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Stocks End the Week Lower

The Weekly Update

Week of January 27th, 2020
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

The Week on Wall Street
Stock prices fell last week as investors considered the potential health and economic risks of the flu-like coronavirus.

Foreign stock markets, as tracked by the broad MSCI EAFE index, fell 1.03% for the week. Coincidentally, the S&P 500 lost exactly that much across a 4-day Wall Street trading week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.22%, the Nasdaq Composite 0.79%.

Futures Markets Eye Coronavirus Outbreak
By Friday’s closing bell, two cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in the U.S. by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sixty-three other potential cases were being monitored. Twenty-six people had died from the virus in China, where more than 30 million people faced travel restrictions.

This news exerted a drag on stocks in multiple industries. Oil prices also slipped: West Texas Intermediate crude lost 7.4% for the week to settle at $54.19 Friday. Stock and commodity traders wondered if the virus would mimic the SARS scare of 2002-03, which kept Chinese workers and shoppers at home and hurt corporate earnings worldwide.

Fewest Homes for Sale in 20 Years
Existing home sales improved 3.6% in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. This happened even as the number of listed properties hit a 20-year low. The NAR says that the rate of total U.S. home sales (existing and new) increased 10.8% in 2019.

What’s Ahead
Traders will watch not only earnings and economic indicators this week, but also the Federal Reserve, which meets Tuesday and Wednesday. Will the central bank’s latest monetary policy statement reveal any subtle change of outlook?

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Monday: The Census Bureau’s report on December new home sales.
Tuesday: The latest consumer confidence index from the Conference Board.
Wednesday: A monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve, followed by a press conference with Fed chair Jerome Powell.
Thursday: The first estimate of fourth-quarter gross domestic product from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Friday: December consumer spending figures from the Department of Commerce, plus the final January University of Michigan consumer sentiment index (a gauge of consumer confidence levels).

Source: MarketWatch, January 24, 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: D.R. Horton (DHI), Sprint (S)
Tuesday: Apple (AAPL), Pfizer (PFE), SAP (SAP), United Technologies (UTX)
Wednesday: AT&T (T), Facebook (FB), Mastercard (MA), Microsoft (MSFT)
Thursday: Amazon (AMZN), Coca-Cola (KO), Verizon (VZ), Visa (V)
Friday: Chevron (CVX), ExxonMobil (XOM), Honeywell International (HON)

Source: Zacks, January 24, 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.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://www.wsj.com/market-data
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/MSCI%20GLOBAL/990300/historical-prices
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/24/cdc-confirms-second-us-case-of-coronavirus-chicago-resident-diagnosed.html
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/24/coronavirus-fear-hits-oil-prices-drop-most-since-may.html
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/existing-home-sales-rebounded-in-december-but-extraordinarily-lean-inventories-are-a-growing-concern-2020-01-22
Stocks End the Week Lower2020-01-27T13:55:20-05:00

Fresh Record Highs

The Weekly Update

Week of January 20th, 2020
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

The Week on Wall Street
Traders were in an upbeat mood last week, reacting to news out of Washington: the signing of the phase-one trade deal between the U.S. and China as well as the Senate passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In addition, a new earnings season started. Risk appetite grew and spurred all three of the major Wall Street averages to record settlements on Friday.

For the week, the Nasdaq Composite rose 2.29%; the S&P 500, 1.97%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1.82%. International stocks improved 0.40%, according to MSCI’s EAFE index.

Progress on the Trade Front
President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed off on a new, partial U.S.-China trade pact Wednesday. In this deal, China agrees to buy at least $200 billion more of American products, crops, and energy futures over a 2-year period, and it must submit an “action plan” by mid-February, detailing how it will better protect American intellectual property and cut counterfeiting of American goods. The U.S. agrees to halve 15% tariffs on $120 billion of Chinese imports (other tariffs slated for last December were scrapped earlier as part of this agreement).

As for the USMCA, President Trump is expected to sign it into law this week. It was passed 89-10 in the Senate on Thursday and by a wide margin in the House of Representatives in December. Mexico’s government has also approved the USMCA; Canada’s government has yet to do so.

Homebuilding Picks Up
The Census Bureau reported a 16.9% surge in housing starts in December. This surpassed expectations; housing market analysts, surveyed by Refinitiv, had expected no increase.

