Tax Reform, Flynn, North Korea: Wealth Economic Update Dec. 1, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • iStock-610688960_360After the House passed its tax reform bill, the Senate has been at work crafting their own version of the bill. Progress was seemingly smooth as several procedural hurdles had been cleared with most of the GOP on the same page with the details and a vote on the bill was anticipated by the end of this week. However, some last minute road blocks have delayed any vote this week. With some Senate members concerned over the deficit, it’s now possible that the level of tax cuts might have to be moderated, future tax increases might be built in and some members may seek to attach spending cuts to the bill in order to win their support. Markets had rallied on increased optimism of passage but pulled back a bit later in the week as these obstacles arose.
  • Temporarily sending markets sharply down on Friday, former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia’s ambassador and disclosed that he is cooperating with the special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Flynn is the first person inside President Trump’s administration to be reached by the probe and the latest developments are a sign that the investigation is intensifying. According to an FBI statement, Flynn communicated with Russian officials at the request of Trump transition team officials to influence foreign policy. In a statement, the White House said that “nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”
  • North Korea fired another test missile this week, this time a new ICBM that was launched to a high enough altitude that it would put all of the U.S. mainland within range. North Korean officials said that with the launch, which reached a height of 2,780 miles, they achieved the country’s long held goal of becoming a nuclear power. In response, the U.S. is calling on all countries to suspend diplomatic ties with North Korea and has asked China to stop crude oil trade with North Korea or it will “take the oil situation into our own hands.”

Markets

  • Markets were up this week, setting new All-Time Highs along the way. The S&P gained 1.60%, closing at 2,642. The Dow Jones rose 3.00% for the week and closed at 24,232. Year to date, the S&P is up 20.25% and the Dow is up 25.49%.
  • Interest rates were slightly higher for the week albeit in more volatile trading. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.12% and 2.36%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil dipped by 1.04% this week, closing at $58.34 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have risen 4.51%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week off by 0.65%, closing at $1,279.96 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 11.54%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims dropped 2,000 from last week, coming in at 238,000. Filings continued to fall from 10 year highs in Puerto Rico, which continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  The four week moving average for claims rose to 242,000.
  • The headline PCE index (measure of inflation) rose by 0.1% in October, in line with forecasts. Headline inflation as measured by the PCE index has risen 1.6% over the last 12 months.
    • Core PCE (excludes food and energy, Fed’s preferred inflation measure) rose 0.2% in October, also in line with expectations. Over the last 12 months, Core PCE is up 1.5%, still short of the Federal Reserve’s long range target of 2%.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose by 0.5% in September, beating consensus expectations of 0.4%. Prices rose in all 20 cities measured, with Atlanta (+1.3%), San Francisco (+1.1%), Las Vegas (+1.0%) and Tampa (+1.0%) showing the largest monthly increases. Home prices as measured by the index have risen 6.2% over the last 12 months.

Fact of the Week

  • Adobe Analytics reports that U.S. retailers saw record online sales to start the holiday shopping season. The totals for Thanksgiving and Black Friday are reportedly $7.9 billion in sales, a 17.9% increase from a year ago. Cyber Monday sales also impressed, coming in at $6.6 billion and becoming the largest U.S. online sales day ever.

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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North Korea, Hurricane Maria, Tax Plan: Wealth Economic Update Sept. 29, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • jets-525969835_360China has requested that President Trump and Kim Jong Un end the ongoing war of words after the foreign minister of North Korea referred to Trump’s latest warning of “they won’t be around much longer!” as a declaration of war. North Korea has responded by threatening to shoot down any American warplanes beyond North Korean airspace while Washington stated that North Korea’s interpretation of Trump’s words was “absurd”. China, North Korea’s most important ally, has ordered all North Korean companies operating in China to shut down by January 1st, as part of recently passed sanctions by the United Nations.
  • Hurricane Maria is estimated to have caused $85 billion in insured losses after it made landfall in Puerto Rico last weekend. Most of the island was destroyed, and bondholders are attempting to put together a $1 billion restructuring deal consisting of private money to aid the struggling U.S. territory. The price of Puerto Rican debt has fallen to record lows as a result of the devastation.
  • President Trump has unveiled his tax reform plan which aims at lowering corporate and personal tax rates. The plan includes a proposal that allows a one-off low tax rate for corporations repatriating profits from overseas. The tax plan is also said to make the tax code simpler and create millions of new jobs for Americans.

