Fed Chair Finalists, Catalonia: Wealth Economic Update Oct. 20, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • fed_chair-104257649As Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term expiration date nears, the finalists for the next Fed Chair are beginning to narrow. The decision between finalists Janet Yellen, Jerome Powell, Kevin Warsh, Gary Cohn, and John Taylor is expected to be made by President Trump before November 3rd. On Thursday, President Trump met with the five candidates and Fed Governor Jerome Powell is leading the pack as he appears to favor no change from current Fed policy and is favored by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
  • The crisis in Catalonia rose to higher levels today as the possibility of the government losing power over the region has become very real after the process to suspend government powers in the region has made further progress and Regional President Carles Puigdemont continues his push for independence. The Regional President is persistently asking to meet with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to begin discussing the future of Catalonia while the Prime Minister has vowed to force the region to obey the law.

Markets

  • Markets surged higher this week with both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average setting new All-Time Highs once again during the week. The S&P rose 0.88% and closed at 2,575. The Dow Jones rose 2.04% for the week and closed at 23,329. Year to date, the S&P is up 16.75% and the Dow is up 20.10%.
  • Interest rates also dramatically increased this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.02% and 2.38%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 0.44% this week, closing at $51.96 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 3.28%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week lower by 1.75%, closing at $1,280.95 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 11.63%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims decreased by 22,000 from last week, coming in at 222,000, reaching its lowest level since 1973 and no state’s claims increased by more than 1,000. The decline in claims in hurricane affected states attributed to the overall decline in the month. The four week moving average for claims fell to 248,000.
  • Housing starts fell by 4.7% in September to 1,127k while August’s numbers were revised up. The decline affected both single-family and multi-family homes and the month’s weakness is likely to be explained by the hurricanes in the South region.
  • Existing home sales increased by 0.7% in September to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.39 million units versus consensus expectations of a -0.9% decline. Declines in the South region were more than offset by other regions in the country.

Fact of the Week

  • The New York stock market crash of 1987 happened 30 years ago this week, on October 19, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA of the Dow) plunged by a then-record 508 points-a 22% decline in the index.
    • Currently, a 500-point down day would only amount to a 2.2% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It has happened 17 times since 1987.
    • Today, it is not uncommon for 1-1.5 billion shares to be traded on a given day.
    • On October 19, 1987, Apple was only 6% of the size of IBM, then the largest company in the nation. Presently, Apple Inc.’s market capitalization is 6X (or 600%) that of IBM’s.

(Source: Oppenheimer)

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, Catalonia, Hurricanes: Wealth Economic Update Oct. 13, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • Minutes from the September Federal Reserve meeting were released this week and included comments about the near-term effects from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria but generally expressed unchanged views on underlying growth and inflation conditions. Many participants thought that another rate increase this year was likely warranted “if the medium term outlook remained broadly unchanged,” and consensus views continue to call for three rate hikes in 2018. The Fed will meet twice more in 2017, in November and in December, and the market is currently pricing in a 73% probability of a rate hike in December.
  • Catalonia-579153418_360The Catalonia saga continued on this week, though tensions have somewhat eased. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, declared independence for the region but then halted the separation process to instead propose talks with the Spanish government. With the act, Puigdemont and his team remain in danger of being arrested for sedition, and Spanish President Mariano Rajoy had previously rejected any talks until secession plans were abandoned. Spanish and other European markets experienced a relief rally as a result of Catalonia choosing the more diplomatic option.

