Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary

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Weekly Financial Market Commentary

December 27, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Investors were feeling bullish.

Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index closed at a record high for the 68th time this year. That’s the second-highest number of record closes in a single year. The highest number occurred during 1995, when the S&P 500 had 77 record highs, reported Reuters. That was the year the Dow Jones Industrial Average passed 4,000 for the first time and then rose above 5,000, reported Wayne Duggan of Benzinga.

“The market deserves to celebrate. [COVID] brought death and dislocation, but we tend to pay too little heed to what didn’t happen. If vaccines hadn’t changed the pandemic’s trajectory, the U.S. would have suffered nearly 1.1 million additional deaths and 10 million more hospitalizations – according to an epidemiological model by the Commonwealth Fund cited this past week in the Journal of the American Medical Association,” reported Bill Alpert of Barron’s.

That may be the case, but investors were likely focused on expectations for consumer sentiment, economic growth and corporate earnings.

The Conference Board reported that the consumer outlook for income, business and labor market conditions improved significantly in December, rising from 90.2 to 96.9. A growing share of survey respondents plan to buy houses, cars and major appliances during the next six months. The number of people planning vacations increased, too, reported Lucia Mutikani of Reuters.

Consumer optimism could bode well for economic growth, which was robust in 2021, up 6.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, 6.7 percent in the second quarter, and 2.3 percent in the third quarter. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported, “From the second quarter to the third quarter, spending for goods turned down (led by motor vehicles and parts) and services decelerated (led by food services and accommodations).”

Despite the July to September slowdown in GDP, corporate earnings remained unusually strong. Earnings are a measure of companies’ profitability, Analysts estimated that the corporate earnings growth rate for 2021 is 45.1 percent, year-over-year. That’s well above the trailing 10-year average annual earnings growth rate of 5 percent, reported John Butters of FactSet.

All sectors of the S&P 500 Index are expected to have had positive year-over-year earnings growth in 2021. Energy, Industrials, Materials, Consumer Discretionary and Financials sectors have experienced the strongest growth.

We hope the new year is filled with good health and prosperity.

Beeple, the ever given and billionaires in space…If you had to describe 2021 with a single word, what would you choose? Innovative? Frustrating? Too much? Something saltier? It certainly wasn’t an easy year but, in many ways, it was better than the preceding one. As we say goodbye to 2021, let’s not forget:

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Non-fungible tokenswere among the manias that gripped the global community during 2021. Consider the case of Beeple, a digital artist from Wisconsin who is also known as Mike Winkelmann. Before 2021, the highest price commanded by a Beeple print was $100, reported Jacob Kastrenakes of The Verge. Then his collage, The First 5000 Days, became the first digital artwork offered for sale by a prestigious auction house. It sold for more than $69 million.

Commenting on a picture in the collage, the visionary digital artist said, “It’s a picture of my Uncle Jim, who I nicknamed Uber Jay. I probably would have spent more time on this, had I known it would eventually be part of a piece auctioned by Christie’s!”

  • Misadventures of theEver Given. Global trade was disrupted last March when one of the world’s largest cargo ships became wedged in the Suez Canal, blocking all of the ships trying to access the canal for six days. After it was freed, the ship was impounded for three months while reparations were negotiated, reported the BBC.

 Its predicament briefly transformed international shipping into a spectator sport. Azmi Haroun of The Insider reported, “Social media users were quick to find deeper meaning in the ‘Big Engine That Couldn’t.’”

  • Billionaires in Space. Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson journeyed into space along with various guests, courtesy of their respective space programs. Elon Musk’s private spaceflight company shuttled NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Japanese entrepreneur (and former drummer in a punk rock band) Yusaku Maezawa become the first billionaire on the ISS. He journeyed by Russian rocket, reported the BBC.

 In 2016, Musk explained his focus on space travel. “History is going to bifurcate along two directions. One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event…The alternative is to become a spacefaring civilization and a multi-planet species, which I hope you would agree is the right way to go.”

