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Perspectives from Above the Noise -- Week of August 20th, 2018

Perspectives from Above the Noise -- Week of August 20th, 2018

August 20, 2018


Stocks Advance on Trade Optimism

August 13 - 17, 2018 Recap

Poised for Record Bull Market. U.S. stocks advanced for a second day on Friday, after the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. and Chinese negotiators agreed to meet towards resolving trade disputes ahead of meetings between President Trump and General Secretary Xi. The news pushed the Dow Industrials to its highest level since February, while the S&P finished within 23-points of its January 26 record high.

Weekly Performance. For the week, the S&P 500 climbed by 0.66%, the Dow Industrials advanced 1.41%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite declined 0.23%, hurt by weakness in semiconductor chipmakers.

Key Economic Data. The leading index of small business optimism surprised higher, rising to the second-highest level on record, just shy of the 1983 peak. Retail sales growth rose 0.5% in July, topping projections for a 0.1% increase, and are up 6.4% from a year ago. Meanwhile, homebuilder sentiment fell to an 11-month low in August and the Philadelphia Fed’s regional manufacturing outlook survey index fell to a 21-month low.

Defensive Sectors Lead. Seven of the 11 major sectors advanced for the week, led by strong gains in Telecom (+3.65%), Consumer Staples (+3.31%) and Real Estate (+3.04%). Energy (-3.42%), Materials (-0.44%), Consumer Discretionary (-0.20%) and Technology (-0.11%) lagged.

Bond Yields Little Changed. Treasury prices crept higher Friday, capping the week with benchmark 10-year Treasury yields down a net 1.3 basis points at 2.861%. The U.S. Dollar Index weakened from a 14-month high last week, slipping 0.27% to end at 96.101. U.S. WTI crude oil futures closed at $65.91/bbl., but lost 2.5% on the week, its third straight weekly decline.

 What We’re Reading

Roadmap for Trade Resolution

Greece Emerges from Bailout

Volatility Catalyst Ahead

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 Week’s Economic Calendar

Monday, August 20: No Major Releases;

Tuesday, August 21: No Major Releases;

Wednesday, August 22: Existing Home Sales, FOMC Meeting Minutes;

Thursday, August 23: Jobless Claims, Markit Advance Manufacturing PMI, New Home Sales;

Friday, August 24: Durable & Factory Goods Orders.

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 Market Watch
Dow Jones1.41%1.00%3.87%3.84%18.03%
S&P 5000.66%1.36%5.28%7.92%19.59%
Russell 30000.59%1.44%5.17%8.18%20.23%
MSCI EAFE-1.10%-3.71%-5.40%-4.05%2.80%
MSCI Emerging Markets-3.69%-5.83%-9.52%-10.16%-1.56%
Barclays Agg Bond-0.02%0.50%1.90%-1.10%-0.78%
Barclays Municipal0.14%0.19%1.38%0.18%0.79%
Barclays US Corp High Yield0.02%0.30%1.71%1.56%3.51%
Bloomberg Commodity-1.01%-2.31%-7.25%-4.39%2.39%
S&P GSCI Crude Oil-2.78%-5.16%-8.89%7.93%38.07%
S&P GSCI Gold-2.85%-4.00%-8.57%-9.55%-8.38%
Source: Morningstar
Chart of the Week
Industrial Production Has Been Very Strong
View larger image »

The uptrend in industrial production growth continued in July. The industrial production index, which is a composite measuring the strength of manufacturing, mining, and utilities, increased by 4.2% year-over-year in July. This is a six-year high, and over the last 20 years, industrial production has been higher in only 12% of all months, placing July's figure in the 88th percentile. Industrial production has been very strong over the last year, but there is some concern over the sustainability of growth continuing at these elevated levels.

In July, manufacturing output growth slowed to 0.3% on a month-over-month (M/M) measurement and has been relatively weak over the last three months. Despite recent strength in the U.S. economy, manufacturing is now facing headwinds from higher tariffs and a strong U.S. dollar. Additionally, the mining component of industrial production contracted by 0.3% M/M in July, and further weakness may occur if the slide in energy prices continues. We do not anticipate a sharp decline in industrial production through the remainder of the year, but an eventual slowdown in the pace of growth appears likely.

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The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index, which was originally called the Lehman Aggregate Bond Index, is a broad based flagship benchmark that measures the investment grade, US dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market. The index includes Treasuries, government–related and corporate debt securities, MBS (agency fixed-rate and hybrid ARM pass-throughs), ABS and CMBS (agency and non-agency) debt securities that are rated at least Baa3 by Moody’s and BBB- by S&P. Taxable municipals, including Build America bonds and a small amount of foreign bonds traded in U.S. markets are also included. Eligible bonds must have at least one year until final maturity, but in practice the index holdings has a fluctuating average life of around 8.25 years. This total return index, created in 1986 with history backfilled to January 1, 1976, is unhedged and rebalances monthly.