Markets

  • Markets grinded higher with both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average setting new All-Time Highs during the week. The S&P rose 0.17% and closed at 2,553. The Dow Jones rose 0.43% for the week and closed at 22,872. Year to date, the S&P is up 15.86% and the Dow is up 17.92%.
  • Interest rates pulled back this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.90% and 2.27%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 4.20% this week, closing at $51.36 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 4.26%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week higher by 2.09%, closing at $1,303.41 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 13.59%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims decreased by 15,000 from last week, coming in at 245,000, only modestly above its pre-hurricane level. Jobless claims continued to normalize in the hurricane-affected states. The four week moving average for claims fell to 258,000.
  • The headline Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) rose 0.5% in September, slightly missing expectations of 0.6%. Headline CPI was boosted by a 6.1% increase in energy prices during the month. Over the last 12 months, the CPI is up 2.2%.
    • Core CPI (excludes food and energy prices) increased 0.1% in the month, missing forecasts of 0.2%. Over the last year, core inflation has risen 1.7%.
  • Retail sales rose 1.6% for September, just below the forecast of 1.7%. After seeing weakness in August due to the hurricanes, September’s sales bounced back with auto sales rising 3.6% and gas station sales rising 5.6%.

Fact of the Week

  • It was 10 years ago this week (10/9/07) that the S&P 500 peaked at a then all-time high of 1,565. The very next day, the index began a substantial 17 month slide that dragged the S&P down 57%, its worst bear market loss in the last 80 years. With the S&P closing at 2,553 on Friday, even if an investor had bought the 2007 market top on 10/9/07, they would have still experienced a 7.3% annualized total return (includes dividends) over the last 10 years. (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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Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

 

Vegas shooting, Catalonia, Hurricane Maria: Wealth Economic Update Oct. 6, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • mandalay_bay_360During a country music concert in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history from his hotel suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel, killing 58 people and wounding more than 500 more. Paddock had a large cache of rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition and two ‘bump-stocks’ that convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatics. Police are still seeking clues to explain Paddock’s motives and legislators are reviewing current gun laws and how he was able to assemble such a deadly arsenal. Gun stocks rallied following the massacre on reports of people stocking up on firearms ahead of potential legislation.
  • Catalonia is once again pushing for its independence from Spain as more than 90% of Catalan voters favored breaking off in a referendum deemed by Spanish officials as illegal. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is calling for international mediation for the dispute with Madrid, stating its referendum was valid and must be implemented. Puigdemont is also calling for a removal of Spanish security forces that have been clashing with citizens for weeks and has said that the Catalonia region will declare independence within a “matter of days.”
  • According to the island’s treasury secretary, Puerto Rico will need “tens of billions” of dollars in aid from the U.S. as it struggles to bounce back from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. President Trump visited the island this week to assess the recovery efforts. While Trump said early in the visit, “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you threw our budget a little out of whack,” he also implied that there would be an easing of Puerto Rico’s massive debt load stating, “They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we’re going to have to wipe that out. You’re going to say goodbye to that.”

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 1.25% and closed at 2,549. The Dow Jones rose 1.70% for the week and closed at 22,774. Year to date, the S&P is up 15.67% and the Dow is up 17.42%.
  • Interest rates continued to push higher this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.97% and 2.37%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil decreased by 4.68% this week, closing at $49.25 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 8.32%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week lower by 0.24%, closing at $1,276.68 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 11.26%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims decreased by 12,000 from last week, coming in at 260,000. Jobless claims pulled back in hurricane-affected states. The four week moving average for claims fell to 268,000.
  • The September employment report showed a loss of 33,000 jobs during the month, widely missing expectations of an 80,000 payroll increase. The miss appears to be completely related to distortions caused by the multiple hurricanes that hit the country during the month. The prior two months figures were revised down a combined 38,000, bringing the three month average of job gains down to 91,000.
    • The headline unemployment rate fell to 4.2%, beating expectations of 4.4%. It doesn’t appear as though the hurricanes had an effect on the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate increased from 62.9% to 63.1%.
    • Average hourly earnings rose by 0.5% in September, better than forecasts of 0.3%. Over the last 12 months, average wages have increased 2.9%.