By the way, Dictionary.com chose ‘Allyship’ as its word of the year. The Oxford Languages chose ‘Vax,’ and Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary chose ‘Strollout’ (in recognition of the country’s slow vaccine rollout).

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better [person].”
—Benjamin Franklin, writer

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Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

 

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

 

Sources:
https://www.reuters.com/markets/asia/live-markets-sp-500-puts-another-record-high-close-under-tree-2021-12-23/ (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-27-21_Reuters_Live%20Markets%20S&P%20500%20Puts%20Another%20Record-High%20Close%20Under%20the%20Tree_1.pdf)
https://www.benzinga.com/etfs/broad-u-s-equity-etfs/21/02/11251625/this-day-in-market-history-dow-hits-4-000
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stock-market-sp-500-record-omicron-51640309982?refsec=the-trader (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-27-21_Barrons_Omicron%20Who_3.pdf)
https://www.conference-board.org/topics/consumer-confidence
https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/us-third-quarter-economic-growth-revised-slightly-higher-2021-12-22/ (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-27-21_Reuters_U.S.%20Consumer%20Confidence%20Perks%20Up_5.pdf)
https://www.bea.gov/sites/default/files/2021-12/gdp3q21_3rd.pdf
https://insight.factset.com/factsets-2021-year-in-review (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-27-21_Reuters_U.S.%20Consumer%20Confidence%20Perks%20Up_5.pdf)
https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/11/22325054/beeple-christies-nft-sale-cost-everydays-69-million
https://www.christies.com/features/Monumental-collage-by-Beeple-is-first-purely-digital-artwork-NFT-to-come-to-auction-11510-7.aspx
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-58288512
https://www.insider.com/best-memes-ever-given-suez-canal-logjam-2021-3
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-59544223
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52840482
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55564448
https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-year/
https://languages.oup.com/word-of-the-year/2021/
https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/resources/view/word/of/the/year/
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/benjamin_franklin_141046

Happy Holidays from Research Financial Strategies

Happy Holidays from Research Financial Strategies

Traditional Holiday Fares

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa this December, the festivities wouldn’t be complete without the scrumptious foods that make up our personal traditions. Before you reach for another helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, see how well you can match up the traditional dishes to the many other countries who will be celebrating the holidays as well.

Austria                                     Tamales
Denmark                                 Potato pancakes fried in oil
England                                   Fried carp
France                                     Big female eel
Israel                                       Turkey with truffles
Italy                                         Oysters and foie gras
Mexico                                    Porridge
Norway                                   Codfish with boiled potatoes & cabbage
Poland                                     Noodles with poppy seeds
Portugal                                   Long bread filled with ham and raisins
Spain                                       Pudding with flaming brandy
Sweden                                   Roasted goose
Venezuela                               Fish soaked in lye

This holiday, consider adding one of these dishes to make some new traditions with your friends and family. And, as is our tradition at Research Financial Strategies, we will continue to monitor your investments.

We wish you the happiest of holiday seasons!

Jack 
and your entire team at Research Financial Strategies

 

Answers:  Austria – fried carp; Denmark – goose; England – pudding with flaming brandy; France – oysters and foie gras; Israel – potato pancakes fried in oil; Italy – big female eel; Mexico – tamales; Norway – porridge; Poland – noodles with poppy seeds; Portugal – codfish with boiled potatoes and cabbage; Spain – turkey with truffles; Sweden – fish soaked in lye; Venezuela – long bread filled with cooked ham and raisins.

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary

How Are Your Investments Doing Lately?  Receive A Free, No-Obligation 2nd Opinion On Your Investment Portfolio >

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

December 13, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Inflation met expectations.

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) last week, it showed that inflation was at levels last seen in 1982. In November, prices were up 0.8 percent month-to-month and 6.8 percent year-to-year.

“It was the blowout, superhot inflation number that everyone was expecting—and it was met with a shrug,” reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. “The major indexes, for their part, rose a touch on Friday to finish what turned out to be a fantastic week: The S&P 500 gained 3.8% to hit a new high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.0% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 3.6%.”

