Weekly Market Commentary March 5, 2018

Share Post: facebook Created with Sketch. twitter Created with Sketch. linkedin Created with Sketch. mail Created with Sketch. print Created with Sketch.

After two positive weeks, stocks retreated on news the U.S. would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The S&P 500 shed 2.0%. The MSCI ACWI dropped 2.4%, and the Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index was unchanged.

Market Commentary

Markets reversed course last week as investors reacted negatively to comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and a Trump administration decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

The Trump administration’s decision on tariffs was the more interesting of the two. Investors became concerned the relatively free movement of goods and services between developed countries is at risk of reversing. The market reacted negatively, despite the narrow impact of the announcement, for a number of reasons.

  • Global companies are organized to take advantage of the relatively free flow of goods and services. The tariffs are a step away from current policy and place sales and production strategies at risk if trade policy continues to tighten.
  • Investors were anticipating key allies, including Canada, to be excluded from the tariffs. When they were not, it raised concerns that NAFTA and other trade deals, which impact a broad array of companies and industries, could be undermined.
  • The broader range of companies included in the tariffs also raised the risk of reprisals, which could escalate into a trade war, among industries central to U.S. exports.

In our quarterly market update, we cited protectionism as a risk to market returns this year. Future trade negotiations will involve a fair amount of public posturing as each side hopes to strike the best deal. While economic fundamentals remain strong, this rhetoric is one more reason to expect a bumpy 2018.


Market Perseverance

Successful investing in our politically polarized world requires investors to separate their policy views from their investment outlooks. An investor may passionately believe the U.S.’s basic industries are faced with unfair competition from overseas competitors. He or she may be right, but the market may still react poorly to tariffs or trade tightening.

Recent elections have reminded us of two important truths:

  • It is difficult to predict market reactions to political news.
  • Politics aren’t nearly as important as fundamentals in determining the long-term direction of the market.

Whether you hold strong views on the current tariff controversy, the recently passed tax law, or all things Trump, make sure your investment outlook isn’t being driven by something far more important to boosting media ratings than determining the long-term outlook for corporate profits.


 Key points for the week

  • Stocks dipped on concerns that U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel will undermine trade.
  • Global stocks are geared to relatively low trade barriers.
  • Successful investing requires separating policy views from investment outlooks.

Fun story of the week

Man riding horse on freeway arrested for DUI

One way to avoid getting a DUI after a night of drinking is simply not to drive. One resident in California took “driving” under the influence a little too literally and decided to “ride” under the influence instead. The man was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol as he was riding his horse along the freeway. While no animal or person was injured in the incident, police released a statement saying “they do not ‘horse’ around with DUI.”


 

 

 

Share:
facebook Created with Sketch. twitter Created with Sketch. linkedin Created with Sketch. mail Created with Sketch. print Created with Sketch.
Share Post: facebook Created with Sketch. twitter Created with Sketch. linkedin Created with Sketch. mail Created with Sketch. print Created with Sketch.

RECENT POSTS

Market Commentary: S&P 500 Rallies 6.5%, Lifting Market Above Bear Level

The S&P 500 spent only a short time below the 20%-decline threshold, before jumping back above it last week. U.S. large-cap stocks rallied 6.5% based on optimism that inflationary pressures are starting to respond to higher interest rates.

Market Commentary: Fed Raises Rates by 0.75%, Market Moves Into Bear Territory

The S&P 500 dropped 5.7% last week and is now 22.3% off its peak. This decline pushed the index of large-cap U.S. stocks into a bear market, which is defined as a 20% or greater drop from its peak. Volatility remained elevated, and the S&P 500 has now moved by 1% or more 60 times …

Special Market Commentary: S&P 500 Slips Into a Bear Market. Now What?

Fueled by inflation readings that have remained stubbornly elevated, the stock market, measured as the S&P 500 Index, entered bear market territory at market close on June 13, 2022.  A bear market represents a decline in equity values by more than 20%.

Market Commentary: Inflation Pressures Remain High, S&P Dips Again

The S&P 500 dropped 5.1% last week as investors digested new inflation data released on Friday. May’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report showed a reacceleration of inflation after a brief reprieve in April. Headline CPI increased 8.6%, which is the fastest pace since December 1981. The p …
1 2 3 67 68 69

Get in Touch

In just 15 minutes we can get to know your situation, then connect you with an advisor committed to helping you pursue true wealth.

Schedule a Consultation