Fact of the Week

  • Harvard University’s $37.1 billion endowment fund, which is the largest university endowment fund in the world, gained just 8.1% in the 12 months ending on June 30th. This compares to a 17.9% return for the S&P 500 over the same time period; a performance that the CEO of Harvard’s management company called “disappointing”. (Source: Harvard Management Company)

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, 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

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 2, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • Greece submitted its list of economic reform plans to the Eurozone finance ministers just before Monday’s deadline. While the list was approved, clearing the path for a four month extension to Greece’s bailout funding, the finance ministers warned that the reforms must be expanded in detail before new bailout funding would be released.
  • Following months of negotiations, West Coast ports have been reopened and are working at full speed after a new five year labor contract agreement was reached. Port officials estimate that it will take at least three months to clear the backlog of containers that have been piling up during the labor stoppage. The strike has disrupted shipments for companies across the country as merchandise has been sitting idle in stacked containers, waiting to be unloaded.
  • world_internet_000003759439_320The FCC has approved net neutrality restrictions on the internet, reclassifying broadband services under the Telecommunications Act. The vote for the measure was 3 to 2 and went down party lines with the Democrats carrying the vote. The new rules will prevent internet service providers from prioritizing the speeds of service they provide to customers and charging higher rates for ‘fast lanes’ of the internet. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the action was an “irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one, whether government or corporate, should control free and open access to the internet.”

Markets

  • Equity markets were mostly flat this week. The S&P 500 lost 0.24%, closing at 2,104, while the Dow Jones gained 0.02% and closed at 18,033. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are up 2.57% and 2.22%.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets moved down this week. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 2.00% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.50%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil fell this week, losing 3.05% and closing at $49.26 per barrel. In 2015, WTI Oil prices have fallen 9.21%.
  • The spot price of Gold rose by 0.92% this week and closed at $1,213.00 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 2.41%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims jumped up from last week, coming in at 313,000 vs. consensus estimates of 290,000. The Labor Department noted that no special factors affected claims this week. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 294,500.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.9% in December vs. consensus estimates of a 0.6% increase. Appreciation was seen across all 20 of the cities monitored in this index. Over the past year, home prices have risen 4.5% as measured by the index.
  • The headline Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) fell 0.7% in January, pushed lower by an 18.7% drop in gasoline prices. Core CPI, which does not include food or energy, rose 0.2%, better than the expected 0.1%. Despite this better core CPI number for January, the one year rate of change stands at a subdued 1.6%.

Fact of the Week

  • On July 15, 2014, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen stated in her scheduled testimony to Congress that, “Equity valuations of smaller firms as well as social media and biotechnology firms appear to be stretched…” This sort of sector specific commentary from a Fed Chair was highly unusual and questioned at the time. Her call on social media stocks was good, as since then, those stocks have returned -1.11% (as measured by the Global X Social Media ETF, SOCL) compared to the S&P 500 return of 7.9% during that time. However, her biotech call doesn’t look so good as those stocks have gained 52.3% (as measured by the SPDR Biotech ETF, XBI) in that time. Yellen was back in front of Congress again this week but didn’t provide any asset class valuation calls this time around.

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® – (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

Wealth Management Economic Update February 24, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • After a full week of contentious negotiations, a tentative agreement has been reached between Greece and Eurozone finance ministers, which would provide for a four month extension of Greece’s bailout program. This would allow Greece to access €10 billion of funding the country desperately needs. New Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras had been seeking a six month extension and a roll back of the austerity measures the original bailout had been contingent upon, instead winding up with only four months and no change to austerity. Greece must provide an action plan on Monday outlining steps they will be taking to improve its fiscal situation in order for the deal to be complete.  Additionally, Greece will be subject to reviews by the IMF and the ECB to ensure they are following the terms of the agreement, conditions which the country had been fighting against. Temporarily preventing Greece from exiting the Eurozone, this ‘kick the can down the road’ agreement will likely lead to the situation being revisited in four months.
  • russia_000057310942LargeThe U.S. has accused Russia of violating the ceasefire in Ukraine. This is amid reports that Ukrainian troops are pulling out of the key railroad hub town of Debaltseve after separatist forces fought their way into the key railway junction on Tuesday. Vice President Joe Biden strongly condemned the violence and warned the “costs to Russia will rise if it continues to violate the Minsk agreements.”
  • Minutes from the January Fed meeting showed the committee to be a bit more dovish than consensus believed. There was no clear indication that most participants thought that ‘patience’ should be removed from the upcoming Fed statement as it pertains to when an initial rate hike will come. Many still believe the Fed is on track for a June or September initial hiking of the Fed Funds rate, as long as employment and inflation data continue to improve.

