September Market Commentary

The summer saw the economy slow a bit, inflation remain stagnant, wages advanced only slightly, tensions between North Korea and the United States escalate, and hurricanes blast the southern states and Puerto Rico. Through it all, the stock market continued to enjoy monthly gains, with several of the benchmark indexes reaching all-time highs.

International markets led the way again in September while a 60% global stock 40% US aggregate bond portfolio is up 8.1% year to date through September.

Key Monthly Economic News 

  • Employment: August saw 156,000 new jobs added -- a little below the monthly average of 176,000 per month for 2017. Over the 12 months ended in August, average hourly earnings have risen 2.5%.
  • Interest rates: The Federal Open Market Committee met in September and left the target federal funds rate range at 1.00%-1.25%. The Committee again indicated that it will remain on schedule to raise interest rates at least once more this year.
  • GDP:  The gross domestic product expanded over the second quarter at an annual rate of 3.1%. The first-quarter GDP grew at an annualized rate of 1.2%.
  • Inflation: Inflation continues to be weak. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index (a measure of what consumers pay for goods and services) ticked up only 0.2% in August following a 0.1% bump in July. 
  • Consumer sentiment: The Consumer Confidence Index® for September declined to 119.8 from July's revised 120.4. Not surprisingly, consumer confidence in the economy decreased considerably in Texas and Florida following the devastation caused by hurricanes.

As always: stay disciplined and focus on those things you can control. (Hint: it's not the stock market.)

To Your Prosperity, 

Kevin Kroskey, CFP®, MBA

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/ Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The 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 NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. The U.S. Dollar Index is a geometrically weighted index of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to six foreign currencies. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

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