Markets, Economy

Weekly Kickstart (12/11/2017-12/15/2017)

12/11/17 8:00 AM

/iStock-637764102.jpgThe market melt-up continued last week, as the S&P 500 rose by 0.35 percent to 2,651.50. That was another new all-time closing high that left the benchmark index with an outstanding 18.43 percent year-to-date gain. Despite the strong returns seen in the market this year, many Americans might have missed out on the latest run-up in equities. For example, more than half (54 percent) of U.S. investors surveyed by Gallup this summer said that they expected the stock market would see a correction in the second half of 2017 that took back significant gains from earlier in the year.


Similarly, a more recent poll conducted by Hartford Funds found that nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Americans have been withdrawing cash from their investments to prepare for the next recession or market downturn. Although a big selloff in the remaining weeks of 2017 is still possible, the fact that most major equity indices have nearly doubled their YTD gains since this summer highlights just how difficult timing the market in the short-term can be. That is why retail investors with many years left before retirement should focus more on the long-term, something which is a lot easier to do when regularly consulting with a professional financial advisor. As always, we are here to help with any questions you may have.


To recap a few of the things we learned about the economy last week, the positives included that mortgage and refinance applications rose, small business borrowing activity increased, consumer credit growth firmed, initial jobless claims held near a multi-decade low, and nonfarm employment in America grew by more than expected. As for the negatives, the nation’s trade deficit widened, factory orders fell, services sector activity cooled, corporate layoff announcements jumped, small business job creation moderated, average hourly earnings grew by less than forecast, and consumer confidence softened. This week the pace of economic data remains elevated with several important reports on manufacturing, consumers, small business, employment, and inflation scheduled to be released, along with a potentially market-moving announcement on monetary policy by the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday.


**A more detailed snapshot of the U.S. economy can be found here.**

What To Watch:








Sources: Econoday, Hartford Funds, Gallup, FRBSL

Post author: Charles Couch