Fed Rate, Healthcare: Wealth Economic Update July 31, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • traffic_360The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at their policy meeting this week as was expected. The post-meeting statement noted that the Committee expects to begin reducing the size of its balance sheet “relatively soon” as opposed to “this year” as had been in the June statement. This implies that there will be some sort of an announcement regarding letting maturing bonds run-off the balance sheet at the Fed’s September meeting. The market is currently pricing in a 40% chance there is another rate hike before the end of the year.
  • Following failed Senate votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republican senators shifted their focus to a “skinny” healthcare repeal that introduces smaller changes to the Affordable Care Act. The changes included eliminating individual and employer insurance mandates and removing the medical device tax. Despite the more limited scope of the “skinny repeal”, the bill was still struck down by a vote of 51-49 as three GOP senators voted against it. In a floor speech following the defeat, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “it is time to move on.”

Markets

  • Markets were mixed this week. The S&P 500 was flat and closed at 2,472. The Dow Jones rose 1.17% for the week and closed at a new All-Time High of 21,830. Year to date, the S&P is up 11.67% and the Dow is up 11.88%.
  • Markets were mixed this week. The S&P 500 was flat and closed at 2,472. The Dow Jones rose 1.17% for the week and closed at a new All-Time High of 21,830. Year to date, the S&P is up 11.67% and the Dow is up 11.88%.
  • Interest rates ended the week a bit higher. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.83% and 2.29%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 8.63% this week, closing at $49.72 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 7.45%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week higher by 1.14%, closing at $1,269.34 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 10.62%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims rose by 10,000 from last week, coming in at 244,000. The Labor Department noted no factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims held steady at 244,000.
  • Initial jobless claims rose by 10,000 from last week, coming in at 244,000. The Labor Department noted no factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims held steady at 244,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose by 0.1% in May, lower than expectations of a 0.3% increase. Prices rose in 14 of the 20 cities surveyed with Seattle (+0.9%), Las Vegas (+0.6%) and Portland (+0.5%) showing the largest monthly increases and New York City (-0.6%), Chicago (-0.4%) and Boston (-0.4%) seeing the largest decreases. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by the index have risen 5.7%.
  • The first estimate of 2nd quarter Real GDP showed 2.6% quarter over quarter growth, slightly below expectations of 2.7%. This first print represents an acceleration of growth over the 1st quarter’s figure of 1.4%.

Fact of the Week

  • Over the last 5 years ending June 30th, the S&P 500 has had an annualized total return of 14.6% per year. If an investor were to have missed out on the 5 best performance days in that span, the average annual return was cut by 3% to 11.6% per year. (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

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Healthcare, McCain: Wealth Economic Update July 21, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • stethoscope-519691768_360The U.S. Senate has further delayed a vote regarding repealing and replacing Obamacare and may scrap the plan altogether. This was the result of two more GOP senators stating they would not vote for the proposal, leaving Republicans short of the votes they would need to pass the American Health Care Act. Adding to the uncertainty, Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and the timing of his return is very much unknown.

Markets

  • Markets were mixed this week. The S&P 500 rose 0.55% and closed at 2,472. The Dow Jones dipped 0.23% for the week and closed at 21,579. Year to date, the S&P is up 11.61% and the Dow is up 10.59%.
  • Markets were mixed this week. The S&P 500 rose 0.55% and closed at 2,472. The Dow Jones dipped 0.23% for the week and closed at 21,579. Year to date, the S&P is up 11.61% and the Dow is up 10.59%.
  • Interest rates ended the week lower. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.80% and 2.23%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil fell by 1.83% this week, closing at $45.69 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 14.95%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week higher by 2.14%, closing at $1,254.97 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 9.37%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell by 15,000 from last week, coming in at 233,000. The Labor Department noted that the decrease may have been a result of summer auto plant shutdowns during the July 4th holiday. The four week moving average for claims moved down to 244,000.
  • Housing starts rose by 8.3% in June, beating expectations of a 6.2% increase. The increase was led by the volatile multifamily category (+13.3%) but single-family starts also increased (+6.3%) follow three months of declines.