Markets

  • Equity markets continued to rise this week following the four month Greek extension as both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones closed the week at new All-Time Highs. The S&P 500 gained 0.67%, closing at 2,110, while the Dow Jones gained 0.69% and closed at 18,140. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are up 2.80% and 2.17%.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets continued to creep upwards this week. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 2.12% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.60%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil fell this week, losing 4.62% and closing at $50.34 per barrel. In 2015, WTI Oil prices have fallen 5.50%.
  • The spot price of Gold fell by 2.23% this week and closed at $1,229.66 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 1.51%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims decreased from last week, coming in at 283,000 vs. consensus estimates of 290,000. The Labor Department noted that some states had to have their claims estimated due to severe weather. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 283,250.

Fact of the Week

  • Since the beginning of 1986 through close today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen from 1,547 to 18,140, a price increase of 1,072%. Breaking down when these gains occurred results in a pretty interesting finding. The combined gains on the index on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays comes to 988.46%, while the combined gain of Thursdays and Fridays is just 8.95%. The Dow has been doing its work early in the week and been taking four day weekends for 30 years. (Source: Eddy Elfenbein, Crossing Wall Street)

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® – (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

Wealth Management Economic Update February 16, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • After unsuccessful meetings this week in Brussels, Belgium, European finance ministers put off decisions on Greece’s bailout terms until they reconvene next week. Greece is trying to negotiate a €10 billion bridge loan to keep the country solvent as it works with its creditors. Greek officials are promising they will make every effort to reach an agreement on conditions for a new support program although new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras continues to vow to roll back austerity measures in the country, jeopardizing its ability to renegotiate.
  • A ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine has been reached and will begin on February 15th. This was the result of a 17 hour meeting between leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. The new deal revives a failed September agreement and includes commitments from each side to pull back heavy weapons. Should this agreement fail, many Western nations are considering increased sanctions against Russia.
  • Sweden has joined the fray when it comes to central bank easing as its Riksbank cut its repo rate into negative territory, down to -0.1%. Riksbank also announced a 10 billion kronor ($1.2 billion) quantitative easing program in which the bank will purchase Swedish government bonds.

Markets

  • Equity markets continued to rally this week, with the S&P 500 gaining 2.09% and closing at a new All-Time High of 2,097. Likewise, the Dow Jones gained 1.26% and closed at 18,019. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are up 2.11% and 1.47%.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets continued to creep upwards this week. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 2.04% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.53%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil continued to rise from very low levels, gaining 1.64% and closing at $52.54 per barrel. In 2015, WTI Oil prices have fallen 2.16%.
  • The spot price of Gold fell by 0.35% this week and closed at $1,229.66 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 3.82%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims increased from last week, coming in at 304,000 vs. consensus estimates of 287,000. The Labor Department noted that some states had to have their claims estimated due to severe weather. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 289,750.
  • Headline retail sales declined 0.8% in January, more than the 0.4% decline that was expected. The drop was largely due to a 9.3% drop in gasoline station sales due to lower prices. This indicates that consumers are not yet spending the savings they’ve been enjoying at the gas pump, but this is not terribly surprising as oil price declines have historically affected the economy with a lag.

Fact of the Week

  • According to the Treasury Department, the average interest rate paid by the US government on the country’s interest-bearing debt has fallen by more than half over the last 8 years, dropping from 5.03% at the end of 2006 to 2.37% at the end of 2014.

