve held a policy meeting this week and held interest rates at their current levels as was the expectation in the market. The post-meeting statement acknowledged but downplayed the weak 1st quarter GDP growth, stating that it was likely ‘transitory,’ maintaining expectations of a June rate hike. The market is currently pricing in a nearly 100% probability that the Fed Funds Rate will be increased at the next meeting.

Markets

  • Markets continued to climb higher this week as economic data came in strong and international risks appeared to ease. The S&P 500 rose 0.66% and closed at a New All-Time High of 2,399. The Dow Jones gained 0.33% for the week and closed at 21,007. Year to date, the S&P is up 7.84% and the Dow is up 7.04%.
  • Interest rates moved modestly higher this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.88% and 2.35%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil dropped 5.68% this week, closing at $46.53 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 13.38%.
  • The spot price of Gold declined 3.12% this week, closing at $1,228.70 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 7.08%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell by 19,000 from last week, coming in at 238,000. The drop appears to be a reversal from the effects of the Easter and spring break holidays that elevated the figures last week. The four week moving average for claims ticked up to 243,000.
  • The April jobs report showed an increase of 211,000 jobs during the month, beating consensus expectations of 190,000. This was a large improvement from the March report that showed only 79,000 jobs being created. The prior two months’ figures were revised down a combined 6,000 jobs, bringing the three month average job gains to 174,000 per month.
    • The headline unemployment rate moved down to 4.4% in the report, beating expectations of 4.6% and matching the lows achieved during the previous cycle (2006-2007). The labor force participation rate did fall -0.1% to 62.9%.
    • Average hourly earnings rose by 0.3% in April, in line with expectations. Over the last year, wages have increased by 2.5%.

Fact of the Week

  • Sell in May? – In analyzing the returns of the S&P 500 since 1990, the six month period from November through April has beaten the six month period from May through October in 18 of 27 years. The November through April periods have seen a total return of 636% in the S&P during that time vs. a 73% gain for the May through October periods. (Source: BTN Research)

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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French Election, Taxes, N Korea: Wealth Economic Update Apr. 28, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • iStock-534000920_400Results from the first round of the French Presidential Election showed Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen advancing to a presidential runoff as voters turned their backs on the political establishment. Macron, the independent centrist won 23.75% of the vote, while Le Pen, the National Front leader, garnered 21.53%. Trying to broaden her appeal, Le Pen is taking a leave of absence from her leadership position of the National Front party, whose platform is slashing immigration, clamping down on trade and removing France from the European Union. The runoff vote is scheduled for May 7th, in which current polls show Macron holding the advantage.
  • President Trump unveiled the outline for his proposed tax reform this week. While details remain to be filled in, the plan is highlighted by a series of broad tax cuts. It included a reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, lower individual tax rates along with simplified brackets, a bigger standard deduction, and a repeal of the estate and alternative minimum taxes. This one page proposal did not include the controversial border-adjustment tax on imports.
  • Tensions continue to rise in Korea as the North detained another U.S. citizen and staged a massive live fire-drill to commemorate the 85th anniversary of its military. In response to this escalation, the U.S. military has started moving key parts of its controversial THAAD anti-missile defense system to a deployment site in South Korea. This move, which has angered North Korea, China and Russia, prompted protests by local residents and was denounced by the frontrunner in South Korea’s presidential election.

Markets

  • Markets bounced higher following the results of the first round of the French Election. The S&P 500 rose 1.53% and closed at 2,384. The Dow Jones gained 1.91% for the week and closed at 20,941. Year to date, the S&P is up 7.14% and the Dow is up 6.69%.
  • Interest rates moved modestly higher this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.82% and 2.29%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil dipped 0.87% this week, closing at $49.19 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 8.43%.
  • The spot price of Gold declined 1.26% this week, closing at $1,268.21 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 10.52%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims rose by 14,000 from last week, coming in at 257,000. The numbers may have been elevated this week due to seasonal adjustments surrounding Easter and spring break holidays. The four week moving average for claims dropped to 242,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose by 0.7% in March, in line with expectations. Prices rose in all 20 cities measured, with Seattle (1.9%), Dallas (1.2%) and San Francisco (1.0%) seeing the largest increases. Home prices as measured by the index have now risen 5.9% over the last 12 months.
  • The first estimate of 1st Quarter GDP showed growth of only 0.7% vs. expectations of 1.0%. The slowdown in consumer spending was a significant drag on the headline number.
  • The Employment Cost Index (ECI) rose by 0.8% in the 1st quarter, beating expectations of 0.6%. With the strong quarter, total compensation has now increased 2.4% over the last year.