Markets

  • Markets rallied this week with both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average setting new All-Time Highs during the week. The S&P rose 0.72% and closed at 2,519. The Dow Jones rose 0.25% for the week and closed at 22,405. Year to date, the S&P is up 14.10% and the Dow is up 15.30%.
  • Interest rates extended their rally this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.93% and 2.34%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 1.82% this week, closing at $51.58 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 3.98%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week lower by 1.33%, closing at $1,280.01 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 11.55%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims increased by 12,000 from last week, coming in at 272,000. The increase was attributed to the southeast region as a result of Hurricane Irma. The four week moving average for claims rose to 278,000.
  • Real GDP growth for Q2 was revised up to 3.1% from 3%. The revision was attributed to a faster pace of inventory accumulation.
  • Sales of new single-family homes fell by 3.4% in August to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 571k units, below expectations. The south region in areas affected by the hurricane contributed to 75% of the decline.
  • The core PCE price index (excluding food and energy) increased 0.1% last month, below expectations of a 0.2% increase.

Fact of the Week

  • After adjusting numerical data from the past for the impact of inflation, the median household income in 2016 ($59,039) is the highest ever recorded in the United States, surpassing the previous median income record high ($58,665) set in 1999 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Lous).

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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Interest Rates, Puerto Rico, North Korea: Wealth Economic Update Sept. 22, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • puerto-468910550_360The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged during their September meeting this week. They did however announce that they will begin to let their over $4 trillion balance sheet run off starting in October. The pace of the runoff will begin slowly and progressively pick up in size until the Fed’s balance sheet has become normalized, unwinding its massive and unprecedented Quantitative Easing program. The Committee’s projections continued to show that a third rate hike of 2017 is probable in December but that only two rate hikes were anticipated in 2018. In Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s post-meeting press conference she noted that while there may be a short-term growth impact from the recent hurricanes, she does not expect them to “materially alter the course’ of medium term growth. The market is currently pricing in a 63% chance of a rate hike in December.
  • Puerto Rico was rocked by a hurricane for the second time this month as Hurricane Maria slammed into the island this week. Still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Irma, Maria knocked out power to the entire island that has a population of over 3 million people. It’s estimated that the damage will likely cause $30 billion in damage for the island that had recently sought bankruptcy protection.
  • The North Korean saga continued this week with President Trump and Kim Jong-Un trading barbs and threats through various means. Speaking at the UN, Trump threatened to “totally destroy ‘Rocket Man’s regime”. Additionally, Trump issued an executive order that would penalize any company or person doing business with North Korea by either cutting off their access to the U.S. financial system or freezing their assets, a move seen as aimed at Chinese financial institutions which have long been tied to North Korea. In response, Un released a statement that said that Trump was ‘mentally deranged’ and that North Korea could test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in response to the threats.

Markets

  • Markets edged higher with both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average setting new All-Time Highs during the week. The S&P rose 0.21% and closed at 2,502. The Dow Jones rose 0.90% for the week and closed at 22,350. Year to date, the S&P is up 13.43% and the Dow is up 15.17%.
  • Interest rates continued to rise from their recent lows. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.86% and 2.25%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 1.52% this week, closing at $50.65 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 5.45%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week lower by 1.77%, closing at $1,296.81 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 13.01%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined by 23,000 from last week, coming in at 259,000. The drop reflected a rebound from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and a smaller than expected the impact from Hurricane Irma. The four week moving average for claims rose to 269,000.
  • Housing starts fell by -0.8% in August, worse than the forecasted 1.7% increase. The more volatile multi-family category (-6.5%) dragged the total down while single family starts showed a 1.6% increase.
  • Existing home sales fell -1.7% in August, lower than an expected 0.2% increase in existing homes. Data was mixed regionally as existing home sales in the South (-5.7%) and West (-4.8%) fell while they rose in the Midwest (+2.4%) and Northeast (+10.8%).

Fact of the Week

  • Prior to the first round of Quantitative Easing (QE) beginning on November 26, 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet stood at $480 billion and only held Treasury bills, notes and bonds, but not any mortgage-backed securities. As of September 6, 2017 Fed’s balance sheet stood at an enormous $4.2 trillion and included $2.4 trillion of Treasury bonds and $1.8 trillion of mortgage-backed securities. (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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Hurricane Irma, North Korea: Wealth Economic Update Sept. 18, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • florida-532409298_360Hurricane Irma tore through Florida and the southeast last weekend, knocking out power to nearly 8 million homes and causing an estimated $25 billion in damage. In combination with Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to be one of the costliest disasters in U.S. history, the storms are likely drag 3rd quarter GDP by at least 1%.
  • The North Korea saga continued this week. First the United Nations voted unanimously for fresh sanctions against North Korea which will cap oil imports and impose an embargo on the country’s textile trade. Then, for the second time in less than a month, North Korea fired a ballistic missile that flew over Japan. This prompted an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Also in response, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson continued to urge China to use its leverage as North Korea’s principal supplier of oil to dissuade them from further pursuing its development of nuclear weapons.