What’s Ahead
U.S. stock markets are closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Post offices and Social Security offices will also be closed Monday, as well as most banks.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Wednesday: December existing home sales figures from the National Association of Realtors.

Source: MarketWatch, January 17, 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
Tuesday: Capital One (COF), Netflix (NLFX), TD Ameritrade (AMTD), United Airlines (UAL)
Wednesday: Abbott Labs (ABT), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Texas Instruments (TXN)
Thursday: Comcast (CMCSA), Intel (INTC), Procter & Gamble (PG), Union Pacific (UNP)
Friday: American Express (AXP), Nextera Energy (NEE)

Source: Zacks, January 17, 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.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/us-stocks-jan-17-2020
https://www.wsj.com/market-data
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/MSCI%20GLOBAL/990300/historical-prices
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/15/trump-and-china-sign-phase-one-trade-agreement.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/01/16/senate-approves-new-usmca-trade-deal-with-canada-mexico/
https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/us-stocks-jan-17-2020
Fresh Record Highs2020-01-21T13:04:43-05:00

Insurance: Just Starting Out

Insurance: Just Starting Out

The transition to adulthood is an exciting time that marks true independence. With this new freedom comes some real responsibility, including the need for protection against the financial risks that life can present. Consider the following guidance as you determine your insurance strategy and decide how to protect your financial future http://bit.ly/2TeIeMP.

Insurance: Just Starting Out2020-01-17T09:27:36-05:00

Further Gains for Stocks

The Weekly Update

Week of January 13th, 2020
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

The Week on Wall Street
The market had a choppy five days, with traders reacting to geopolitical developments and weaker-than-expected jobs data. Even so, the three major U.S. equity indices posted weekly gains and continued their strong start to the new year. During Friday’s trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 29,000 for the first time.

Rising 1.75% for the week, the Nasdaq Composite outgained both the Dow (up 0.66%) and the S&P 500 (up 0.94%). The story for foreign stocks was different: the MSCI EAFE index declined 0.30%.

Holiday Hiring Numbers
Wall Street was unimpressed by the latest jobs report from the Department of Labor. Employers added 145,000 net new workers in December; economists surveyed by Dow Jones had forecast a gain of 160,000. Wages grew less than 3% year-over-year for the first time in 17 months.

Unemployment remained at a 50-year low of 3.5%, however. The broader U-6 jobless rate, which also includes the underemployed, declined to 6.7%, the lowest in 26 years of recordkeeping.

Oil Prices Decline
The rally in crude oil spurred by strained U.S.-Iran relations ebbed this past week. At Friday’s closing bell, WTI crude was worth $59.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 6.36% for the week and 3.31% year-to-date.

What’s Ahead
A new earnings season starts Tuesday, with big banks leading off and reporting fourth-quarter results. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will be in Washington, D.C., through Wednesday, and during his visit, he and President Trump are expected to sign the phase-one trade deal between the U.S. and China.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: The December Consumer Price Index, providing a look at inflation last month and for all of 2019.
Thursday: December retail sales figures from the Department of Commerce.
Friday: The University of Michigan’s preliminary January Consumer Sentiment Index, assessing consumer confidence levels from multiple angles.

Source: MarketWatch, January 10, 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
Tuesday: Citigroup (C), Delta Air Lines (DAL), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC)
Wednesday: Bank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs (GS), United Health (UNH), US Bancorp (USB)
Thursday: Morgan Stanley (MS)
Friday: Schlumberger (SLB)

Source: Zacks, January 10, 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.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://www.wsj.com/market-data
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/MSCI%20GLOBAL/990300/historical-prices
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/10/us-nonfarm-payrolls-december-2019.html
https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/future/crude%20oil%20-%20electronic
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/09/chinas-vice-premier-liu-to-sign-us-trade-deal-in-washington-next-week.html
Further Gains for Stocks2020-01-13T12:25:45-05:00

Concerns About Oil

The Weekly Update

Week of January 6th, 2020
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

The Week on Wall Street
Stocks descended from record highs Friday, as traders reacted to a U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top military officer. Oil prices rose more than 3% following the breaking news.

Wall Street benchmarks ended up having a sideways week, shortened by the New Year’s Day holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.04% across four trading sessions; the S&P 500, 0.16%. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.16%. The MSCI EAFE index, benchmarking developed overseas stock markets, added 0.30%.

