Author: Ryan Frydenlund

Ryan Frydenlund

June Market Commentary

US stocks’ recovery continued in June as optimism over business reopenings remained high and economic news topped expectations. US stocks posted their best quarterly performance since 1998 as all states opened up for business to some degree in June. For the quarter, the Fed’s moves and stimulus measures by the US government provided support for US stocks.  Economic news began to improve despite the US officially entering a recession beginning in February.  While new claims for unemployment insurance remain high, employers added 2.5 million jobs in May, the most on record, significantly better than the further job losses expected. The unemployment rate fell from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May.  US retail sales soared 17.7%, significantly outpacing expectations, and new homes sales jumped 21% in May.  Us manufacturing output continued to contract, but at a slower pace and purchasing manager surveys showed global business activity had slower declines in May suggesting the recent economic weakness could be bottoming out.

Foreign stocks were the top performing asset class in June and posted their best quarter in nearly 10 years driven by the loosening of lockdowns, improving economic numbers, and central bank support.  Providing a glimpse of the trough of economic performance brought on by the virus, the UK said April GDP was down 25% from a year earlier.  The European Central Bank (ECB) significantly increased its bond buying program to $1.52 trillion, moving it more in line with the Fed.  EU officials are still negotiating on a $2 trillion coronavirus response plan, but most European countries have fully reopened and have not seen a new surge in cases.  Oil continued to rebound, rising 10.6% over the month to finish at $39.27 a barrel driven by OPEC production cuts as well as reduced production in the US.  China continues to bounce back from Covid-19 with manufacturing activity and the service sector showing growth in May.  Emerging markets have outpaced developed markets for June, the second quarter, and the year to date.

Bonds rose in June as interest rates remained flat.  After the Fed’s June meeting they stated they planned to not raise interest rates through 2022 and they will continue their current pace of Treasury and mortgage backed security purchases.  The Fed also announced during the month they were expanding the municipalities allowed to borrow directly from the Fed’s lending program and it would expand its bond buying program to include debt from individual companies.  Since the virus began significantly impacting the US, the Fed has implemented nine different emergency lending programs to support the economy.  The 10-year Treasury yield was flat over the month ending at 0.66%, only down slightly from 0.70% where it started the second quarter.  However, it has declined significantly from 1.92% to start the year.  For the month and quarter, credit bonds were the top performers with longer term maturities outpacing short term maturities. Over the year to date, it was US government bonds leading the way with longer maturities outpacing.

Index Performance  June2QYTDTrl. 1 Yr.
US Stock (Russell 3000)2.29%22.03%-3.48%6.53%
Foreign Stock (FTSE AW ex US)4.48%16.56%-10.65%-3.99%
US Bond Mkt. (BarCap Int. Gov/Credit)0.62%2.81%5.28%7.12%
Municipal Bonds (BarCap 1-10yr Muni)0.39%2.68%2.06%3.65%
Cash (ICE ML 3Month T-Bill)0.01%0.02%0.60%1.63%

There is no guarantee that any investment strategy, including those described here, will be successful. Any investment or investment strategy can lose money. Past performance does not guarantee or predict future results. You should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Raffa Wealth Management, LLC. This information was gathered from reliable sources but we cannot guarantee accuracy. Indexes do not reflect the fees associated with actual investments and such fees would reduce the performance illustrated.  Source: Morningstar, Inc.

 

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through July 4th

Global stocks rose over the week on positive economic news and businesses reopening. The S&P 500 jumped 4.0% and the Dow surged 3.2% for the week.  Abroad, the FTSE All World Ex US climbed 2.6% for the week.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury eased to finish the week at 0.67% up slightly from 0.64% the previous week.

The unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% in June from 13.3% in May and the US economy added 4.8 million jobs in June as business re-openings led to a surge of rehiring, surpassing expectations.

US auto sales are projected to fall by about a third in the second quarter, though the decline wasn’t as bad as feared.

ISM’s June manufacturing survey rose into expansion territory, higher than estimates.  Similar improvement in manufacturing was found in many countries in Europe and Asia in June.

Minutes from the Fed’s June meeting showed it expected to keep interest rates near zero through at least 2022.

Fed chair Powell said in senate testimony that the economy has improved faster than expected, but significant risks remain.

Since the virus began significantly impacting the US the Fed has implemented nine different emergency lending programs to support the economy.

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through June 27th

Stocks fell over the week as new COVID-19 cases surged in the US driving investors’ concerns that the reopening of businesses across the US may be slowed.  The S&P 500 fell 2.9% and the Dow sank 3.3% for the week.  Abroad, the FTSE All World Ex US was down 1.1% for the week.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury eased to finish the week at 0.64% from 0.70% the previous week.

Survey data showed business activity declined at a more gradual rate around the globe suggesting the recent economic weakness could be bottoming out.

US jobless claims held steady with 1.5M new claims.

The Fed capped the amount of dividends banks can pay out and suspended their ability to buy back shares to ensure they had sufficient liquidity to meet potential losses arising from the coronavirus.

Consumer spending rose 8.2% in May, a record.

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through June 13th

Stocks pulled back on concerns about a resurgence in infections. The S&P 500 fell 4.7% and the Dow dropped 5.5% for the week.  Abroad, the FTSE All World Ex US declined 3.6% for the week.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury sank as investors moved back to safe haven investments.  It finished the week at 0.70% down from 0.90%, the previous week.

The organization responsible for dating recessions announced the US entered a recession in February ending the longest US expansion in modern history.

At the conclusion of the Fed’s June meeting they stated they planned to not raise interest rates through 2022 and to continue their current pace of Treasury and mortgage backed security purchases.  They are also looking at other ways to support the economy.

Approximately 1.5 million people filed initial jobless claims last week continuing a downward trend.  The total number of American getting unemployment benefits ticked down slightly to 20.9 million.

The UK said April GDP was down 25% from a year earlier.

OPEC agreed to extend current production cuts through July.