Fact of the Week

  • 41% of homeowners between the ages of 65-74 and 63% of homeowners over age 75 own their home free and clear of any debt. (Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

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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French Election, Brexit: Wealth Economic Update Apr. 21, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • france360France will be holding what is presumed to be the 1st round of its Presidential Election on Sunday. The current four top candidates in the polling are only separated by 4% points, making the race extremely tight. Under French election rules, if no candidate secures a majority (which seems all but a certainty), the two highest vote-getters will square off in a run-off election scheduled for May 7th. The four candidates include two broadly pro-market, liberal reformers (Emmanuel Macron and Francois Fillon) and two populist eurosceptics who promise labor market and trade protectionism (Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon). Macron and Fillon have put greater focus on domestic issues like tax reform, unemployment and the national debt. Meanwhile, both Le Pen and Melenchon focused on immigration control and have proposed taking France out of the European Union with Le Pen being more staunchly opposed to France remaining in the euro. Global markets will be watching the results of this election closely.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap general election in the U.K., with the vote to be held on June 8th. With her Conservative party holding a sizeable lead in polls, May is taking the opportunity to try to gain a significant majority as Brexit negotiations get underway. May said that the vote was necessary to secure a mandate going into a “moment of enormous national significance”, also stating that Westminster was currently too dividend to take on this task.

Markets

  • Markets rebounded a bit this week. The S&P 500 rose 0.87% and closed at 2,349. The Dow Jones gained 0.51% for the week and closed at 20,548. Year to date, the S&P is up 5.54% and the Dow is up 4.71%.
  • Interest rates ended the week where they began and remain at low levels. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.77% and 2.24%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil dropped 6.86% this week, closing at $49.58 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 7.80%.
  • The spot price of Gold was little changed this week, closing at $1,284.72 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 11.96%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims rose by 10,000 from last week, coming in at 244,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims dropped to 243,000.
  • Housing starts declined -6.8% in March which was a larger drop than the expected -3.0%. The report was broadly weak with both the single-family category (-6.2%) and the multi-family category (-7.9%) seeing declines.
  • Existing home sales rebounded in March, increasing 4.4% vs. forecasts of 2.2%. This marks a full retracement of February’s -3.9% drop. Both sales of existing single family units (4.3%) and condos/co-ops (5.0%) rose during the month. On a regional level, existing home sales increased in the Northeast (10.1%), Midwest (9.2%) and South (3.4%) but declined in the West (-1.6%).

Fact of the Week

  • Of U.S. metropolitan areas with populations of at least 1 million, Salt Lake City has the lowest unemployment rate at 3.0% and Cleveland has the highest at 6.6%. The nationwide unemployment rate current stands at 4.5%. (Source: Department of Labor)

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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Trump, China, NATO: Wealth Economic Update Apr. 14, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • Investors were forced to recalibrate their expectations this week as President Trump reversed several of his positions that he held during the campaign. Trump began by telling the Wall Street Journal that China is no longer a currency manipulator, a claim he had made many times throughout the campaign trail. He then went on to say that he respects Fed Chair Janet Yellen, leaving the door open for her to be reappointed when her term expires, despite Trump previously saying that she should be “ashamed of what she’s doing to the country.” Trump also reversed course on the Export-Import Bank, now supporting it for the backing that it lends to small companies. Finally, Trump said that NATO was no longer obsolete since it is fighting terrorism.

Markets

  • Interest rates continued their recent downward trend this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.77% and 2.24%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose 1.80% this week, closing at $53.18 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 1.01%.
  • The spot price of Gold increased by 2.47% this week, closing at $1,285.50 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 12.02%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined by 1,000 from last week, coming in at 234,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims dropped to 247,000.
  • The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose 1.1 point to 98.0 in the preliminary April report. This is approaching the cycle high of 98.5 reached in January. Both consumers’ assessment of current conditions and expectations for the future improved in the report.
  • Retail Sales decreased -0.2% in March, in line with expectations. The headline retail sales figure was weighed down by lower motor vehicle & parts (-1.2%) and gasoline (-1.0%) sales. Core retail sales (excludes autos, gas, and building materials) saw a better than expected 0.5% increase.
  • The Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) declined -0.3% in March vs. forecasts of a flat CPI. The decline was due to a -3.2% drop in energy prices during the month. Over the last 12 months, headline CPI has increased 2.4%.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy prices) declined -0.1% in March vs. expectations of a 0.2% increase. The decline was led by lower communications, apparel and lodging prices. This was the first outright decline in Core inflation since 2010. The 12 month increase in Core CPI declined to 2.0% as a result.