Fact of the Week

  • On October 3, 1995, all activity in the United States halted in anticipation of the verdict of the “Trial of the Century”; the murder trial of Hall of Fame NFL Player and Actor O.J. Simpson. After 16 months of obsessive media coverage, the nation dropped everything they were doing to watch the verdict live. Among other phenomena such as water usage plummeting (not wanting to miss the verdict while in the bathroom) and electricity consumption surging (TV sets being turned on), trading volumes on the New York Stock Exchange fell by 41% as traders were glued to their TV screens. In all, it is believed that the verdict cost the U.S. economy $480 million in productivity that day. (Source: Alan Dershowitz’s “America on Trial)

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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Healthcare, Fed: Wealth Economic Update July 17, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • medical-531914364_360Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the Senate will vote on the Republican health care bill to replace Obamacare next week. McConnell has agreed with Ted Cruz on a bill that would allow insurance companies to sell plans that are cheaper and simpler. The two taxes on high-income households from the Affordable Care Act would remain and billions of dollars would be spent combating opioid addiction and assisting states in lowering premiums. The bill also entails the use of health savings accounts to pay insurance premiums.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony had a more dovish tone as she indicated that balance sheet runoff would likely be pushed to September. However, Janet Yellen did provide a positive view on the economy, citing higher household spending, a pickup in business investment, and strength in the labor market. The Fed remains uncertain about inflation, but expects it to return to 2% in the next couple of years. Global equity markets reacted positively to testimony and the U.S. equity market has once again reached record highs.

Markets

  • Markets climbed higher this week. The S&P 500 rose 1.42% and closed at 2,459. The Dow Jones rose 1.04% for the week and closed at 21,638. Year to date, the S&P is up 11% and the Dow is up 10.84%.
  • Interest rates ended the week lower. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.86% and 2.33%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil surged 5.38% this week, closing at $46.61 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 13.24%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week higher by 1.35%, closing at $1,228.81 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 7.09%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell by 3,000 from last week, coming in at 247,000. The Labor Department noted no unusual factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims ticked up to 246,000.
  • The producer price index (PPI) increased by 0.1% in June and 2% year-over-year which was slightly higher than expectations and core PPI (finished goods excluding food and energy) rose 0.2%.
  • The consumer price index (CPI) decreased by 0.02% in June and now stands at 1.6% year-over-year. The lower CPI reflects lower energy prices. Core CPI (excluding food and energy) rose 0.12% in June and the year-over-year figure stands at 1.7%.
  • Retail sales fell by 0.2% in June versus expectations of a 0.1% increase and retail sales (ex-autos, gasoline, and building materials) fell 0.1% versus expectations of a 0.3% gain.
  • The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell 2 points to 93.1 for the preliminary July report reaching a nine-month low.

 

Fact of the Week

  • In July 2009 there were 14.6 million unemployed Americans and 2.2 million job openings. In April 2017 there were 7.1 million unemployed Americans and 6.0 million job openings (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

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Healthcare, IL “junk” status: Wealth Economic Update June 30, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • healthcare-587952472_360After unveiling their version of healthcare reform legislation, Senate Republican leaders decided to delay a vote until after the July 4th .  This came after the Congressional Budget Office scoring reported that the legislation in its current form would result in 22 million more people being uninsured by 2020.  Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said there was a ‘really good chance’ the bill will eventually pass despite the delay and a number of GOP lawmakers expressing their concerns over the bill.
  • Illinois is facing the possibility of becoming the first U.S. state to have its credit rating downgraded to ‘junk’ status by S&P. State lawmakers have until Friday night’s deadline to agree on a budget, something that hasn’t happened since 2015, before S&P stated that it will lower Illinois’ credit rating for the 4th time in the last year.

Markets

  • Markets ended the week slightly lower. The S&P 500 fell by 0.58% and closed at 2,423. The Dow Jones decreased by 0.21% for the week and closed at 21,350. Year to date, the S&P is up 9.31% and the Dow is up 9.30%.
  • Interest rates rose on both the short and long ends this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.89% and 2.30%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil popped 7.67% this week, closing at $46.31 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 13.79%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week lower by 1.20%, closing at $1,241.61 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 8.20%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims increased by 2,000 from last week, coming in at 244,000. The Labor Department noted no unusual factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims moved down to 242,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose by 0.3% in April, below consensus expectations of 0.5%. By city, Detroit (+1.8%) and Seattle (+1.1%) showed the largest increases, while Cleveland (-1.0%) and Boston (-0.7%) showed the largest decreases in prices. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by the index have risen 5.7%.
  • The headline PCE index (measure of inflation) declined -0.1% in May, lower than the estimated 0.2% increase. Over the last 12 months, headline PCE inflation has risen 1.4%.
    • Core PCE (excludes food and energy, Fed’s preferred inflation method), rose 0.1% in May, in line with expectations. Over the last 12 months, Core PCE inflation has risen 1.4%.

