Russia-Election, Turkey: Wealth Economic Update Dec. 30, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • In response to its alleged hacking and interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Obama administration announced new sanctions against Russia this week, including expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two Russian compounds in the U.S. The White House stated, “Russia’s cyber activities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in U.S. democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the U.S. government.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Moscow will not retaliate in-kind and will refrain from expelling U.S. diplomats from the country, a decision that was praised by President-Elect Donald Trump in a Friday afternoon tweet.
  • Expanding on the truce that was established in Aleppo earlier this month, Russia and Turkey have brokered a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. The agreement would come into force in all regions where fighting between pro-government forces and opposition groups is taking place. The accord is already off to a shaky start as just after the ceasefire was set to take effect, it was reported that clashes between insurgents and government forces took place in several locations.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 fell by 1.07% and closed at 2,239. The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased by 0.46% and closed the year at 19,763 and was unable to reach the 20,000 milestone in 2016. For the year, the S&P rose 11.77% and the Dow climbed 16.16%.
  • Interest rates continued to retreat from their recent highs this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes now yield 1.93% and 2.45%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose by 1.49% this week and closed 2016 at $53.83 per barrel. WTI Crude was up 34.40% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold increased by 1.59% this week, ending the year at $1,151.35 per ounce. In 2016, gold prices rose 8.50%.

Economic Data

  • Weekly initial jobless claims came in at 265,000, a decrease from last week’s reading of 275,000. The Labor Department noted not major distortions to the data this week. The four week moving average for jobless claims now stands at 263,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index rose by 0.6% in October, beating expectations of 0.5%. Prices rose in all 20 cities measured by the index and have now risen 5.1% over the last 12 months.
  • Pending home sales fell 2.5% in November to a 10-month low. Pending sales fell in the West (-6.7%), Midwest (-2.5%) and South (-1.2%) but rose in the Northeast (+0.6%). The weak report may be an indication that higher mortgage rates are beginning to affect demand.

Fact of the Week

  • The number of electronic devices that are connected to the internet (ie. laptops, phones, care, appliances etc.) surpassed the world’s population in 2010. By 2020, the number of connected devices will reach 50 billion, or almost 7 times the world’s population of 7.3 billion. (Source: Federal Trade Commission)

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

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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.

 

Attempted coup: Wealth Economic Update Aug 1, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • turkey_7947841_340Following the attempted military coup earlier this month, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is tightening his grip on the country by ordering the closure of over 2,000 private schools, charities and other institutions in his first action since imposing a state of emergency. Also causing alarm among Turkey’s NATO allies was Erdogan shutting down 130 media outlets and his dismissal of over 1,500 military officers as he attempts to regain complete control over the country.
  • The Federal Reserve held its policy meeting this week, leaving interest rates unchanged but altering the language in its statement. The Committee upgraded their assessment of the U.S. labor market, noting that “job gains were strong in June following weak growth in May.” The other key phrase in their statement was, “Near term risks to the economic outlook have diminished.” While this does not make a rate hike imminent, it indicates that the Fed would like to raise rates sometime this year. Kansas City Fed President Esther George dissented, favoring an increase in interest rates at this meeting.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 was down 0.05% and closed at 2,174. The Dow Jones fell 0.75% and closed at 18,432. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 7.56% and the Dow is up 7.25%.
  • Interest rates retreated this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.02% and 1.45%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil fell 0.62% this week to close at $41.46 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 3.65% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold gained 2.16% this week, closing at $1,351.28 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 27.35%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 266,000 which is higher than last week’s reading of 253,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved down to 257,000.
  • The Case-Shiller home price index declined by 0.1% in May, missing expectations of a 0.1% increase. Data was mixed across the cities that are part of the index. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by Case-Shiller have risen 5.2%.
  • The initial reading of 2nd quarter U.S. GDP showed 1.2% annualized growth, much lower than the consensus estimate of 2.5% annualized growth. This figure will be subject to multiple revisions.

Fact of the Week

  • National health care expenditures in the United States during 2016 are projected to reach $3.35 trillion, or $10,346 per person. (Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

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

 

UK & Germany: Wealth Economic Update July 25, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May made it clear that she would attempt to secure a very close economic relationship with Germany post-Brexit, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to negotiate until the U.K. invokes Article 50. If negotiations were to start early, it would give the British incentives to delay notification (the official start of the 2 year negotiation process), which would give them an advantage and could lead to the negotiations being dragged out indefinitely.  
  • A three-month state of emergency has been declared by Turkey’s President Erdogan Wednesday night in order to “protect democratic values” by stopping parliament from passing new laws against supporters of last Friday’s coup. President Erdogan has also suspended or detained roughly 50,000 police officers, judges, civil servants, and teachers this week which has provided some stability, but some uncertainty still remains. The Turkish equity index regained some of its losses and Turkey’s central bank cut its overnight lending rate 0.25% to 8.75%.

