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The S&P 500 Index (SPY) continued its negative run for a second consecutive month in March, as trade war fears and geopolitical tensions made investors risk-averse. The S&P 500 Index declined ~3.9% in February and ~2.7% in March, with these declines primarily being driven by increased trade tensions rather than any change in the underlying fundamentals. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (or LEI) uses the performance of the S&P 500 Index (VOO) as one the constituents of the LEI.
Many risks that pushed stock market volatility higher in the last few weeks have started to retreat, which helped equity market indexes last week. President Trump paused further sanctions on Russia, and Trump’s planned meeting with Kim Jong Un after the latter said North Korea would end nuclear tests pushed a major geopolitical risk off the table for now. The risk of a flattening yield curve has also reversed as the US ten-year yield breached the February high on the back of renewed inflation expectations.
The primary reason cited by the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) for holding off on interest rate hikes since 2016 was lagging inflation growth. Whenever the Fed signaled rate hikes, the yield curve flattened since investors were not convinced that inflation (TIP) growth would pick up the pace, which would limit the Fed’s ability to raise rates. The Fed has set a target of 2% inflation (VTIP) growth, at which point the economy is expected to be running at a normal pace.
There are some reports that the US could press for more sanctions on Russia this week, which could increase the volatility in global indexes. Apart from geopolitical issues, President Trump’s legal issues and China’s trade issues could also keep investors away from the markets. Markets are hoping for a solid earnings season, which kicked off last week.
The FOMC staff review indicated that US financial markets have been turbulent since the last meeting, which resulted in increased equity market volatility (VXX) and lower equity (VOO) asset prices. The reason cited for the increased equity market volatility was the surprising uptick in average hourly earnings in the January employment report, which made investors concerned about higher inflation and the interest rate increase. ...
Did China Pacify Trade War Anxiety? The index was primarily impacted by the increasing worry about the trade war between the United States and China. Then on Thursday, the US administration suggested an additional $100 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports into the US, taking the total tariffs to $150 billion.
The trade war turmoil that rocked markets last week seemed to retreat on Tuesday after President Xi Jinping made a market-calming speech. In response, White House adviser Peter Navarro said that the doors were open for trade talks.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (or BEA), which is a part of the US Department of Commerce, releases a monthly report on personal income, disposable personal income, and personal consumption expenditures of US consumers. As per the latest report from the BEA, personal income increased by 0.4% in February, which was the same level of wage growth in January.
What Do these 10 Economic Indicators Signal for the US Economy? The Conference Board uses the average weekly unemployment claims as a constituent of its Leading Economic Index (or LEI). The level of employment in the economy is one key macroeconomic factor that influences monetary policy actions. An optimal level of employment is desirable for continued growth in the economy.
Tech stocks (XLK) sell off for the second-straight day as Amazon (AMZN) and Tesla (TSLA) lead markets lower. We break down all the market action. And Walmart (WMT) is becoming more popular with Democratic shoppers according to a new poll. Find out if it’s about “everyday low prices” or something more. Plus, don’t chuck that junk mail. We’ll tell you which direct marketer is sending $100 checks to lucky “residents.” Catch The Final Round at 3:55 ET p.m. with Yahoo Finance’s Myles Udland and editor-in-chief Andy Serwer.
The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) raised interest rates by 25 basis points, which turned out to be a non-event. The proposal of $50.0 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports—and the potential for China’s $3.0 billion in retaliatory tariffs—pushed wary investors away from risk assets as they feared escalation into a trade war. Unlike economic events, these political events are difficult to predict and could go either way in terms of tangible impact on the economy. When adding the unpredictable nature of President Trump’s decisions to the mix, markets should be prepared for higher volatility in the week ahead.
As I indicated in the conclusion of last week’s note, equity markets were vulnerable to further weakness based primarily on February’s selloff and the technical setup provided in the previous week. Not only did we witness a sharp pullback on escalating volume on all major equity exchanges on the week, but also the S&P 500 (^GSPC, SPY) closed exactly 10% off its record high while simultaneously setting up investors for that retest of the February lows the we have been expecting. It was an eventful week both politically and economically.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data for January on March 16. According to the report, the total number of job openings on the last day of January was 6.3 million, an impressive increase from the 5.6 million job openings seen in December, and the highest reading since the beginning of the survey in 2000. JOLTS data is collected through a monthly survey of job openings, number of new employees hired, number of employees who have quit or have been asked to leave, and other job separations.
President Trump’s tariff talk provides market bears the confidence and conviction to push equity markets sharply lower. In the case of the S&P 500 (^GSPC, SPY), that support was found at its 200 day moving average.
The S&P 500 Index (SPY) has officially undergone a correction in February. Panic selling triggered by increasing bond yields led to a correction of more than 10% for the S&P 500 Index. This would represent the first negative monthly close for the S&P 500 Index in 12 months.
The Conference Board uses the average weekly unemployment claims as a key constituent of its LEI (Leading Economic Index). An optimal level of employment is one of the key ingredients for a healthy economy, and rising unemployment is a red flag for the economy and could eventually lead to a recession. The Conference Board thus uses weekly claims data (instead of monthly non-farm payrolls) because weekly claims, when adjusted for seasonality, can provide a more accurate account of the underlying economic conditions.
The FOMC January meeting minutes were the most awaited event of the week, and the market reaction to their release was more than dramatic. The initial reaction to the FOMC minutes was as though the FOMC members were not hawkish enough, and this led to a spike in equities and the US dollar (UUP). Rising interest rates make borrowing expensive for companies.
The last Federal Open Market Committee (or FOMC) meeting was on January 30 and January 31. At this meeting, the target range for the Federal Funds target rate was left unchanged at 1.3% to 1.5%. This decision by the members was made after assessing current economic conditions and the outlook for economic activity.
Stock markets around the world have rebounded from the panic selling that rocked markets between January 26 and February 9. A sudden spike in volatility (over a 100% increase in the S&P 500 VIX) could have forced risk managers to rebalance their portfolios, leading to the sharp sell-off. Equity markets in the US recorded the best weekly gains since 2013.