The Bloomberg Barclays US Corporate High Yield Index measures the USD-denominated, non-investment grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high yield if the middle rating of Moody's, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below, excluding emerging market debt. Payment-in-kind and bonds with predetermined step-up coupon provisions are also included. Eligible securities must have at least one year until final maturity, but in practice the index holdings has a fluctuating average life of around 6.3 years. This total return unhedged index was created in 1986, with history backfilled to July 1, 1983 and rebalances monthly.

The Bloomberg Barclays US Municipal Bond Index covers the USD-denominated long-term tax exempt bond market. The index has four main sectors: state and local general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, insured bonds, and pre-refunded bonds. Many of the subindicies of the Municipal Index have historical data to January 1980. In addition, several subindicies based on maturity and revenue source have been created, some with inception dates after January 1980, but no later than July 1, 1993. Eligible securities must be rated investment grade (Baa3/BBB- or higher) by Moody’s and S&P and have at least one year until final maturity, but in practice the index holdings has a fluctuating average life of around 12.8 years. This total return index is unhedged and rebalances monthly.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index is a broadly diversified index that measures 22 exchange-traded futures on physical commodities in five groups (energy, agriculture, industrial metals, precious metals, and livestock), which are weighted to account for economic significance and market liquidity. No single commodity can comprise less than 2% or more than 15% of the index; and no group can represent more than 33% of the index. However, between rebalancings, group weightings may fluctuate to levels outside the limits. The index rebalances annually, weighted 2/3 by trading volume and 1/3 by world production.

The CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX®) is a key measure of market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices. Introduced in 1993, the VIX Index has been considered by many to be the world's premier barometer of investor sentiment and market volatility.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.

The MSCI All-Country World Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed and emerging markets. The SMCI ACWI consists of 46 country indexes comprising 23 developed and 23 emerging market country indexes. The developed country indexes include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Uninted States. The emerging market country indexes included are: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Eygpt, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

The MSCI EAFE Index is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets (Europe, Australasia, Far East) excluding the U.S. and Canada. The Index is market-capitalization weighted.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is designed to measure equity market performance in global emerging markets. It is a float-adjusted market capitalization index.

The MSCI Europe Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure developed market equity performance in Europe.

The MSCI Pacific Index captures large and mid-cap representation across five Developed Markets (DM) countries in the Pacific region. With 470 constituents, the index covers approximately 85% of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in each country.

The NASDAQ Composite Index includes all domestic and international based common type stocks listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a broad based index.

The Russell 2000 Index measures the performance of the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity universe and is a subset of the Russell 3000 Index representing approximately 10% of the total market capitalization of that index. It includes approximately 2000 of the smallest securities based on a combination of their market cap and current index membership.

The Russell 3000 Index measures the performance of the largest 3,000 U.S. companies representing approximately 98% of the investable U.S. equity market.

The Russell Midcap Index measures the performance of the mid-cap segment of the U.S. equity universe and is a subset of the Russell 1000 Index. It includes approximately 800 of the smallest securities based on a combination of their market cap and current index membership. The Russell Midcap represents approximately 31% of the total market capitalization of the Russell 1000 companies.

The S&P 500 is an index of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry grouping (among other factors) designed to be a leading indicator of U.S. equities and is meant to reflect the risk/return characteristics of the large cap universe.

The S&P GSCI Crude Oil Indexis a sub-index of the S&P GSCI, provides investors with a reliable and publicly available benchmark for investment performance in the crude oil market.

The S&P GSCI Gold Index a sub-index of the S&P GSCI, provides investors with a reliable and publicly available benchmark tracking the COMEX gold futures market.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is a crude oil stream produced in Texas and southern Oklahoma which serves as a reference or "marker" for pricing a number of other crude streams. WTI is the underlying commodity of the New York Mercantile Exchange's oil futures contracts.

The U.S. Dollar Index is a weighted geometric mean that provides a value measure of the United States dollar relative to a basket of major foreign currencies. The index, often carrying a USDX or DXY moniker, started in March 1973, beginning with a value of the U.S. Dollar Index at 100.000. It has since reached a February 1985 high of 164.720, and has been as low as 70.698 in March 2008.

Jason Vitucci, CFP®, EA
Jason Vitucci, CFP®, EA
Vitucci Integrated Planning | Financial Advisor
2890 N. Main St., Suite 201
Walnut Creek, CA94597
(925) 370-3750 |

Jason Vitucci is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional offering securities through First Allied Securities, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC.  Advisory Services offered through First Allied Advisory Services, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser.  CA Insurance Lic.: 0F9894