Markets

  • Markets rallied this week with both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at new All-Time Highs. The S&P rose 1.63% and closed at 2,500. The Dow Jones spiked 2.19% for the week and closed at 22,268. Year to date, the S&P is up 13.25% and the Dow is up 12.20%.
  • Interest rates rebounded from last week’s declines. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.80% and 2.20%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 5.06% this week, closing at $49.88 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 7.15%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week lower by 1.87%, closing at $1,321.38 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 15.15%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined by 14,000 from last week, coming in at 284,000. The drop reflected a rebound from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, however, the effects of Hurricane Irma have not yet been included. The four week moving average for claims rose to 263,000.
  • Headline CPI (measure of inflation) rose by 0.4% in August, more than expectations of 0.3%. This was largely due to a 2.8% increase in energy prices related to Hurricane Harvey. Over the last 12 months, headline CPI has risen 1.9%.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy prices) rose 0.2% in August, in line with expectations. Over the last 12 months Core CPI has risen 1.7%.

Fact of the Week

  • Only 40% of American households reporting between $100,000-$199,999 of income have investments in the stock market. The percentage of stock ownership drops to 20% of American households for those reporting between $50,000-$74,999 of income. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

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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Harvey, North Korea: Wealth Economic Update Sept. 1, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • flood-184878691_360Almost a quarter of the country’s oil refining capacity is offline this week and 10% of those refineries currently offline may remain unavailable for several months after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in southern Texas last weekend. As a result, gasoline prices in the U.S. have reached $2 per gallon, the highest since 2015. Hurricane Harvey is expected to be the most expensive natural disaster in American history at an estimated $190 billion after the storm left the most rainfall ever measured in the U.S according to AccuWeather.
  • Kim Jong-un has warned that his regime will be testing more ballistic missiles and that the missile launch over Japan was a “meaningful prelude to containing” the island of Guam. The UN has responded by calling for the implementation of harsh sanctions that have recently been developed and agreed on. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed their hopes of having some dialogue with North Korea and solving the issue in Southeast Asia diplomatically while President Trump tweeted on Wednesday that “Talking is not the answer!”

Markets

  • Markets rose higher this week. The S&P 500 gained 1.40% and closed at 2,477. The Dow Jones rose 0.92% for the week and closed at 21,988. Year to date, the S&P is up 12.10% and the Dow is up 13.11%.
  • Interest rates had a volatile week but ended relatively unchanged. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.74% and 2.16%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil decreased by 1.15% this week, closing at $47.32 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 11.91%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week higher by 2.62%, closing at $1,325.19 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 15.48%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims rose by 1,000 from last week, coming in at 236,000. The Labor Department noted no factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims moved down to 237,000.
  • The core PCE price index (excluding food and energy) increased 0.09% last month as expected and the year-over-year figure dropped 0.1% to 1.41%.
  • Pending home sales declined by 0.8% in July which was below expectations of a 0.4% gain.
  • Quarter 2 Real GDP was revised up 0.4% to 3.0%; the best figure in two years, after a larger-than-expected revision to personal consumption and business fixed investment.
  • Nonfarm payroll growth came in at 156,000 in August which was lower than expectations of 160,000 and the previous two months were revised down. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4% while the participation rate remained at 62.9%. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.1% in August and the year-over-year rate remained stable at 2.5% missing consensus expectations of 2.6%. Average weekly hours declined 0.1% to 34.4.

Fact of the Week

  • More than 114,000 Social Security recipients have their benefits garnished to pay student loan debt, debt that in many cases was taken out on behalf of a child, grandchild or other relative’s education rather than their own. The report, by the GAO, said that is an increase of 540 percent over the last 10 years and that in some cases the beneficiaries fall below the poverty line as a result.

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.

