Markets closed Friday with losses after a turbulent week as investors began to worry that strong labor market growth might signal rate hikes next quarter. For the week, the Dow fell 1.52%, the S&P 500 dropped 1.58%, and the NASDAQ lost 0.73%
The February jobs report showed that the economy is creating jobs hand over fist, gaining 295,000 new jobs last month. Unemployment fell to 5.5% and hourly wages also gained slightly. February is the twelfth month in a row that the economy has added more than 200,000 new jobs, which is a great sign for the labor market.
Perversely, markets responded to the news with a selloff because a strong February jobs report increases the likelihood that the Fed might begin raising rates soon. With concerns about interest rate hikes, we're back to the good-news-is-bad-news investor sentiment we saw in previous years during Fed tapering activities. Positive news for the economy makes investors nervous because of how the Fed will respond.
After more than five years of near-zero rates, investors are worried about what will happen to markets (and the economy) when easy money is harder to come by. Are investors right to worry about higher rates? Raising rates is like taking the training wheels off a bike; now that indicators show the economy is doing well, the Fed wants to get back to "normal" interest rate policies. However, changing policies creates uncertainty and investors fear rate hikes might trigger a slide in markets. Though markets tend to follow the economy over the long term, in the short-term, changes in the economic environment can cause markets to swing.
Though many analysts are speculating about a June rate increase, hikes are not certain. Fed chair Janet Yellen has repeatedly emphasized that Fed decisions are data-dependent, and she has a history of telegraphing Fed moves well in advance. Traders will be closely watching the mid-March Open Market Committee meeting and noting any changes of language that might signal an imminent interest rate increase.
Looking ahead, though the week is light on economic events, some important consumer data is due to be released. Analysts will focus on retail sales, consumer sentiment, and producer prices to gauge whether Americans are opening their wallets and supporting economic growth.
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, Treasury Budget
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices, Business Inventories
Friday: PPI-FD, Consumer Sentiment
Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
Chinese exports surge, beating expectations. Exports from Chinese producers soared in February, increasing 48.3% over the previous February. Though seasonal effects may be distorting the data, the increased demand bodes well for the world's second-largest economy.
Treasury Secretary warns about a new debt ceiling deadline. The U.S.' top finance official warned Congress that the government will hit its statutory debt limit on March 16, pushing the Treasury into "extraordinary measures" to finance spending. Unless Congress raises the limit, the Treasury will run out of cash in October or November.
U.S. oil rig count lowest since April 2011. Oil companies continue to trim operations in response to low oil prices. The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. continued to fall last week, reaching multi-year lows.
U.S. service sector activity ticks upward. A measure of growth in the services sector - which includes industries like financial services, retail, and food service - increased more than expected in February. Stronger growth could signal an increase in demand for services.
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
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 DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce 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.
Google 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.
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.
By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.