Oil Takes Center Stage
WTI crude oil settled at $63.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday, down from an intraday peak of $64.09 (which was its highest price since April).

The commodity rallied Friday, as energy traders considered the possibility of supply disruptions in the Middle East in retaliation for last week’s U.S. air strike.

Manufacturing Activity Declines
At the start of each month, economists watch the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index for the factory sector, which is considered a key barometer of U.S. manufacturing health.

Last week, ISM announced a December reading of 47.2 for this index, the poorest in more than ten years. A reading below 50 indicates manufacturing activity is contracting rather than expanding.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: The Institute for Supply Management presents its December Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, gauging the pace of activity in the U.S. service sector.
Wednesday: Payroll processor ADP releases its December national private-sector employment report.
Friday: The December jobs report from the Department of Labor.

Source: MarketWatch, January 3, 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
Wednesday: Constellation Brands (STZ), Lennar (LEN), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)
Friday: Infosys (INFY)

Source: Zacks, January 3, 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.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://www.investors.com/market-trend/stock-market-today/dow-jones-dives-us-airstrike-gold-prices-oil-prices-jump-tesla-stock/
https://www.wsj.com/market-data
https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/index/XX/990300
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-markets/oil-safe-havens-surge-after-u-s-strikes-kill-iran-commander-idUSKBN1Z2042
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-manufacturing-slumps-worsens-in-december-as-ism-index-falls-to-10-year-low-2020-01-03
Concerns About Oil2020-01-06T12:29:58-05:00

The Year in Review

The Weekly Update

Week of December 20th, 2019
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

What Drove the Markets?
Four factors influenced investment performance in 2019: a shift in U.S. monetary policy, the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, earnings, and the economy.

Stocks reached record highs in 2019. The S&P 500 climbed above 3,000 for the first time. The benchmark ended Friday’s trading session up 29.25% for the year. At Friday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average showed a year-to-date advance of 22.95%, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 35.74% YTD. The MSCI EAFE index, representing foreign stocks, was up 18.10% YTD through December 27.

The Federal Reserve Eased
The central bank made three quarter-point cuts to the benchmark short-term interest rate in 2019. That was a change from 2018, when the Fed worked on normalizing monetary policy with interest rate increases, while thinning its large bond portfolio.

By and large, investors welcomed the policy shift. At the end of 2018, there were concerns that the Fed’s effort to tighten the money supply had backfired, with higher U.S. interest rates impeding both the domestic and global economy.

The U.S. and China Trade Quarrel Cooled Down Slightly
In December, representatives from both nations agreed on a “phase-one” trade deal after a year-and-a-half of imposing tariffs on each other’s products. This pact, which is expected to be signed in 2020, is characterized as an initial step toward a larger deal.

In May, the U.S. put 25% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports; a month later, China imposed a 25% import tax on $60 billion of U.S.-made goods reaching its shores. These tariffs may be reduced or removed as part of the phase-one deal. (Another $120 billion worth of Chinese goods are currently under a 7.5% tariff, reduced from 15% by the new agreement.)

Earnings Beat (Low) Expectations
Stock market analysts were pessimistic about corporate profits as the year began. With economies worldwide slowing down in 2018, year-over-year earnings growth for S&P 500 firms seemed poised to decelerate.

Deceleration was evident, but later in the year, many firms managed to exceed reduced estimates. According to stock market analytics firm FactSet, 75% of S&P 500 components beat earnings-per-share estimates in Q3, compared to a 5-year historical average of 72%.

The Economy Maintained Momentum
Gross domestic product came in at 3.1% in Q1, 2.0% in Q2, and 2.1% in Q3. Through November, nonfarm payrolls growth had averaged 180,000 per month during 2019. Manufacturing output varied, as CEOs were less certain about expansion and capital investments in the first half of the year; it declined in Q1 and Q2 before improving again in Q3.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index was at 125.5 in November, above its (revised) January mark of 121.7. Inflation stayed under 2% for most of the year before reaching a 12-month high of 2.1% in November.

What’s Ahead
Congress passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act before Christmas, and President Trump signed it into law last week. This new law alters a key rule pertaining to traditional retirement accounts. It raises the age for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from these accounts, from 70½ to 72. (If you are now 70½ or older, this change does not affect your scheduled RMDs. Only those who turn 70½ in 2020 or later are subject to the new rule.)

