Market Thoughts July 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for June. It was a mixed month for the markets. In the U.S., the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were up, but the Dow ticked down. We saw the same trend internationally, with developed markets falling even as emerging markets moved ahead. On the economic front, business confidence remains at or close to all-time highs. Still, the problems of success (labor shortages and supply chain issues) loom large. So, where do we go from here? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, June 11, 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. The medical news continues to get better. Case growth and deaths are at levels last seen in March 2020, and positive tests are at the lowest level of the pandemic and holding. Plus, with more than 40 percent of people in the U.S. fully vaccinated, herd immunity remains a real possibility. The economic news also keeps improving. Job growth was the biggest concern, but it showed a convincing rebound in the most recent report. Other labor market data was also positive, with layoffs continuing to decline, wage growth up, and confidence high. With the medical risks subsiding and the country reopening, the economy should continue to accelerate. And that’s certainly what the markets are expecting. Despite some turbulence last month around inflation concerns, the Dow and the S&P 500 have moved back close to all-time highs. Earnings season is now complete, and for the third quarter in a row, companies made much more money than expected. So, can we ride these positive trends all the way back to normal? Watch his latest video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Market Thoughts June 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for May. It was a mixed bag for the markets, with the Dow up more than 2 percent, the S&P 500 up slightly, and the Nasdaq down. On the medical front, case growth and death rates declined, and more than 4 of 10 people are now fully vaccinated. With fading medical risks, the economy continued to improve. Layoffs are trending down, and consumer confidence remains close to pre-pandemic levels. So, could we be back to normal by the summer? Stay tuned to find out.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, May 14, 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. The news continues to get better on the medical front, with case growth and hospitalizations now at the lowest level since last fall, before the third wave. Further, more than one-third of people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, and almost half have had at least one shot. Still, overall vaccination rates have slowed recently, and an emerging concern is whether we’ll get to herd immunity. That risk will be something to watch in the weeks ahead. Turning to the economy, the news keeps getting better. Confidence and spending are on the rise, layoffs continue to decline, and wage growth is up. One big negative surprise, however, was the sharp drop in job growth. While this is something to keep an eye on, the shortfall looks likely to be a statistical quirk. As for the markets, despite some recent turbulence on a higher-than-expected inflation report, the Dow and the S&P 500 remain close to their highs. Earnings season is underway, and companies continue to make much more money than expected. So, will things keep getting better from here? Watch his latest video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Market Thoughts May 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for April. It was a good month for the markets. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained more than 5 percent, while the Dow was up almost 3 percent. These returns were driven, in part, by the medical news, with new case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths all down. While the medical risks declined, reopening accelerated. Job growth rose, and weekly layoffs dropped. Consumer confidence and spending also improved. Will these positive trends persist? Stay tuned for more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, April 30, 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. We’ve had good news on the medical front, as the fourth wave of the virus doesn’t seem to be gaining traction. Case counts and positive test rates are back to the lows we saw as the third wave subsided, and hospitalizations and death rates have improved. One potential problem is that vaccination rates have slowed, which we will need to keep an eye on. Turning to the economy, we had more positive news. March job gains were excellent, up significantly for the third month in a row, and layoffs have been down substantially in recent weeks. Plus, consumer confidence is now back to pre-pandemic levels. Between more workers and more confidence, we saw very strong economic growth in the first quarter. As for the markets, both the Dow and the S&P 500 have continued to hit new highs. Earnings season is underway, and for the third quarter in a row, companies are making much more money than expected. Will these positive trends continue on the road back to normal? Watch his latest video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, April 16, 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, we’ve seen modest deterioration over the past two weeks. Case counts and positive test rates have risen steadily, while hospitalizations and death rates have stabilized or increased by less than case growth. But with vaccinations continuing at an accelerating pace—the trend is now at more than 3.3 million per day—the race between vaccinations and the virus continues. Turning to the economy, state reopenings have helped the job market and spending. March job gains were excellent, and layoffs continue to decline. Quits, which are a good indicator of worker confidence, are back to pre-pandemic levels, and consumer confidence saw a strong bounce. Given all this positive news, the economy continues to heal and looks likely to stay on course until vaccinations bring the virus under control. Indeed, this is exactly what the markets are expecting, with both the Dow and the S&P 500 hitting new highs. So, could a return to normal be in sight? Watch his latest video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Market Thoughts April 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for March. We saw a strong end to a healthy first quarter for stock markets. Both the Dow and S&P 500 here in the U.S. showed gains, while developed markets abroad showed lower but still positive returns. We also had good news on the economic front. Hiring rebounded, layoffs dropped, and consumer confidence rose to post-pandemic highs. But with more work to do to contain the medical risks, when will the economy return to full health? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, April 1, 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. After several weeks of improvement on the medical front, we’re starting to see modest deterioration as the country reopens. Case counts and positive test rates are back to early March levels, while hospitalizations and death rates have stabilized. While the short-term risks are real, we do have a better outlook for the next two to three months. At that point, between vaccinations and existing exposure, we should be at or close to herd immunity. Turning to the economy, we’ve had some good news. Businesses are hiring again, and the jobs data looks much more positive as we move into the spring, with strong gains expected for March. Quit rates, an excellent indicator of worker confidence, are back to pre-pandemic levels, and consumer confidence saw a strong bounce. So, while the medical risks are still very real, the economy continues to get better. What does this all mean for the markets as we look ahead? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, March 19, 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. The medical situation continues to improve, as the vaccination campaign moves forward. Still, case growth remains above the levels seen between the second and third waves, and positive rates have not improved in weeks. We still have a very real pandemic on our hands. Turning to the economy, state reopenings have helped the job market and spending. Businesses are hiring again, and we saw a strong jobs report for February. The federal stimulus payments are now hitting bank accounts, and all of these positives should keep the economy going—and even accelerate it. As for the markets, this economic improvement is largely what they have been expecting, but now they’re dealing with the problems of success. The prospect of inflation and higher interest rates have rattled markets over the past couple of weeks. Even as the fundamentals of demand and earnings improve, that improvement is calling current valuations into question. So, while the overall trend remains positive, will we see more volatility ahead? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

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