Markets

  • This week the S&P 500 was up 0.64% and closed at 2,175. The Dow Jones gained 0.35% and closed at 18,571. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 7.61% and the Dow is up 8.05%.
  • The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.12% and 1.57%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil fell 5.21% this week to close at $44.22 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 4.29% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold lost 1.11% this week, closing at $1,322.64 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 24.65%. 

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 253,000 which is slightly lower than last week’s reading. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved down to 259,000.
  • Existing home sales were up 1.1% in June reaching a post-crisis high versus expectations of a slight decline. This was led by multi-family home sales and homes in the Midwest region.

Fact of the Week

  • The medium square footage of new single family homes built in the United States in 2015 was 2,467 square feet, an increase of 547 square feet over the last 20 years. That’s equivalent to a 23’ x 23’ addition to new homes today when compared to 1995 home construction. Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Jean Van Keppel CFA® – (630) 906-5489 jvankeppel@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767 jbinder@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

*Image of Theresa May, Photo credit:UK Home Office, via Wikimedia Commons. License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.. (See, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Theresa_May_2015_(cropped).jpg).

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 April 4, 2016

U.S. and World News

  • In a speech at the Economic Club of New York, Fed Chair Janet Yellen emphasized downside risks to the U.S. economic outlook which derive from slower global growth. On inflation, Yellen acknowledged the recent uptick in core prices but said it is “too early to tell if this recent faster pace will prove durable.” The dovish comments follow the decision earlier in the month by the Fed to leave interest rates unchanged and lower its forecasts for future hikes.
  • turkey_istanbul_360The European Union will start implementing its controversial plan for asylum seekers on Monday by transferring the first group of migrants back to Turkey. Under the deal, EU countries have pledged to take in one screened refugee directly from Turkish soil for each Syrian refugee returned to Turkey. In addition, Turkey will receive nearly $7 billion and other concessions to help the country stem the migrant tide and deal with the 2.7 million Syrians currently living in the country.

Markets

  • Markets resumed their rally and finished the 1st quarter on a positive note. The S&P 500 gained 1.84% and closed at 2,073. Likewise, the Dow Jones rose 1.58% and closed at 17,793. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 1.95% and the Dow is up 2.76%.
  • Interest rates moved down this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.23% and 1.78%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil fell 7.05% this week to close at $36.68 per barrel. WTI Crude is down 8.25% in 2016.
  • The spot price of Gold increased 0.40% this week, closing at $1,221.95 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 15.16%. 

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims came in at 276,000 which was an increase from last week’s reading of 265,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 263,000.
  • The monthly non-farm payrolls report showed 215,000 jobs added in March, beating estimates of 205,000. With only modest backward revisions, the three month average for job gains now stands at 209,000.
    • Despite the strong job gains, the headline unemployment rate ticked up 0.1% to 5.0% which was higher than expected. This was mostly due to a 0.1% increase in the labor force participation rate which now stands at 63.0%. The participation rate has now risen 0.6% since September.
    • Average hourly earnings rose 0.3%, more than the expected 0.2%. Wage growth over the last 12 months now stands at 2.3%.
  • The Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 0.8% in January, better than expectations of  0.7%. All 20 cities in the index showed gains in home prices for the month. Over the last 12 months, home prices as measured by the index have risen 5.8%.
  • The headline PCE Index (measure of inflation) declined by -0.1% in February, in line with expectations. Headline prices have only risen by 1.0% over the last year, being dragged down by slumping energy prices.
    • The Core PCE Index (excludes food and energy, Fed’s preferred measure of inflation) was up 0.15%, slightly below estimates of 0.2%. Over the last year, core prices have risen 1.7%, lower than the forecast of 1.8% and the Fed’s target of 2.0%.

Fact of the Week

  • According to the Social Security Administration, 35% of American men and 40% of American women elect to take their Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, the earliest age a worker can access those benefits. Those who do take benefits at 62 are taking a permanent 25% discount to what the benefit would be at full retirement age.

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.