Financial and Economic Brief - June 27, 2017

by © Liberty Publishing, Inc.

Fed Policy to Tighten?

The indication of improving private creditworthiness, with the narrowing of credit spreads, along with record stock prices and falling bond yields, “could” inspire the Fed to continue tightening U.S. economic policy, according to Fed of New York president and CEO William Dudley. He noted in prepared remarks, “Monetary policymakers need to take the evolution of financial conditions into consideration. …When financial conditions ease, as has been the case recently, this can provide additional impetus for the decision to continue to remove monetary policy accommodation.”
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U.S. Stocks and Oil Stalling

U.S. stocks trimmed gains on Monday, as technology stocks and oil prices “stalled.” Investors are awaiting a fall in stock prices due to inflated inventories across the globe and a swell in short sale contracts. Furthermore, oil prices continue near seven-month lows because of the rise in U.S. oil supply. The fall in oil prices has provoked concerns about low inflation, which remains below the Fed’s 2% target. The Fed raised rates this month for the second time in 2017 and is expected to raise it again. Investors, concerned about “stretched valuations”, adjusted their focus to defensive sectors.
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China Opening to More Foreign Investors

U.S. investors will soon have access to the MSCI, a leading global index provider, which includes 222 Chinese stocks (A shares) in its emerging-markets stock index. This is essentially a new way for investors to “gain exposure” to a limited number of Chinese stocks. This will be possible this time next year through mutual funds that are run by managers or index funds and ETFs that track the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. However, China is still far from being a free, open stock market. Currently, U.S. investor exposure to Chinese stocks are through companies that trade on Hong Kong and U.S. stock exchanges.
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News

Financial and Economic Brief - July 18, 2017

• NY Manufacturing Slows - Manufacturing in New York State grew in July but at a much slower pace than June and remains at a “mostly healthy level”.

• This Week’s Financial News - This week is an “unusually” light week of economic news but does include the kickoff of the second-quarter earnings season.

• Wall Street Opens Flat - Today U.S. stocks opened flat and held steady at record levels. Analysts estimate Q2 earnings for the S&P 500 companies rose 8.1% from Q2 2016.

Financial and Economic Brief - July 11, 2017

• Job Market Better Than Expected - The U.S. job market created 222,000 new positions in June which was higher than expected and the unemployment rate held at 4.4%.

• More Sears and Kmart Closings - On Friday Sears Holdings announced that it will close eight Sears department stores and 35 Kmart locations, adding to the list of 236 stores Sears has closed in 2017

• Steel Demand Forecast Rises - European steel association, Eurofer, raised its 2017 EU steel demand forecast but said a U.S. plan to levy steel tariffs on national security grounds could be terrible for global trade flows.

Financial and Economic Brief - July 4, 2017

• Consumer Sentiment Falls in June - U.S. consumer sentiment fell to 95.1 in June hitting a seven-month low and falling 2.1% from May, according to a new survey.

• Risk of Default? - According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) if lawmakers don't raise or suspend the country's debt ceiling, the Treasury might run short on money.

• Q1 Economic Growth "Upgraded" - The Commerce Department reported last week that the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.4% in Q1 2017, beating the estimate of 1.2%, reflecting the "new-found strength in consumer spending and exports."

Financial and Economic Brief - June 27, 2017

• Fed Policy to Tighten? - The indication of improving private creditworthiness, with the narrowing of credit spreads, along with record stock prices and falling bond yields, “could” inspire the Fed to continue tightening U.S. economic policy.

• U.S. Stocks and Oil Stalling - U.S. stocks trimmed gains on Monday, as technology stocks and oil prices “stalled.”

• China Opening to More Foreign Investors - U.S. investors will soon have access to the MSCI, a leading global index provider, which includes 222 Chinese stocks (A shares) in its emerging-markets stock index.

Financial and Economic Brief - June 20, 2017

• Home Construction Slowing - According to the U.S. Commerce Department, housing starts fell 5.5% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units.

• Foreign Stock Funds on the Rise - The most popular category of foreign stock funds returned an average of 14.9% this year and funds that focus on stocks from China and other emerging markets have returned 18.1%.

• Oil Prices Steady, For Now - Oil prices have steadied, after rising production in the U.S., Libya and Nigeria over the past month, which has “taken the edge off” an OPEC-led initiative to cut production.

Financial and Economic Brief - June 13, 2017

• Wholesale Inventories Slip - According to the U.S. Commerce Department, wholesale inventories dropped 0.5% in April.

• Gymboree Files for Bankruptcy - Gymboree, a children's clothing retailer, announced it reached an agreement with lenders that will allow it to stay open as it begins a restructuring process.

• Tech Stocks Fall - Technology stocks fell across Europe and Asia, and were set to fall again on Wall Street after the worst day for Apple (AAPL.O) shares in over a year.