Prominent central bankers provided a slew of comments suggesting the cost of money is headed higher. The ECB’s Draghi, BoE’s Carney, BoC’s Poloz and BoJ’s Kuroda’s speeches at a central bank conference in Portugal last week carried a more hawkish tone than anticipated. It seems like a deliberate and coordinated communication that the rate environment is changing. Investors got the message as the speeches sparked a surge in yields and sharp swings in currencies.
For the week, the S&P 500 slid 0.6%, the MSCI All-Cap World Index dropped 0.4%, and the Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index sank 0.6%. First quarter U.S. GDP was revised to 1.4% vs 1.2% previously. However, the IMF lowered its forecast for U.S. GDP growth to 2.1% from 2.3% for 2017. 2018 growth is now estimated at 2.1% down from 2.5% previously as hopes for tax reform wane.
What are we reading?
Below are some areas of the market we paid particularly close attention to this week. For further information, we encourage our readers to follow the links:
Major central bankers are sending out signals that economies are on a better footing and that the era of extraordinarily easy monetary policy will eventually end. The coordinated message garnered extra attention, given that most of these policy makers have been dovish until last week.
The third estimate of first quarter GDP showed growth of 1.4%, revised up from the previous reading of a 1.2% expansion. Real consumer spending for the first three months of 2017 was also revised up more than estimated to 1.1%, from the prior reading of 0.6%. There is a wide divergence in expectations for growth in the April to June period, as the latest forecast from the New York Fed predicts a 1.9% expansion, while the Atlanta Fed projects growth of 2.9%.
India continues to push economic reforms with the goal of expanding the tax base. The GST (Goods and Services Tax) is viewed as an important step forward to improving efficiency and widening the number of businesses paying taxes. On July 1, a single indirect tax regime will kick into force in Asia’s third largest economy, dismantling inter-state barriers to trade in goods and services. While the benefits of the system is yet to be assessed, the move seems positive for the business economy at large.
Feel Good Story of the Week
Lowell Bailey was about ready to hang up his biathlon skis after nearly twenty years of training and competing. His success had been modest and he and his wife had already purchased 70 head of cattle as part of their next phase in life. Then he got an offer from a group developing a mountain sports center and they encouraged him to keep training part-time and then work full-time with them after the Olympics. His wife’s experience in land preservation and acquisition fit well with the opportunity. So Bailey stayed on the circuit and he and his wife toted their infant daughter from competition to competition. Then, at the world championships, an admittedly more relaxed Bailey skied well and shot perfectly. That combination allowed him to win the gold by a mere three seconds. Now he is looking forward to the winter Olympics with hopes of earning a medal in the only winter Olympic sport the U.S. has never won a medal.
This newsletter was written and produced by CWM, LLC. Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. The views stated in this letter are not necessarily the opinion of CWM, LLC and should not be construed directly or indirectly as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Due to volatility within the markets mentioned, opinions are subject to change without notice. Information is based on sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
S&P 500 INDEX
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.
MSCI ACWI INDEX
The MSCI ACWI captures large and mid-cap representation across 23 Developed Markets (DM) and 23 Emerging Markets (EM) countries*. With 2,480 constituents, the index covers approximately 85% of the global investable equity opportunity set.
Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index
The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is an index of the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, including both government and corporate bonds.