China, Budget: Wealth Economic Update Mar. 23, 2018

U.S. and World News

  • The trade negotiations heated up this week as the newly imposed steel and aluminum tariffs come closer to taking effect. China continues to be the main target after an investigation into their practices revealed evidence of unfair terms on U.S. companies and foreign ownership restrictions. The United States filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over allegations that China is breaking WTO rules by denying basic patent rights that would stop Chinese entities from eventually using the technology of foreign patent holders. China responded on Thursday evening by revealing a specific list of 128 U.S goods that they plan to tariff in two steps. The plan includes a 15% tariff on 120 goods totaling $1 billion and a 25% tariff on eight goods totaling $2 billion.
  • self-driving-829192480_360Early this morning, the Senate passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that would fund the government until September 30th, putting an end to the fuss about a potential government shutdown. The bill includes an increase in defense spending of $80 billion, domestic spending of $63 billion, $1.6 billion to fund a border wall with Mexico, and $100 million for research and testing of autonomous cars. Before President Trump signed the bill, he threatened to veto it citing lack of funding for the border wall with Mexico and no consideration for undocumented immigrants.

Markets

  • The markets experienced another selloff this week. The S&P 500 plummeted 93% and closed at 2,588.26. The Dow Jones also experienced a sharp decline this week losing 5.67% and closed at 23,533.20. Year to date, the S&P is down 2.74% and the Dow Jones is down 4.25%.
  • Yields moved lower this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 60% and 2.81%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose 70% this week, closing at $65.97 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are up 9.75%.
  • The spot price of Gold moved higher this week gaining 55%, closing at $1,347.80 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 3.45%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims rose by 3,000 from last week, coming in at 229,000. The four-week moving average moved slightly higher to 224,000. Layoffs remain at a very low pace and continue to fall further.
  • Existing home sales increased by 3.0% in February to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.54 million units, beating expectations of a 0.4% increase. Sales in the West largely contributed to the increase.
  • Sales of new single-family homes fell 0.6% in February to a seasonally adjusted rate of 618,000 units slightly missing expectations of a 620,000 increase.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the Fed Funds rate by 0.25% to a range of 1.50-1.75% in a widely expected move on Wednesday. The meeting had a more hawkish tone than expected, signaling 8 cumulative hikes in 2018-2020 when 6.75 were previously expected. The Fed now expects inflation to rebound in “the coming months” as opposed to “this year”.
  • Durable goods orders rose 3.1% in the month of February, beating expectations of a 1.6% increase. Durable goods orders continue to trend higher and a 25.5% increase in aircraft orders contributed to much of the increase.

Fact of the Week

  • As of last Friday (3/16/18), no US bank had failed YTD and required a financial bailout from the FDIC. This is the latest in any calendar year with no bank failures YTD since 2006, the last year in which no bank failures occurred during the entire year. Over the last 5 calendar years (2013-17), 63 banks failed in the United States, an average of 13 per year (source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).

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
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.

Travel Ban, One China: Wealth Economic Update Feb. 10, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • scales_gavel-509557490_360Three judges in the U.S. Appeals Court upheld the suspension of President Trump’s travel ban this week. The government now has 14 days to ask the 9th Circuit to have a larger panel of judges review the decision or appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, which would likely determine the case’s final outcome. Expressing his displeasure with the Circuit Court’s decision, Trump tweeted, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”
  • In his first phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Trump said that he would honor the nation’s “One China” policy which considers Taiwan as one with China and not a separate nation. Trump also urged closer ties between the U.S. and China. The clarification on the “One China” policy ends weeks of uncertainty regarding Washington’s approach to China.
  • According to a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, President Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion and take more than three years to construct. The projected price tag is much higher than the $12 billion figure cited on the campaign trail and the $15 billion estimated by Republican Congressional leaders.

Markets

  • Markets rose this week with continued low volatility. The S&P 500 gained 0.87% and closed at 2,316 which is an All-Time High. The Dow Jones followed suit by rising 1.13% and closing at 20,269, also an All-Time High. Year to date, the S&P is up 3.66% and the Dow is up 2.83%.
  • Interest rates fell this week and the 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.89% and 2.41%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil was unchanged this week, closing at $53.81 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have risen 0.18%.
  • The spot price of Gold increased by 1.09% this week, closing at $1,233.62 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 7.51%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell 12,000 from last week, coming in at 234,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 244,000 which marks a new 40-year low.
  • The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 95.7 in the preliminary February report following increases in the previous three months. Both consumers’ assessment of current conditions and expectations for the future declined with the expectations component falling further.

Fact of the Week

  • Equity market volatility has been very low for the last portion of 2016 extending into 2017. The S&P 500 has now gone 39 consecutive trading days without experiencing an intraday range of greater than +/- 1% which is the longest stretch that has occurred since 1982. (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
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.