Fact of the Week

  • Net interest costs of the federal government make up 7% of total federal outlays in 2017. It is estimated that with higher interest rates in the future and rising federal debt levels, net interest costs will be pushed to 21% of total federal spending by the year 2047. (Source: Congressional Budget Office)

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

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Travel Ban, One China: Wealth Economic Update Feb. 10, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • scales_gavel-509557490_360Three judges in the U.S. Appeals Court upheld the suspension of President Trump’s travel ban this week. The government now has 14 days to ask the 9th Circuit to have a larger panel of judges review the decision or appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, which would likely determine the case’s final outcome. Expressing his displeasure with the Circuit Court’s decision, Trump tweeted, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”
  • In his first phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Trump said that he would honor the nation’s “One China” policy which considers Taiwan as one with China and not a separate nation. Trump also urged closer ties between the U.S. and China. The clarification on the “One China” policy ends weeks of uncertainty regarding Washington’s approach to China.
  • According to a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, President Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion and take more than three years to construct. The projected price tag is much higher than the $12 billion figure cited on the campaign trail and the $15 billion estimated by Republican Congressional leaders.

Markets

  • Markets rose this week with continued low volatility. The S&P 500 gained 0.87% and closed at 2,316 which is an All-Time High. The Dow Jones followed suit by rising 1.13% and closing at 20,269, also an All-Time High. Year to date, the S&P is up 3.66% and the Dow is up 2.83%.
  • Interest rates fell this week and the 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.89% and 2.41%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil was unchanged this week, closing at $53.81 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have risen 0.18%.
  • The spot price of Gold increased by 1.09% this week, closing at $1,233.62 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 7.51%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell 12,000 from last week, coming in at 234,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 244,000 which marks a new 40-year low.
  • The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 95.7 in the preliminary February report following increases in the previous three months. Both consumers’ assessment of current conditions and expectations for the future declined with the expectations component falling further.

Fact of the Week

  • Equity market volatility has been very low for the last portion of 2016 extending into 2017. The S&P 500 has now gone 39 consecutive trading days without experiencing an intraday range of greater than +/- 1% which is the longest stretch that has occurred since 1982. (Source: Strategas Research Partners)

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
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@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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Greek reforms: Wealth Economic Update Oct 31, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • greece_52645812_360Eurozone officials have approved a €2.8 billion tranche of financial aid for Greece after the debt-laden country delivered the needed economic reforms to unlock the latest round of cash. The reforms included progress in pension restructuring, bank governance and revenue collection. So far, Greece has received €31.7 billion of its €86 bailout granted in July 2015, its third bailout since 2010.
  • The People’s Bank of China is making changes to its Macro Prudential Assessment risk program to broaden its regulatory oversight to include wealth management products sold by banks and not counted on their balance sheets. The move marks another step in the PBOC’s efforts to control rising leverage in China’s financial system and highlights the worries that many have that unsustainable debt levels could derail an already slowing economy.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 dropped 0.67% and closed at 2,126. The Dow Jones rose 0.09% and closed at 18,161. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 5.81% and the Dow is up 6.37%.
  • Interest rates climbed higher this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.33% and 1.85%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil was down 4.35% this week to close at $48.64 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 21.45% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold rose 0.71% this week, closing at $1,275.47 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 20.20%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 258,000, a decrease from last week’s reading of 260,000. The Labor Department noted that claims may have been distorted by a bounce back from the effects of Hurricane Matthew which led to closures of filing offices in affected regions in previous weeks. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 253,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index showed an increase of 0.2% for August, more than consensus expectations of 0.1%. Of the 20 cities included in the index, 15 showed higher prices in the month. Over the last 12 months, home prices have risen 5.1% as measured by the index.
  • Real Gross Domestic Product rose 2.9% (annualized) during the 3rd quarter, beating expectations of 2.6% growth.
  • The Employment Cost Index (ECI, measure of wage growth) increased by 0.6% in the 3rd quarter, in line with expectations. On a year over year basis, total compensation has risen by 2.2%

Fact of the Week

  • The U.S. economy has been growing for the last 87 months (ie. no recession), an expansion exceeded in length only 3 times since 1900. (Source: National Bureau of Economic Research)

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
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@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

