Market Thoughts for January 2022

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for December. The year closed on a strong note, with the Dow and S&P showing gains. The Nasdaq struggled a bit, but it ended the month in the green. On the medical front, the omicron variant drove COVID cases to new highs. Still, the economic data kept getting better. Consumer confidence numbers bounced back, and consumer spending kept growing. Further, business confidence and investment remain very high. But could there be risks ahead? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Market Thoughts for December 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for November. After a strong October, November saw generally weak performance in the markets. In the U.S., the Nasdaq showed a small gain, but the S&P and the Dow were down. These results were driven by the emergence of the Omicron variant and the Fed’s announcement that it would start to normalize monetary policy. Still, hiring for October was healthy, and layoffs dropped to pre-pandemic levels in November. So, where do we go from here? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Market Thoughts for November 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for October. The markets saw a bounce last month. The Nasdaq and the S&P gained over 7 percent, and the Dow was up almost 6 percent. These results were driven by the stabilization of key economic data. Job growth declined in September, but a higher October result is expected as labor demand remains strong. Plus, consumer confidence has stabilized. With improving medical data and economic risks trending down, are we almost out of the woods? Stay tuned for more.

Market Thoughts for October 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for September. It was a bad month for the markets. In the U.S., all three major indices were down. Developed markets dropped, and emerging markets did worst of all. These declines resulted from the weakening of the economic data, driven by the spread of the Delta wave of the virus. Job growth was down, layoffs trended up, and consumer confidence dropped. Does the economy have the momentum to keep going until the virus is under control? Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Market Thoughts for August 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for July. It was a generally good month for the markets, with all three major U.S. indices up by more than 1 percent. But emerging markets were hit hard and ended the month down significantly. On the economic front, the data remains positive, although business and consumer confidence declined. Further, medical risks are on the rise, with the Delta variant hitting the unvaccinated population. Will these risks slow down the recovery? Stay tuned to find out.

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.

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