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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.