Fact of the Week

  • Just 54% of over 18,000 adults surveyed in April 2017 own stocks (either directly or indirectly through a mutual fund or exchange traded fund) in their personal accounts or pre-tax retirement accounts. (Source: Gallup)

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

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

Brexit, Healthcare: Wealth Economic Update June 23, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • brexit-540371754_360A year after the vote for Britain to leave the European Union, Brexit talks have finally begun in Brussels. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will be sitting down with U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis to work through the details of the anticipated two year separation process. Additionally, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled an offer to allow at least 3 million EU citizens living in the U.K. to stay after Brexit, an offer that was welcomed by other European heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • Senate Republicans released their version of the healthcare reform legislation this week, giving the public their first chance to see what their iteration looks like. The Senate version is similar to the House bill in that both would radically overhaul Medicaid, remove the individual and employer mandates as well as eliminate taxes tied to Obamacare. There are also some differences, for instance, the Senate version would provide subsidies based on income, cost of coverage and age, as opposed to just age as was in the House bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to issue its analysis of the bill early next week.

Markets

  • Markets ended the week slightly higher. The S&P 500 rose by 0.22% and closed at 2,438. The Dow Jones increased by 0.05% for the week and closed at 21,395. Year to date, the S&P is up 9.98% and the Dow is up 9.52%.
  • Interest rates held steady this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.76% and 2.14%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil slid 3.78% this week, closing at $43.11 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 19.75%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week modestly higher, closing at $1,256.67 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 9.51%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims increased by 3,000 from last week, coming in at 241,000. The Labor Department noted no unusual factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 245,000.
  • Existing home sales rose 1.1% in May, beating consensus expectations of a -0.4% decline in sales. Sales of single family units rose 1.0%, while sales of multi-family unites increased by 1.6%. By region, existing home sales increased in the Northeast (+6.8%), West (+3.4%), and South (+2.2%), but declined in the Midwest (-5.9%).
    • New home sales increased by 2.9% in May, following a -7.9% decline in April. The result was better than consensus expectations, New home sales increased in the South (+21k), and West (+19k), but declined in the Northeast (-4k) and Midwest (-19k) regions.

Fact of the Week

  • Today (6/23) marks the 1 year anniversary of the historic Brexit vote where U.K. citizens elected to leave the European Union. Markets initially moved to the downside following the surprising result, but quickly rebounded. In the one year since the vote, the United Kingdom’s stock market (FTSE 100) has gained 21.8%, outpacing the overall MSCI European Index (+14.2%) and the S&P 500 (+17.7%). (Returns are stated in local currency)

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

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

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

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

Syria, Gorsuch: Wealth Economic Update Apr. 7, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • Following a poison gas attack against a rebel-held area of Syria which included use of the banned nerve agent sarin, President Trump was forced to pivot from his prior stance on Syria and its President Bashar al-Assad. Trump said that the attack, which included children among its victims, crossed “many, many lines” and that his “attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.” In what was seen as a direct response, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk missiles against an airbase in Syria. This sets up further potential conflict with Russia, Assad’s primary backer, as the Kremlin has already stated the missile launch will deal a “significant blow to Russian-U.S. relations” and represented an “act of aggression” against a sovereign state.
  • Facing significant Democratic opposition, Republicans voted to enact the “nuclear option”, which reduces the threshold for Supreme Court nominations in the Senate from 60 to a simple majority. Having done that, the path was cleared for Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate on Friday. With the Republicans choosing to lower this threshold, future presidents will have a much easier time getting their Supreme Court nominees confirmed, potentially changing whom they decide to appoint.
  • Minutes from the March Federal Reserve meeting were released this week and contained a relatively upbeat assessment of economic conditions and references to the potential upside from fiscal policy measures. The minutes also showed discussion regarding allowing the Fed’s balance sheet to ‘run-off’ at some point in the future. Additionally, some participants characterized stock market valuations as ‘quite high’ in light of the run-up in indices in recent months. The market is currently pricing in a 13% probability of a rate hike at the Fed’s May meeting and a 62% probability of a rate hike by their June meeting.

