The Independent Market Observer

Catherine Crowe McMillan: A Life Well Lived

June 24, 2022

Today will not be the usual economic content, as I am out of the office for my mother’s memorial service. She passed away almost a month ago, suddenly from a stroke, after fighting Parkinson’s disease for several years. My dad and my family are doing well, all things considered, but today will be a hard one. 

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Politics and Investing

June 23, 2022

First, a confession. I handled a recent comment on the blog badly. A reader wrote in with a question that I read as a political diatribe, and I dismissed it without taking the question itself seriously. I realized that my response was wrong and have since apologized, publicly, in the comment section of that post. I owe my readers, if I can respond at all, a thoughtful engagement with their issue, and I failed that standard. I will try to do better going forward.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monday Update: Home Construction Slows and Fed Hikes Rates

June 21, 2022

There were several important economic data releases last week with a focus on housing and the results from the most recent Fed meeting. The reports showed that housing construction slowed in May, reflecting lower demand for housing due to rising prices and mortgage rates. This will be a relatively quiet week of updates, with only one major report scheduled for release.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Black Bear or Grizzly Bear?

June 17, 2022

As we discussed yesterday, the bear is here. We talked about how interest rates, especially the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, will be determinative as to how long and deep the downturn will be, but noted that there was really no telling. Today, I want to take a look back at history and see if there are any clues we can look at.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

The Bear Is Here

June 16, 2022

We hit a milestone just recently, although it’s certainly not one we wanted to hit. The S&P 500 stock index is now officially in a bear market, down more than 20 percent from its highs. The Nasdaq, of course, has been in a bear market for some time. It is down more than 20 percent, but that is primarily technology, which is notoriously volatile. The S&P 500, which includes the largest and best-known companies across all industries, is a better indicator of market stress overall. The fact that it has moved into the bear phase signifies significant market and economic stress.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monthly Market Risk Update: June 2022

June 15, 2022

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, fixed income on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Market Risk Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

Markets sold off in early and mid May due to concerns of slowing economic growth before a late-month rally brought them close to even. The month-end rally led to mixed results for the three major U.S. equity indices. The S&P 500 gained 0.18 percent while the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to notch a 0.33 percent return. The Nasdaq Composite was unable to rebound to positive territory by the end of the month, with the technology-heavy index down 1.93 percent in May. The market turbulence during the month was a reminder that risks remain for markets, and they should be closely monitored.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monday Update: Consumer Inflation Accelerates in May

June 13, 2022

There were several important economic data releases last week, with a focus on the May Consumer Price Index report. Consumer prices increased more than expected during the month, as inflation continues to affect all areas of the economy. This will be another busy week of updates, with reports scheduled on producer prices, retail sales, the Fed’s June meeting, and new home construction.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

What’s Fueling Sky-High Gas Prices?

June 10, 2022

As we embark on the summer driving season, the average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. has reached an all-time high, surpassing $4.50 per gallon. Strong demand, supply chain disruptions, and low inventories have been common inflationary pressures among consumer goods, including gasoline. But what specific market factors are fueling sky-high gas prices?

Continue reading → Leave a comment

How Bad Could a Bear Market Get?

June 9, 2022

After a brief recovery, it looks like the market decline may have resumed. Although we never quite got to the 20 percent bear market threshold for the S&P 500 in the previous decline, it now looks like we are headed down again, so we might well get there. Once we get to an official bear market, the question then becomes how much lower we might go. Indeed, those are the top questions I am getting right now: how bad can this get—and when will it be over?

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Economic Risk Factor Update: June 2022

June 8, 2022

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, fixed income on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Economic Risk Factor Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Subscribe via Email

Crash-Test Investing
New call-to-action

Hot Topics

New Call-to-action



see all



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.

Third-party links are provided to you as a courtesy. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided on these websites. Information on such sites, including third-party links contained within, should not be construed as an endorsement or adoption by Commonwealth of any kind. You should consult with a financial advisor regarding your specific situation.


Please review our Terms of Use

Commonwealth Financial Network®