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® – (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

Wealth Management Economic Update February 11, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • The second full week of the Syriza Party’s power in Greece was another tumultuous one that first started with Germany ruling out any debt write downs for Greece and an ECB policymaker threatening to cut off funding to Greek banks if Athens doesn’t agree to renew its bailout package. Fears were calmed a bit when Greece proposed ending the confrontation with its creditors by swapping outstanding debt for new growth-linked bonds, running a permanent budget surplus and targeting wealthy tax-evaders. However, later in the week the ECB put more pressure on Greece by revoking a waiver that allowed banks to use Greek government debt as collateral for loans. All of this is to say, stay tuned to the Greek situation.
  • australia_000047410124_300The Reserve Bank of Australia has joined the easing party, becoming the latest global central bank to cut interest rates in response to slowing inflation and concerns about economic growth. The RBA’s cut was its first change since August 2014 and lowered its benchmark rate by 0.25% to a new low of 2.25%

Markets

  • Equity markets rallied this week, with the S&P 500 gaining 3.09% and closing at 2,055. Likewise, the Dow Jones gained 3.86% and closed at 17,824. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are virtually unchanged.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets spiked up this week, especially after a solid employment report seemed supportive of a Fed rate hike during the summer. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 1.97% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.49%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil continued to bounce from very low levels, rising 8.37% and closing at $52.28 per barrel. In 2015, WTI Oil prices have fallen 2.64%.
  • The spot price of Gold fell by 3.88% this week and closed at $1,234.04 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 4.19%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims increased a bit from last week but remained quite low, coming in at 278,000 vs. consensus estimates of 290,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the report. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 292,750.
  • The January nonfarm payroll employment report showed a gain of 257,000 jobs vs. expectations of 228,000. Job gains for November and December were revised up by a combined 147,000, bringing the three month average gain to 336,000 jobs.
    • The headline unemployment rate ticked up from 5.6% to 5.7%. However, the labor force participation rate increased 0.2% to 62.9% which is what pushed the unemployment rate up.
    • Another positive sign was average hourly earnings rising 0.5% vs. expectations of 0.3%. The 1 year growth in average hourly earnings now stands at 2.2%.

Fact of the Week

  • According to World Bank, if the state of California were a country, its $2.2 trillion economy would rank as the 8th largest in the world, ahead of Russia, Italy, India, Canada, Australia and Spain.

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® – (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

Wealth Management Economic Update February 2, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • The left-wing, anti-austerity Syriza party won the general election in Greece on Sunday, raising concerns over the country’s future status as member of the European Union. Party leader Alexis Tsipras has already moved to form a coalition that will work to reverse years of austerity measures imposed by the Troika. The Syriza government also came out against increasing sanctions on Russia for escalating violence in Ukraine. This could be very problematic for EU foreign policy, as further sanctions must be unanimously voted upon by all EU nations.
  • Just about a week after President Obama floated the idea of ending the tax advantage of 529 College Savings plans, the administration has decided to scrap the proposal. Amid outrage from a broad range of Americans, Obama has decided that the plan is a “distraction” and will seek to raise revenue in other ways.
  • ruble_320Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk, due to weak economic growth prospects, low oil prices and sanctions from the West. The move sent the Russian currency, the ruble, plunging to new lows.

