The Independent Market Observer

Economic Release Snapshot: Durable Goods Orders Improve in April

May 28, 2024

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead.

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Headlines, Sentiment, or Data: How to Gauge a Country’s Health

May 23, 2024

With nearly half the world’s population set to face national elections this year, including here in the U.S., it’s a time of questioning for many. People want to know who their next leader will be, how changing policies may affect them, what the economic implications will be, and what place their country or region will have in the world.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: May 2024 [SlideShare]

May 22, 2024

Markets pulled back in April, as all three major U.S. indices were down for the month. The S&P 500 declined 4.08 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 4.92 percent. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.38 percent during the month. The sell-off followed a strong first quarter for stocks and was largely due to rising interest rates in April. 

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Economic Release Snapshot: Consumer Inflation Slows in April

May 20, 2024

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead.

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The Shifting Sands of the Market: A Challenge for Asset Allocators

May 16, 2024

In our team meetings, we often discuss the shifting sands of the market. Not only is it an interesting topic, but it poses a challenge for asset allocators. We are in the midst of a multi-year outperformance cycle for large-cap growth. The companies that have driven this outperformance have all become household names: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Netflix, Nvidia, and Tesla. The top 10 names in the S&P 500 account for roughly 32 percent of the index compared to the average since 1990 of 20 percent. During the dot-com boom, the top 10 weightings peaked at 25 percent.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: May 2024 [SlideShare]

May 15, 2024

April’s reports showed signs of continued slowing economic growth. Hiring slowed during the month, with 175,000 jobs added. Service sector and consumer confidence both fell in April, while the yield curve inversion narrowed.

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Economic Release Snapshot: Consumer Sentiment Slides in May

May 13, 2024

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead.

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Looking Back at the Markets in April and Ahead to May 2024

May 7, 2024

Markets pulled back in April, as high inflation and rising interest rates led to mid-single-digit declines for stocks during the month.

This result marked the first monthly decline for U.S. equities this year following a strong first quarter. International markets came in mixed, as developed markets were down in April while emerging markets saw a modest gain. Fixed income was also down for the month.

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Economic Release Snapshot: Hiring Slows in April

May 6, 2024

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead.

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Digesting the Fed: Higher for Longer and Longer

May 2, 2024

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met this week and voted unanimously to hold rates steady for the sixth consecutive meeting, leaving its policy range at 5.25 percent to 5.5 percent. Futures markets had this expectation confidently priced in since mid-February, so the official decision comes as no surprise. This view is in stark contrast to market expectations at the start of 2024, when a second rate cut was fully priced in for this point in time. Yet even the first rate cut still eludes us.

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Market Thoughts for May 2024 [Video]

May 2, 2024

Rising interest rates pressured stock and bond prices in April. U.S. markets were down in the low-single digits, marking the first monthly decline for U.S. stocks this year. The combination of faster hiring and still-hot inflation complicated the Fed’s efforts to cut interest rates.

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The information on this website is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Please contact your financial professional for more information specific to your situation.

Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in an index.

The MSCI EAFE (Europe, Australia, Far East) Index is a free float‐adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI EAFE Index consists of 21 developed market country indices.

One basis point (bp) is equal to 1/100th of 1 percent, or 0.01 percent.

The VIX (CBOE Volatility Index) measures the market’s expectation of 30-day volatility across a wide range of S&P 500 options.

The forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio divides the current share price of the index by its estimated future earnings.

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