In this week’s recap: Wall Street grapples with coronavirus unknowns; new Federal Reserve meeting minutes appear; existing home sales retreat; the price of gold climbs.
Weekly Economic Update
February 24, 2020
THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Traders paid close attention to coronavirus developments and earnings last week, while wondering how the former might eventually impact the latter. Concern over updated infection numbers moderated risk appetite.
A pair of key stock benchmarks posted similar weekly losses. In New York, the S&P 500 declined 1.25%; the MSCI EAFE index (of developed stock markets away from North America) lost 1.24%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 1.38% for the four-day trading week; the Nasdaq Composite, 1.59%.1,2
Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January Meeting
Last month, members of the Federal Open Market Committee felt the near-term outlook for the economy had improved slightly since the last Fed meeting in December. The minutes did note that the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak “warranted close watching.”
Some analysts have wondered, if the coronavirus threat heightens, whether the Fed might cut short-term interest rates this year. The FOMC voted 11-0 in January to leave rates alone.3
Fewer Home Sales, But More Building Permits
Sales of existing homes weakened 1.3% in January, according to a new National Association of Realtors report. On the new home front, the Census Bureau said that the rate of permits for new residential construction neared a 13-year high last month.4,5
At Friday’s closing bell, gold was worth $1,646.60 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures traded at a seven-year peak on Friday morning.4
T I P O F T H E W E E K
Think about taking an inventory all of your assets this year. This can be useful not only for insurance purposes, but also for an estate strategy.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: The Conference Board’s monthly Consumer Confidence Index.
Wednesday: A January new home buying report from the Census Bureau.
Thursday: The second estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Friday: January consumer spending numbers from the Department of Commerce, and the final February Consumer Sentiment Index from the University of Michigan (an assessment of consumer confidence levels).
Source: MarketWatch, February 21, 2020
The MarketWatch economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Monday: HP (HPQ), Intuit (INTU), Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
Tuesday: Home Depot (HD), Public Storage (PSA), Salesforce (CRM)
Wednesday: Booking Holdings (BKNG), Lowe’s (LOW), TJX Companies (TJX)
Thursday: Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD), Baidu (BIDU), Best Buy (BBY), Dell Technologies (DELL)
Friday: Dollar Tree (DLTR)
Source: MarketWatch, Market Insider, February 21, 2020
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.
Q U O T E O F T H E W E E K
“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.”
- MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
T H E W E E K L Y R I D D L E
Touching me is inevitable. I can send chills down spines. Even so, you may welcome me. What am I?
LAST WEEK’S RIDDLE: Four women sit down to play, playing after the end of the day, playing for cash, not for fun, a separate score for everyone. Not one lost, and all gained. Now that you’ve heard this, can you explain… what they did, and why it happened this way?
ANSWER: The four women were professional musicians, who were paid to perform.
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The MSCI EAFE Index is a stock market index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets outside of the U.S. and Canada. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world's largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.
1 - wsj.com/market-data [2/21/20]
2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/MSCI%20GLOBAL/990300/historical-prices [2/21/20]
3 - reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-minutes/fed-policymakers-cautiously-optimistic-on-u-s-economy-despite-new-risks-minutes-show-idUSKBN20D2K3 [2/19/20]
4 - tinyurl.com/w6an89m [2/21/20]
5 - marketwatch.com/story/housing-starts-dip-36-in-january-but-permits-hit-13-year-high-2020-02-19 [2/19/20]