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October 31, 2016 - Big Headlines Drive the Markets

| October 31, 2016
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At first glance, last week's headlines may lead you to think that the markets are fluctuating more than they actually are. Yes, Hillary Clinton's emails are in the news again (more on that below), but despite that surprise, the major indexes stuck to the same range-bound performance we've seen for the past three months. The S&P 500 ended down 0.69%, the NASDAQ was off 1.28%, and MSCI EAFE lost 0.44%. The Dow Jones Industrial Index eked out a 0.09% increase.[1]

Three Key Events Last Week

1. FBI Announces Renewed Look at Hillary Clinton's Emails

What happened?

On Friday, October 28, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress alerting them that the agency would be reviewing new Hillary Clinton emails discovered during their investigation of former Congressman Anthony Weiner.[2] When news of Comey's letter broke, the major indexes responded quickly-and negatively. For example, the Dow, which had been up 75 points, reacted with a nearly 150-point swing before closing about 10 points lower.[3]

What does this mean?

The announcement threw a wrench in an already contentious and exhausting presidential race. Recently, polls showed that Clinton held a solid lead over Trump, and the markets had priced in her win.[4] But Friday's news calls this assumption into question, creating greater uncertainty for the next two weeks.

If there's one thing the markets hate, it's uncertainty. And while big headlines rarely affect long-term performance, the markets may react to them in the short run. We expect this story to stay in the news through Election Day-a day we're pretty sure every American is ready to move past.

2. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Has Biggest Gain in Two Years

What happened?

On Friday, the government announced that GDP - essentially, the economy's scorecard-had 2.9% growth, beating the expectations of 2.5%. Not only is this rate the best we've seen in two years, but it also shows far faster economic expansion than the first two quarters of 2016, when U.S. growth averaged just over 1%.[5]

What does this mean?

The economy is growing faster than experts thought, which makes a December interest-rate increase more likely. On Friday, traders showed an 83% likelihood that the Federal Reserve would raise rates at their last meeting of the year.[6]

Keep in mind that if the Fed raises rates, they wouldn't be doing so to temper the economy's growth. Instead, they would be using this positive GDP report as further evidence that the economy is strong enough to handle a move toward more normal interest rates.

3. Durable Goods Orders Decline

What happened?

After gaining 0.3% in August and 3.6% in July, durable goods orders dipped 0.1% in September.[7] Broadly, durable goods are items that last for more than three years-from a toaster to a tractor-and orders for them help us measure business investment. September orders lowered in a number of categories, including an 8.6% drop in orders for computers.[8]

What does this mean?

The drop in durable goods orders is less concerning than it may seem on first glance. Between a strong dollar making U.S. exports more expensive and low oil prices leading energy companies to cut spending, large manufacturing companies have often had to cut their budgets.[9] However, many economists believe these factors should be lessening, which can allow durable goods spending to rebound.[10]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Personal Income and Outlays
Tuesday: Motor Vehicles Sales, FOMC Meeting Begins, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg Index, Construction Index
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Productivity and Costs, Factory Orders, PMI Services Index, ISM Non-Mfg Index
Friday: Employment Situation, International Trade

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, S&P Dow Jones Indices, and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the SPUSCIG. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P US Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index contains US- and foreign issued investment grade corporate bonds denominated in US dollars. The SPUSCIG launched on April 9, 2013. All information for an index prior to its launch date is back teased, based on the methodology that was in effect on the launch date. Back-tested performance, which is hypothetical and not actual performance, is subject to inherent limitations because it reflects application of an Index methodology and selection of index constituents in hindsight. No theoretical approach can take into account all of the factors in the markets in general and the impact of decisions that might have been made during the actual operation of an index. Actual returns may differ from, and be lower than, back tested returns.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

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  1. http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
    https://www.msci.com
  2. http://www.cnbc.com
  3. http://www.cnbc.com
  4. http://www.cnbc.com
  5. http://www.marketwatch.com
  6. http://www.reuters.com
  7. http://www.nytimes.com
  8. http://www.nytimes.com
  9. http://www.cnbc.com
  10. http://www.nytimes.com
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