Markets

  • Markets were relatively flat this week. The S&P 500 fell 0.24% and closed at 2,356. The Dow Jones was flat for the week and closed at 20,656. Year to date, the S&P is up 5.80% and the Dow is up 5.20%.
  • Interest rates bounced around this week but ended close to where they began. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.92% and 2.38%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose 3.18% this week, closing at $52.21 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 2.81%.
  • The spot price of Gold increased by 0.48% this week, closing at $1,255.21 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 9.39%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined by 25,000 from last week, coming in at 234,000. Most of the improvement came from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, where claims in recent weeks were elevated due to Winter Storm Stella. The four week moving average for claims dropped to 250,000.
  • The March employment report showed a gain of 98,000 jobs in the month, well below expectations of 180,000. Additionally, the prior two months’ figures were revised down a combined 38,000. The retail sector disappointed again, losing 30,000 jobs in the month however the overall report may have been negatively affected by severe weather. Over the last three months, job gains have averaged 178,000 per month.
    • The headline unemployment rate moved down 0.2% to 4.5%, which was better than expected. The labor force participation rate held steady at 63.0%.
    • Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2%, which was in line with forecasts. Over the last year, wages have grown 2.7%.

Fact of the Week

  • The IRS audited just 0.7% of individuals’ tax returns in 2016. The number of people audited in 2016 (just over 1 million) dropped for the 5th consecutive year. The IRS claims that for every $1 spent conducting an audit, they are able to recuperate $4 in previously unpaid taxes. (Source: IRS)

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

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

 

Brexit: Wealth Economic Update Mar. 31, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • london360The Brexit process has officially begun as British Prime Minister Theresa May has invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally informing the European Union of its exit from the bloc. The letter of declaration was hand-delivered to EU President Donald Tusk Wednesday and now begins what is estimated to be a two year negotiation process between the UK and all of the remaining 27 European Union member states. This is anticipated to be a difficult and lengthy procedure as agreements must be reached on tough issues such as trade and immigration.
  • Complicating matters in the United Kingdom is the fact that Scottish lawmakers voted 69-59 this week to seek a new referendum on independence within the next two years. This certainly comes as an unwelcome distraction from the Brexit proceedings for British leaders. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon declared, “The mandate for a referendum is beyond question, and it would be democratically indefensible – and utterly unsustainable – to attempt to stand in the way of it.”

Markets

  • Markets closed the 1st quarter of 2017 on an up note. The S&P 500 gained 0.82% and closed at 2,363. The Dow Jones was also positive for the week rising 0.32% and closing at 20,597. Year to date, the S&P is up 6.06% and the Dow is up 5.18%.
  • Interest rates continued to decline a bit this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.92% and 2.39%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose 5.82% this week, closing at $50.76 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 5.51%.
  • The spot price of Gold increased by 0.38% this week, closing at $1,248.24 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 8.77%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined by 3,000 from last week, coming in at 258,000. The level of claims was likely affected for a second week by Winter Storm Stella. The four week moving average for claims rose to 254,000.
  • 4th Quarter GDP growth was revised up in the 3rd estimate from +1.9% to +2.1%, beating expectations of +2.0%. The main source of the upward revision was real consumer spending, which was revised up to +3.5% from +3.0% previously.
  • The Case-Schiller home price index rose by 0.9% in its latest reading, beating expectations of a 0.7% increase. Prices rose in all 20 cities measured except for Cleveland, with Seattle (+1.7%) and Chicago (+1.3%) seeing the largest increases in the month. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by the index have risen 5.7%.
  • The PCE index (measure of inflation) rose 0.1% in February, in line with consensus expectations. Over the last 12 months, PCE inflation has increased 2.1%, also in line with estimates.
    • Core PCE (excludes food and energy, Fed’s preferred inflation measure) rose 0.2% in February, meeting expectations. Over the last year, Core PCE has risen 1.75%, still below the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

Fact of the Week

  • 25 players will make the opening day rosters of the 30 Major League Baseball teams ahead of the season opening on Sunday night, a total of 750 big league ballplayers. Coming into this season, there have been a total of 18,593 men to appear in at least 1 game at the major league level. (Source: Major League Baseball)

PLAY BALL!!

 

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.

