Dashboard

October 2018 Economic Dashboard

After enjoying five consecutive months of gains, US stocks had a terrible month of October, dropping almost 8% from their highs reached early in the month. Third quarter GDP growth was a very strong 3.5%, buoyed by robust consumer spending.  Corporate earnings beat already-high expectations.  So why then did the market have a sudden change… Read More »

September 2018 Economic Dashboard

Wall Street loves an anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers failure was no exception.  We won’t go into the causes of the failure and subsequent Great Recession as they have been told and re-told many times.  One lesson of Lehman was that anything was possible in terms of financial calamity, so what… Read More »

August 2018 Economic Dashboard

Perhaps everyone can breathe a sigh of relief now. Almost seven months to the day, the S&P 500 finally hit a new all-time high on August 24th. After the index peaked on January 26th it quickly fell 10% and then muddled along for the next few months, but steady progress since April has finally resulted… Read More »

July 2018 Economic Dashboard

With the second half of the year officially underway the broad-based S&P 500 and much more concentrated Dow Jones Industrial indices are still chasing their all-time highs reached at the end of January (the technology-laden Nasdaq has already reached new highs). Following the November 2016 election the S&P 500 shot up 38% over the next… Read More »

June 2018 Economic Dashboard

After much optimism at the start of 2018 that the market would enjoy another strong year of gains (which in and of itself should be viewed as a contra-indicator of the eventual results), the markets have made little or no progress since January 1st. Historically, two major sources of market strength are increasing corporate profits… Read More »

May 2018 Economic Dashboard

Here in the Midwest it seems like Mother Nature forgot a season, sending summer in a few months early without warning. Perhaps it’s fitting given the temperature of the capital markets right now. Despite great news out of Corporate America (in part due to the tax cuts enacted last year), geopolitical tensions are heating up,… Read More »

April 2018 Economic Dashboard

Consumers have long been sensitive to changes in prices they pay for everyday goods and services. The double-digit inflation of the 1970s and early 1980s has long given way to the more predictable 2% annual gains we have experienced for the past 25 years. The severe recession that followed the Financial Crisis of 2008 actually… Read More »

March 2018 Economic Dashboard

The first quarter of 2018 started off with a bang as stock market indexes climbed over 6% by January 26, one of the better starts to a new year.  After a placid 2017, meaning little or no volatility, investors were spooked by the January labor report that suggested wage inflation was accelerating and the Federal… Read More »

February 2018 Economic Dashboard

So much for another quiet year. Throughout all of 2017 the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indices never declined more than 3% from their latest highs on their way to full-year total returns in excess of 20%. The momentum continued into January as it seemed like we were on our way to another great year…. Read More »

January 2018 Economic Dashboard

(click image to enlarge) As if last year’s stellar performance wasn’t enough, the momentum has continued right along into 2018. The S&P 500 returned 5.62% in January, the best start to a year in nearly three decades. Historically a strong start to the year bodes well for the rest of the year, but there are… Read More »