Markets

  • Equity markets tumbled this week with the S&P 500 falling 2.75% and closing at 1,995. Likewise, the Dow Jones lost 2.87% and closed at 17,165. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are down 3.00% and 3.58% respectively.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets remained at very low levels this week. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 1.65% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.17%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil reversed course after a sharp bounce on Friday, rising 4.89% and closing at $47.82 per barrel. In 2015, WTI Oil prices have fallen 10.95%.
  • The spot price of Gold fell by 0.79% this week and closed at $1,283.92 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 8.41%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined sharply from last week, coming in at 265,000 vs. consensus estimates of 300,000. This was a new low mark for the recovery. While the Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the report, the holiday shortened week (MLK Day) may have skewed the data. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 298,500.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.7% in November vs. expectations of 0.6%. This represents the strongest monthly gain since March. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by the index have risen 4.3%.
  • The first estimate of GDP showed 2.6% growth vs. expectations of 3%. Growth was aided by a strong 4.3% increase in consumer spending but was suppressed by increasing import activity. Full year 2014 GDP growth now stands at 2.5%, which is a solid gain especially given the -2.1% number posted in the 1st quarter of 2014.

Fact of the Week

  • Apple reported earnings this week, showing that the company has $178 billion in cash reserves on its balance sheet. The size of this cash component alone would rank it 5th in size in the entire S&P 500. This amount of cash would be enough to give each American $556 or purchase every pro sports franchise in the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.

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® – (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

Wealth Management Economic Update January 26, 2015

U.S. and World News

  • President Obama delivered his State of the Union address this week, declaring that the economy has recovered under his leadership and discussed several measures that he would like to see enacted during his final two years in office. Among them, he called on Congress to impose new taxes on high-income earners and new fees on large financial institutions. Obama also reiterated his plan to offer free community college that would be funded by the federal and state government, but is seemingly seeking to discourage individuals from saving for their child’s college by eliminating the tax advantages of Section 529 and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. Many of the issues he raised have little to no chance of passing in the Republican controlled House and Senate.
  • European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announced this week that the central bank plans to expand its purchase of European government bonds to €60 billion per month until at least September 2016. While additional quantitative easing was expected, the size of the program was larger than consensus expectations. The goal of the plan is to reverse deflationary pressures that are weighing on the Eurozone as many of the country’s economies have stagnated recently.
  • oil-rig_000003751456_250King Abdullah, 91, of Saudi Arabia died this week, calling into question the future of the Saudi’s strategy for crude oil production. Historically, the country has been the oil market’s swing producer, altering production volumes based on demand in order to keep prices stable, but this has not been the case during the current plunge in oil prices. Abdullah’s half-brother, Crown Prince Salman has been declared King and a key indicator of the future Saudi oil policy will be whether Salman retains oil minister Ali Al-Naimi, who has driven the decision making since 1995.

Markets

  • Equity markets ended positively this week following the ECB’s announcement of an increased quantitative easing program. The S&P 500 rose 1.62% and closed at 2,052. Likewise, the Dow Jones gained 0.95% and closed at 17,673. Year to date, the S&P and Dow Jones are down 0.26% and 0.73% respectively.
  • Yields in the Treasury markets remained at very low levels this week. The 10 year Treasury bond now yields 1.79% and the 5 year Treasury bond yields 1.31%.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil plunged again this week, falling 7.63% and closing at $45.32 per barrel. In 2015, WTI Oil prices have fallen 15.49%.  According to AAA, the national average gas price is now $2.04/gallon as compared to $3.29 a year ago.
  • The spot price of Gold rose by 1.09% this week and closed at $1,294.39 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 9.29%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims declined from last week, coming in at 307,000 vs. consensus estimates of 300,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors affecting the report. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 306,500.
  • Housing starts rose 4.4% in December against expectations of 1.2%. Rising 7.2% in the month, the increase was primarily from the single-family home category which is a more positive signal.
  • China reported that its economy grew by 7.4% in 2014, its slowest pace since 1990 when growth was only 3.8% as a result of international sanctions following the Tiananmen Square massacre. The slowing growth pace has prompted speculation that the People’s Bank of China may undergo additional support measures.

Fact of the Week

  • The economy of the United States is estimated to be $17.5 trillion, representing 23% of the $77.6 trillion global economy. The 19 countries that make up the Eurozone and use the common currency collectively have an economy of $13.2 trillion, or 17% of the global economy.

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® – (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