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

July Fed Meeting: Wealth Economic Update Aug 22, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • Minutes from the July Federal Reserve meeting were released this week and showed that the Committee continues to be patient regarding further interest rate increases. Several members noted that inflation continued to be low and saw little risk of waiting for inflation data to firm up before taking further tightening action. Committee members also noted that while markets rebounded from the surprising Brexit vote, they continued to see a variety of risks overseas.
  • China_Great_Wall_340China’s State Council has approved the launch of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, which will serve as a trading link between the two area’s stock markets. It will be operational in about four months and will be similar to the existing Shanghai-Hong Kong link that was launched in late 2014. It is expected that this new agreement will further open up China’s market to outside investors.
  • In a live broadcast, suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that, “Impeachment without a crime, if consummated, would be a coup.” Rousseff also called for early elections in an attempt to unite the country that is currently in recession. Rousseff was suspended in May on accusations that she doctored government fiscal accounts in order to get re-elected in 2014. It’s widely expected that she will be impeached and permanently removed from office later this month.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 was up 0.06% and closed at 2,184. The Dow Jones rose 0.02% and closed at 18,553. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 8.28% and the Dow is up 8.31%.
  • Interest rates increased this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.16% and 1.58%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil gained 9.17% this week to close at $48.57 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 21.27% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold rose 0.41% this week, closing at $1,341.47 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 26.42%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 262,000, moving down from last week’s reading of 266,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 265,000.
  • The headline Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) was unchanged in July, in line with forecasts as a decline in energy prices offset moderate gains in other components. Over the last 12 months, headline CPI has risen 0.8%.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy prices) showed gains of 0.1% in July, less than the expectation of 0.2%. Over the last year, ‘core’ prices have risen 2.2%.
  • New housing starts increased by 2.1% in July, beating consensus expectations of a -0.8% decline. Single family starts increased 0.5% in the month, while multi-family starts increased by 5.0%.

Fact of the Week

  • Of the households headed by a currently employed individual (i.e, a “working” household), 44% do not have any money invested on a pre-tax basis in a defined contribution plan, e.g., a 401(k) retirement plan. (Source: Government Accountability Office)

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
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@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

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

Wealth Management Economic Update February 29, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • britain_000085343391_320Despite last week’s report that an agreement between Britain and European Union was on track, British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a historic referendum to decide whether the United Kingdom should remain in the EU. Though Cameron himself strongly favors remaining in the economic bloc, he lost the backing of London Mayor Boris Johnson, who became the most high profile supporter of a British exit, or Brexit. The referendum is set to take place on June 23rd and the announcement set off a plunge in the value of the British Pound.
  • Finance ministers and central bank governors from the world’s 20 leading economies have convened in Shanghai to discuss a response to the dim global economic landscape. G20 participants will discuss many issues including the plunge in commodity prices, increased market volatility, exchange rates and the slowdown of China’s economy.

Markets

  • Markets continued to gain back ground this week. The S&P 500 gained 1.61% and closed at 1,948. Likewise, the Dow Jones rose 1.52% and closed at 16,640. So far in 2016, the S&P is down 4.33% and the Dow is down 4.03%.
  • Interest rates rose modestly this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.24% and 1.77%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil gained 3.43% this week to close at $32.43 per barrel. WTI Crude has fallen 16.08% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold decreased 0.27% this week, closing at $1,223.46 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 15.30%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 272,000 which was an increase from last week’s reading of 262,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved down to 272,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.8% in December, slightly lower than expectations of 0.9%. Of the 20 city index, 19 showed price increases during the month. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by the index have risen 5.7%.
  • The headline PCE index (measure of inflation) rose by 0.1% in January, better than expectations of flat prices. Over the last 12 months, prices as measured by PCE have risen 1.3% vs. forecasts of 1.1%. Core PCE (excludes food and energy prices, preferred measure of inflation used by the Fed) was up 0.26% in January, narrowly beating expectations of 0.2%. Over the last 12 months, core PCE is up 1.7%, closer to the Federal Reserve’s goal of 2.0% inflation.
  • GDP growth in the 4th quarter of 2015 was revised up to 1.0% from the initial estimate of 0.7%. This was better growth than had been expected by the consensus (0.4%).

Fact of the Week

  • According to the National Association of Home Builders, over the last 30 years, the average size of a new single family home built in the U.S. has increased by 935 square feet to a total of 2,720 square feet. This is roughly the equivalent of adding a 30’ by 31’ room.

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
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@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
Tamara Wiley, CFP® – (630) 844-3222 twiley@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.