The bond market’s response to the CPI was unexpected, as well. “Indeed, Treasury inflation-protected securities were saying price pressures in future years will be abating instead of getting worse,” reported Randall W. Forsyth of Barron’s.

Forsyth was referring to the breakeven rate, which is the difference in the yields of Treasuries and the yields of inflation-protected Treasuries with the same maturities. The breakeven rate is a measure of investors’ inflation expectations for the next five years. On Friday, the 5-year Breakeven Inflation Rate was 2.76 percent. That was below its November high of 3.17 percent.

The financial markets’ tepid response to the CPI sparked debate about whether inflation has peaked.

No matter which side of the argument you come down on, “The surge in inflation since the start of 2021 means that it is guaranteed to remain elevated in annual terms for a while to come. A relatively optimistic forecast would have inflation returning to its pre-pandemic norm only at the very end of 2022,” reported The Economist.

The Consumer Sentiment Index was up (+4.5 percent) month-to-month, although it remained down year-to-year (-12.8 percent). Respondents were feeling a bit more positive about current economic conditions (+1.4 percent) and significantly more cheerful about the future (+6.8 percent) than they were in November.Sentiment round-up…The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment showed an increase in optimism in early December – and it had nothing to do with the Michigan Wolverines winning the Big 10 Championship for the first time in 17 years.

When respondents were asked whether inflation or unemployment was a more serious problem in the United States, 76 percent chose inflation, 21 percent said unemployment, and the remainder couldn’t decide or thought both were problems.

AAII Investor Sentiment Survey showed that bullishness crept higher last week, but a larger percentage of investors are feeling bearish (30.5 percent) than bullish (29.7 percent). Almost 40 percent of those surveyed were neutral, meaning they were uncertain whether the stock market would move higher or lower over the next six months.

Some say this survey is a strong contrarian indicator, meaning the stock market may do the opposite of what survey respondents think will happen. In other words, if respondents were strongly bullish, the market might be expected to move lower over the next six months, and vice versa. The strong neutral reading indicates investors don’t know what to expect.

TIM Group Market Sentiment Survey reflects the real-time advice that investment bankers, corporate financial advisors, and other sell-side firms are providing to clients.10 Last week, survey respondents took a turn to the bearish. The survey’s sentiment reading was 43 percent, down from 46.8 percent two weeks ago. (A reading of zero is completely bearish and a reading of 100 is completely bullish.)

What do you expect during the next six months?

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”
—John Kenneth Galbraith, economist

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Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

 

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

 

Sources:
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm
https://www.barrons.com/articles/inflation-stocks-bond-market-51639184279?mod=hp_LEAD_3 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-13-21_Barrons_If%20Inflation%20Isnt%20a%20Threat%2c%20These%20Beaten%20Up%20Stocks%20Might%20Be%20a%20Bargain_2.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/why-the-markets-are-shrugging-off-the-latest-inflation-numbers-51639154714 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-13-21_Barrons_Why%20the%20Markets%20Shrugged%20Off%20the%20Latest%20Inflation%20Numbers_3.pdf)
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/T5YIE
https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/why-high-inflation-will-persist-in-america-well-into-the-new-year/21806769
https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/32792986/michigan-cade-mcnamara-big-ten-title-wanted-win-coach-harbaugh (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-13-21_The%20Economist_Why%20High%20Inflation%20Will%20Perisist%20in%20America%20Well%20Into%20the%20New%20Year_6.pdf)
http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu
https://www.aaii.com/sentimentsurvey
https://www.aaii.com/journal/sentimentsurveyarticle
https://sts3.wsj.net/barrons/static_files/newsletterPreviews/marketLab.html (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-13-21_Barrons_Market%20Lab_10.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/market-data/market-lab?mod=md_subnav (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/12-13-21_Barrons_Market%20Lab%202_11.pdf)
https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/john-kenneth-galbraith-quotes

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