Stocks Stage a Modest Retreat

Weekly Commentary — September 23rd, 2019

The Week on Wall Street

Investors reacted to two major news items last week, one far more of a surprise than the other. The Federal Reserve did indeed make a rate cut, matching Wall Street expectations. Drone strikes on two of the world’s largest oil fields brought a shock to the global oil market.  

At Friday’s closing bell, stocks wound up with weekly losses after news broke that Chinese trade officials were heading home from the U.S. sooner than planned. The S&P 500 retreated 0.51% week-over-week; the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.05%, and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.72%. In developed foreign markets, shares tracked by the MSCI EAFE index fell 0.31%.[1],[2],[3]

Another Quarter-Point Cut

Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee voted 7-3 to lower the benchmark interest rate by another 0.25%, to a range of 1.75% to 2.00%.

While traders looked for signs of future guidance on monetary policy, little emerged from the latest Fed policy statement and Fed chair Jerome Powell’s subsequent press conference. The updated dot-plot forecast showed that seven Fed officials anticipated at least one more cut before 2020, while ten did not.[4]

Oil Prices Jump

As last week began, crude oil futures spiked in response to an attack that interrupted roughly 5% of the world’s oil production. The value of West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, spiked 14.7% in a day, starting at $58.05 and reaching $62.90 by Monday’s close.

This was oil’s biggest one-day leap since September 2008. Prices came down from there: Friday, WTI crude settled at $58.48.[5],[6]

Final Thought

So, what day last week saw the biggest loss or gain for stocks? Not Monday, when the market absorbed news of the Saudi oil field strike. Not Wednesday, when the Fed rate cut occurred. Instead, it was Friday, when the S&P 500 lost only 0.49%. It just goes to show that stocks may ride through seemingly market-moving events with little daily change.[7]

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: The Conference Board’s September Consumer Confidence Survey.

Wednesday: August new home sales data from the Census Bureau.

Thursday: The federal government’s third estimate of second-quarter economic growth.

Friday: August personal spending numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and September’s final University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, measuring consumer confidence levels.

Source: Econoday, September 20, 2019

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Tuesday: AutoZone (AZO), Cintas (CTAS), Nike (NKE)

Thursday: Accenture (ACN), Carnival (CCL), Micron Technology (MU)

Source: Zacks, September 20, 2019

 

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

– William Cullen Bryant

 

Military Members and Their Families Can Receive Free Tax Advice 

The IRS started the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to provide free tax advice, preparation, return filing help, and other assistance to military members and their families. This also includes specific tax advice for military members, such as combat zone tax benefits, special extensions, and other special rules. The VITA has convenient locations on and off base and even has offices overseas.

These offerings are just one way the IRS is striving to make tax information available to all. They also offer other free assistance programs to taxpayers who qualify, including the elderly, through their Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program.

If you or someone you know wants to take advantage of this service, find the location closest to you with the IRS’s location search tool. Simply enter your zip code and how far you want to travel.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov[8]

  

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If you have any questions or would like to learn more about developing strategies to pursue a prosperous and safe future, contact me today at Derek.Merkler@Parsonex.com! You can also visit my website to learn about how I help our service members and veterans plan for and achieve financial independence.

My blog discusses a myriad of financial topics and challenges, book reviews, and commentary on current events in the financial world to benefit our military and veteran community.  I attempt to be as thorough as possible when examining each subject but can never account for every possible scenario.  Please remember to consult with your advisers for advice on your particular situation.  Thank you for reading!

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[1]https://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-skids-to-friday-lows-amid-reports-that-chinas-delegation-has-canceled-a-tariff-related-visit-2019-09-20

[2]https://www.wsj.com/market-data

[3]https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices

[4]https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed/fed-cuts-rates-on-7-3-vote-gives-mixed-signals-on-next-move-idUSKBN1W32H7

[5]https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-oils-10-surge-after-saudi-attack-puts-it-on-track-for-the-biggest-daily-gain-in-312-years-2019-09-15

[6]https://money.cnn.com/data/commodities/index.html

[7]https://money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/

[8]https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/free-tax-help-available-for-the-military

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