February BEGINS WITH SOME EXCELLENT ECONOMIC DATA
Payrolls swelled with 304,000 net new jobs last month, according to the Department of Labor’s February employment report. (A Bloomberg survey of economists had projected a gain of 165,000.) The number of Americans temporarily laid off or working part time for economic reasons increased greatly in January as a consequence of the partial federal government shutdown; that left the unemployment rate (4.0%) and underemployment rate (8.1%) higher. Average hourly wages were up 3.2% year-over-year. Additionally, the factory sector expanded at a faster pace last month: the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing manager index improved 2.5 points to a mark of 56.6. 1,2
FED HINTS AT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAUSING RATE HIKES
The Federal Reserve made no interest rate move last week, but at its January 30 press conference, Fed chairman Jerome Powell had an interesting comment for the media: “We believe we can best support the economy by being patient before making any future adjustment to policy.” To investors large and small, that remark sounded like a declaration that the central bank was ready to exercise extra caution in considering future rate increases. Powell noted the recent emergence of “some crosscurrents and conflicting signals about the [economic] outlook” as a factor. 3
HOW ARE CONSUMERS FEELING?
The latest readings on the country’s two most-watched consumer confidence indices look good, but one just took a major fall. The Conference Board’s monthly index went from a December mark of 126.6 to 120.2 in January. In its final January edition, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment gauge displayed a 91.2 reading, up 0.5 points from its preliminary version. 2
MAJOR INDICES MAKE ANOTHER WEEKLY ADVANCE
Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all gained more than 1.3%, thanks in part to some of the developments mentioned above. The S&P rose 7.87% during January. Oil ended the week at $55.31 on the NYMEX; gold, at $1,322.60 on the COMEX. 4,5
T I P O F T H E W E E K
Does your employer offer long-term disability coverage in its benefits package? Do you know how much income that coverage would pay out if you become disabled? Check to see if the income would be adequate; if it appears inadequate, consider arranging supplemental coverage.
Alphabet, Beazer Homes, Clorox, Gilead Sciences, Panasonic, Seagate Technology, Sysco, and The Hartford release earnings news Monday. | On Tuesday, ISM’s January non-manufacturing PMI complements earnings from Allstate, AmeriGas, Anadarko Petroleum, Archer Daniels Midland, BP, Chubb, Electronic Arts, Estee Lauder, Genworth Financial, Mitsubishi, Pitney Bowes, Ralph Lauren, Snap, Viacom, Voya Financial, and Walt Disney Co. | Wednesday, earnings arrive from Chipotle, Cummins, Eli Lilly, General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Humana, MetLife, Prudential Financial, Spotify, Take-Two Interactive, and Valvoline; in the evening, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell takes questions at a Washington, D.C. town hall meeting. | On Thursday, the earnings roll call includes news from ArcelorMittal, Dunkin’ Brands, Fiat Chrysler, Kellogg, L’Oréal, Marathon Petroleum, Mattel, Motorola Solutions, News Corp., Philip Morris, Twitter, Tyson Foods, and Yum! Brands. | Friday, Exelon, Hasbro, and Phillips 66 present Q4 results.
Q U O T E O F T H E W E E K
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.”
St. Francis de Sales
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This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.
1 - fortune.com/2019/02/01/jobs-numbers-january/ [2/1/19]
2 - marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic [2/1/19]
3 - washingtonpost.com/business/2019/01/30/federal-reserve-says-it-will-be-patient-rate-hikes-change-likely-please-trump/ [1/30/19]
4 - markets.wsj.com [2/1/19]
5 - us.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500 [1/31/19]
6 - treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield [2/1/19]
7 - treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [2/1/19]