The third quarter of 2020 got off to a roaring start with the bulls retaining dominance in the market. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq tallied multiple record highs while posting the best August return since 1986. There are a number of possible explanations for the early quarter euphoria:
With mortgage rates at historical lows, one of the questions that we face from homebuyers and those looking to refinance is which is better: a 15 or 30 year mortgage? The answer to this question is - it actually depends on the person and their life goals. The following comparison will give you quick reference points on which one is best for you.
15 Year Mortgage Pros:
15 Year Mortgage Cons:
30 Year Mortgage Pros:
30 Year Mortgage Cons:
Market participants looked past all of the economic damage wrought by the Covid-19 shutdowns as well as looming earnings weakness to fuel a historic run in equities in the second quarter. Hope of a vaccine, Fed intervention, and unprecedented market speculation fueled the rally from the March low. As Exhibit 1 depicts, the tech-heavy Nasdaq soared to a 36.66% return and reached new highs while the Dow 30 and S&P 500 posted strong gains but remained in negative territory for the year.
We all have stories when we are women business owners. When I passed the Series 7 licensing exam for the securities industry, the old tradition was to celebrate by going to a gentlemen's club. My colleagues did not know what to do with me then and some of them still don’t.
When I started Darden Wealth Group, it was built upon the idea of providing the best solution possible to our clients. Too much of the competition is interested in being an asset gatherer and the actual service provided is just “better than the average investor can do for themselves”, or so they assume. Oprah Winfrey once said, “Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism&
On February 19th, 2020 the S&P 500 was making another all-time intraday high hitting 3,393.52. Fundamentals remained strong as we set up for another good quarter in the markets. This was to be followed by the fastest bear market in history. A bear market is typically defined as a fall of 20% from a previous high mark. The current bear market reached 20% in only 21 trading days. The second fastest was in 1929 and took 36 sessions.
Exhibit 1: Index Decline From Peak
In the face of several potential market landmines, the S&P 500 surged for a 9.88% return in the final three months and rounded out the best year since 2013.
Exhibit 1. Fourth Quarter Performance
As we digest our Thanksgiving dinner and move into December, the issue of trade is still the top headline moving markets. In spite of the mixed messages on a pending trade deal with China, stock markets continue to eke out new highs with the S&P 500 climbing 3.4% for the month. We feel stocks can continue to slowly move higher so long as the news on trade remains positive. Given the magnitude and importance of China/US trade, we believe the Phase One deal is imminent but may not be finalized prior to the additional tariffs being implemented on December 15th. A collective sigh of relief will be heard across the investing world once a signing date is announced.
December also has us looking at economic data for signs of continued consumer strength a
As we wrap up the third quarter, many domestic and global issues remain at the forefront of the market landscape. Domestically we face Presidential impeachment proceedings, a slowing economy, and Fed interest rate decisions. On the global front, the US-China trade dispute, slowing China growth, Brexit, USMCA trade deal, and Iranian tensions are impacting commodity, equity, and fixed income investments. With this as the economic backdrop, many investors are concerned a recession is on the horizon for the United States.
As mentioned in our last blog post, for the first time in over ten years, the federal reserve reduced the benchmark lending rate (also known as the fed funds rate), by 0.25%. Interest rates in the US and around the world remain at historic low levels. Two key reasons are driving the low-interest-rate regime:
Earlier this week the Federal Reserve announced its first interest rate cut in more than ten years. After raising interest rates (fed funds rate) from 0.25% to 2.5% during the course of the last 3.5 years, the federal reserve lowered the benchmark lending rate by 0.25%. The fed funds rate now stands at 2.25%.
While the overall US economic backdrop remains decent, the weaker cross-currents in the global economy led the Fed to announce this preemptive interest rate cut. Uncertainty related to US-China trade war and a below-target inflation reading in the US (below their 2% target) also contributed to this decision to cut rates.
With the federal reserve and other central ba
Tariff Overhang - June 2019
The old Wall Street adage, sell-in-May-and-go-away has lived up to its name this year. After a strong start to the year, most major stock indices were down 6 to 8% for the month of May. The good news is, despite this sharp sell-off in May, most major equity indices are still positive for the year, up +5% to 10% (as of May-end). Looking back a bit further in the rear view, the equity market is at the same level it was last spring (as shown in the chart above, for the S&P 500 Index). This is chart shows a stock market that is a bit tired on the upside and is waiting for a better fundamental backdrop to move higher.
The catalyst for this sell-off last month? Escalating trade war with China, restricting US market (supplier and e
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