North Korea: Wealth Economic Update Aug 11, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • north_korea-157533672_360Tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to escalate as intelligence reports suggest that North Korea has successfully developed a “miniaturized nuclear weapon” that can be launched by missile. President Trump stated early in the week, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” North Korea responded by threatening to hit the U.S. territory of Guam with missiles.  Trump has continued to stand by his ‘fire and fury’ statement, even reiterating them and warning that if Kim Jong-un’s regime does anything to the U.S. or an ally, “things will happen to them like they never thought possible.”

Markets

  • Markets fell this week amid geopolitical tensions. The S&P 500 dropped 1.36% and closed at 2,441. The Dow Jones fell 0.91% for the week and closed at 21,858. Year to date, the S&P is up 10.36% and the Dow is up 12.21%.
  • Markets fell this week amid geopolitical tensions. The S&P 500 dropped 1.36% and closed at 2,441. The Dow Jones fell 0.91% for the week and closed at 21,858. Year to date, the S&P is up 10.36% and the Dow is up 12.21%.
  • Interest rates ended the week a lower. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.74% and 2.19%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil decreased by 1.59% this week, closing at $48.79 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 9.18%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week higher by 2.42%, closing at $1,289.30 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 12.36%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims rose by 3,000 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 edged down to 241,000.
  • The Consumer Price Index (inflation) rose 0.1% in July, lower than expectations of 0.2%. Food prices gained 0.2% in the month but energy prices edged down -0.1%. Over the last 12 months, headline CPI has increased 1.7%.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy) also rose 0.1%, again missing expectations of 0.2%. Over the last 12 months, Core CPI has increased 1.7%.

Fact of the Week

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) just finished a 10 day winning streak this week, which is historically a good sign for bull markets. However, despite the 2.8% gain over the 10-day period, the S&P 500 returned a more modest 0.4%, and the Dow’s gain marked the lowest return during a 10-day winning streak.

    The DJIA is a price weighted index that aims to represent the broad market using only 30 stocks. These 30 stocks are decided upon by editors of the Wall Street Journal, and are exclusively blue chip names. Unlike its peers such as the S&P 500, the DJIA is price-weighted, meaning that the impact a stock within the DJIA has on the index as a whole is dependent solely on the price of the stock. For example, Boeing (BA) is currently the largest weighted holding in the Dow at 7.3% with a price of $234.88/share. At the bottom is General Electric (GE) at only 0.79% of the index with a price of $25.20/share. Boeing has a market capitalization of $140 billion while General Electric has a market capitalization of $223 billion. (Sources: LPL Research, InvestorPlace, IndexArb)

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.

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.

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.

 

Wealth Management Economic Update March 21, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • The Federal Reserve met this week and decided to keep interest rates unchanged, a result which was expected by markets and forecasters. The Fed indicated a more cautious approach to future monetary policy and lowered its internal projections to just two interest rate hikes in 2016, down from the four projected to begin the year. Fed officials pointed to global economic and financial developments as the cause for their concern and noted that while inflation has picked up in recent months, it remains below the committee’s long-run objective.
  • President Obama has nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court following the death of long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Merrick would be the 113th Supreme Court justice if confirmed. Standing in his way however, is the Republican controlled Senate which has vowed to not hold any confirmation hearings for any Obama nominee as they believe that the seat should be filled by the next president following this year’s election.
    Embed from Getty Images

Markets

  • Markets continued to rally this week and have broken into positive territory for 2016. The S&P 500 added 1.37% and closed at 2,050. Likewise, the Dow Jones rose 2.26% and closed at 17,602. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 0.80% and the Dow is up 1.72%.
  • Interest rates fell amid the rally in equity markets this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.39% and 1.88%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil gained 2.21% this week to close at $39.35 per barrel. WTI Crude has risen 0.56% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold increased 0.48% this week, closing at $1,255.40 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 18.31%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 265,000 which was an increase from last week’s reading of 259,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved slightly up to 268,000.
  • Retail sales declined by -0.1% in February, in line with forecasts, reflecting lower vehicle and gas station sales. Core retail sales (excludes gas and autos) were unchanged in February, lower than forecasts of a 0.2% increase. Additionally, core retail sales during the prior two months were revised down -0.3%, adding to an overall disappointing report.
  • Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) declined by -0.2% in February, in line with forecasts. This was largely due to a -6% decline in energy prices during the month. Headline inflation is now up 1.0% over the last 12 months.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy costs) rose by 0.3%, better than expectations of 0.2%. This brings the increase of core prices to 2.3% over the last 12 months.

Fact of the Week

  • The exchange traded fund (ETF) industry has grown from 80 funds in the year 2000 to now 1,603 funds today managing over $2.1 trillion in assets. (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
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.