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: The Conference Board publishes its last monthly Consumer Confidence Index of 2019.
Friday: The Institute for Supply Management presents its December manufacturing index, a gauge of U.S. factory activity.

Source: Econoday, December 27, 2019
The Econoday 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.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://www.wsj.com/market-data
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/MSCI%20GLOBAL/990300/historical-prices
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/11/year-federal-reserve-admitted-it-was-wrong/
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45899310
https://insight.factset.com/earnings-insight-q319-by-the-numbers-infographic
https://www.marketwatch.com/tools/calendars/economic
https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag31-33.htmhttps://www.investing.com/economic-calendar/cb-consumer-confidence-48
https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/inflation-cpi
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/with-president-trumps-signature-the-secure-act-is-passed-here-are-the-most-important-things-to-know-2019-12-21
The Year in Review2019-12-30T12:15:35-05:00

Started in Chicago

Started in Chicago

Every year, Chicago further strengthens its position as a business and tech hub, serving as home base to many fantastic young companies and well-known, industry powerhouses. Watch our latest presentation that takes a look at some big Chicago companies that started small, and small companies ready to do big things, along with the ecosystem of launch pads that are empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs. http://bit.ly/36NtAiV

Started in Chicago2019-12-20T13:59:47-05:00

Phase-One Trade Deal Reached

The Weekly Update

Week of December 16th, 2019
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

The Week on Wall Street
The U.S. and China announced a limited trade agreement last week. That news lifted U.S. and foreign stocks, leading to weekly gains.

Advancing 0.91% on the week, the Nasdaq Composite outperformed the S&P 500 (up 0.73%) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (up 0.43%). The MSCI EAFE index, measuring the performance of developed markets overseas, improved 0.42%.

Phase-One Trade Deal Reached, December Tariffs Averted
Friday, White House and Chinese officials confirmed an agreement on what has been characterized as an initial step toward a larger trade pact. As a result of this phase-one deal, new U.S. tariffs (slated to go into effect on December 15) were canceled. The 15% tariffs (imposed on $110 billion of Chinese goods in September) now fall to 7.5%.

In return, China commits to buy greater quantities of American crops, factory goods, and energy products.

Fed Holds Steady on Short-Term Interest Rates
The last Federal Reserve meeting of the year brought no adjustment for the federal funds rate. The vote to leave short-term rates unchanged was unanimous.

After the meeting, Fed chair Jerome Powell told the media, “as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with [our] outlook, the current stance of monetary policy will likely remain appropriate.”

Retail Sales Disappoint
Economists, surveyed by Bloomberg, expected a retail sales gain of 0.5% for November, but according to the Department of Commerce, the advance was only 0.2%. In a bright spot for analysts who wanted to see a strong start to the holiday shopping season, sales at online retailers rose 0.8% last month.

Note: There will be no Weekly Market Update next week, but we will be back on December 30 with a special “Year-in-Review” edition of the WMU. Have a happy holiday season!

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: The Census Bureau offers a snapshot of November residential construction activity.
Thursday: A look at November existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors.
Friday: November personal spending data and the third estimate of third-quarter economic expansion from the federal government, plus the year’s final University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (which measures consumer confidence levels).

Source: Econoday, December 13, 2019
The Econoday 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
Tuesday: FedEx (FDX)
Wednesday: General Mills (GIS), Micron Technologies (MU), Paychex (PAYX)
Thursday: Accenture (ACN), Nike (NKE)
Friday: CarMax (KMX)

Source: Zacks, December 13, 2019
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.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://www.wsj.com/market-data
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/MSCI%20GLOBAL/990300/historical-prices
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-announces-phase-one-china-trade-deal-and-scraps-dec-15-tariffs-2019-12-13
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-11/fed-leaves-rates-unchanged-and-forecasts-show-no-change-in-2020
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-13/u-s-retail-sales-miss-forecasts-for-pickup-as-restaurants-drop
Phase-One Trade Deal Reached2019-12-16T13:31:24-05:00

Estate Strategies – Critical Elements of an Estate Plan

Estate Strategies – Critical Elements of an Estate Plan

Taking steps to help protect your estate is an important financial choice. With proper strategies, you may be able to maximize your opportunities and help manage stress and confusion for your loved ones. Take a look at some important details to address when creating your own estate plan in our new piece. http://bit.ly/354S5aW

Estate Strategies – Critical Elements of an Estate Plan2019-12-12T10:06:31-05:00
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