 

Interest Rates, Brexit: Wealth Economic Update Mar. 20, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • In a highly anticipated move, the Federal Reserve raised the Fed Funds Rate by 0.25% this week. Despite being the second rate hike in three months, the Committee remained committed to a gradual pace of rate hikes going forward. The Fed projects two more interest rate hikes in 2017, though there are differing views among the members. There was one dissent, Neel Kashkari, who supported not raising at this meeting and taking a wait and see approach. Finally, it was noted by Fed Chair Janet Yellen that the size of the Fed’s balance sheet (which stands at $4.5 trillion) was discussed at the meeting, but no decisions were made in regard to reducing it over time.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May secured permission to trigger Article 50 which would officially mark the beginning of Brexit negotiations between the nation and its European Union counterparts. Having received the go-ahead from Parliament, May has said that she will invoke Article 50 by the end month. It’s expected that the negotiation process will last at least two years before Britain is officially able to leave the EU.

Markets

  • Markets closed the week moderately higher. The S&P 500 gained 0.28% and closed at 2,378. The Dow Jones followed suit by inching up 0.08% and closing at 20,915. Year to date, the S&P is up 6.71% and the Dow is up 6.45%.
  • Despite a 0.25% rate hike in the Fed Funds Rate, interest rates fell this week as the projected pace of future hikes was not accelerated. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.02% and 2.50%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil stabilized this week and gained 0.47% this week, closing at $48.72 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 9.31%.
  • The spot price of Gold increased by 2.04% this week, closing at $1,229.26 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 7.13%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims edged 2,000 lower from last week, coming in at 241,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims remained at 237,000 which is a near a 40-year low.
  • Retail sales increased 0.1% in February, in line with expectations. Sales excluding autos and gasoline increased 0.2%. Delayed tax refunds appeared to bring down several Retail categories.
  • The Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) increased 0.1% in February, slightly beating expectations for flat prices. Over the last 12 months, CPI has increased 2.7%.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy) rose 0.2% for February, in line with expectations. Core prices have risen 2.2% over the last year.
  • Housing starts increased by 3.0% in February, beating expectations of 1.1%. The details of the report were also favorable, as the less volatile single family starts increased by 6.5% to the highest level since October 2007 while multi-family starts decreased 3.7%.

Fact of the Week

  • The S&P 500 has now gone 108 consecutive trading days without suffering at least a 1% decline over any single trading day. That’s the longest stretch that the S&P has gone without a 1% drop since it had a run of 105 trading days without one that ended on December 15, 1995. (Source: By The Numbers 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.

 

NKorea/Japan, Healthcare: Wealth Economic Update Mar. 10, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • Global tensions are rising in the wake of North Korea firing four ballistic missiles into nearby waters over the weekend. Three of those missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, causing the country to move to the highest possible alert level. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared, “This clearly shows North Korea has entered a new stage of threat.” Fearing a rapid escalation, China has called upon North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile tests and for South Korea and the U.S. to cease their joint military drills in the area.
  • Republican leaders in Congress unveiled their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare this week. Along with the end of the health insurance mandates, the proposal would restructure the Medicaid program and create a new tax credit tied to a person’s age and income for those who cannot get insurance through their employer. President Trump is “proud to endorse” the plan and called for its speedy passage despite some opposition within the Republican Party.

Markets

  • Markets fell a bit this week. The S&P 500 lost 0.40% and closed at 2,373. The Dow Jones followed suit by dipping 0.40% and closing at 20,903. Year to date, the S&P is up 6.41% and the Dow is up 6.36%.
  • Interest rates rose quite a bit this week as odds of a Fed rate hike next week have all but hit 100%. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.10% and 2.58%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil plunged 9.38% this week, closing at $48.33 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 10.03%.
  • The spot price of Gold decreased by 2.43% this week, closing at $1,204.74 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 4.99%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims bounced 20,000 higher from last week, coming in at 243,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 237,000 which is a near a 40-year low.
  • The February jobs report showed an increase of 235,000 new jobs created in the month, better than expectations of 200,000. The prior two months’ figures were revised up by a combined 8,000 which brings the three month average for job gains to 209,000 per month. The report was generally very positive, one blemish however was the 26,000 retail jobs lost during the month, continuing that sector’s recent struggles.
    • The headline unemployment rate ticked down to 4.7%, in line with expectations. The 0.1% decrease in the unemployment rate occurred despite a 0.1% increase in the labor force participation rate to 63.0%.
    • Average hourly earnings rose 0.2% in February, below forecasts of 0.3%. Over the last 12 months, wages have increased 2.8%.

Fact of the Week

  • The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) index turned 60 years old this week. The index is widely regarded as the most accurate gauge of large American stocks and it is market capitalization weighted as opposed to the Dow, which is weighted by price, or other indexes that have an equal weighting. The S&P 500 is by far the biggest index in the world, with about $2.4 trillion being tracked by it.

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.