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October 1, 2018 - Special Update: Quarterly Report

| October 01, 2018
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Friday, September 28, was the last trading day in 2018's 3rd quarter, and the S&P 500 posted its strongest quarterly return in nearly 5 years.[1] The Dow also showed impressive returns by beating expectations for the quarter, while the NASDAQ notched record highs against 2017 numbers. For the quarter, the S&P jumped 7.2%, the Dow increased 9.3%, and the NASDAQ moved up 7.1%.[2]

Weekly numbers, however, revealed mixed performances: the S&P 500 slipped 0.54%, the Dow fell 1.07%, and the NASDAQ gained 0.74%.[3] Internationally, the MSCI EAFE dropped 1.07%.[4]

As we learn more about the 3rd­ quarter, some details from last week offer perspectives on where we stand today.

What We Learned About the 3rd Quarter Last Week

1. Consumer outlook suggests positive trends continue. A few early reports have given us a sense of positive trends in consumer activity during the 3rd quarter:

    • Consumer sentiment rose in September to finish at healthy levels that beat August's performance, marking the 3rd time the index has moved above 100.[5] With personal income optimism hitting a 14-year high, the positive trend suggests that nearly every population group now benefits from the 3rd quarter expansion.[6]
    • Consumer confidence neared its highest reading since 2000, beating analyst predictions and inching closer to the dotcom's record highs.[7] This rise came after a surge in August, prompting predictions that spending strength will carry us through 2018.[8] From sentiment boosts in the stock market to positive home-buying trends, consumers remain optimistic.[9]

These numbers suggest healthy consumer outlooks, positive economic attitudes, and possible trends in increased spending.[10]

2. Companies anticipate softer profits.
Although corporate earnings in the 1st and 2nd quarters rose roughly 25%, 3rd quarter corporate earnings may miss that mark. Of the 98 companies in the S&P 500 that have released earnings outlooks, 74 predicted that earnings will fall below expectations from Wall Street. This ratio is the worst since the earnings recession of 1st quarter 2016.[11] Even with the softer outlook, analysts still expect the S&P 500 to post numbers that indicate a growing economy.[12]

3. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth shows signs of slowing.
Core capital goods (not including aircrafts) dropped 0.5% in August after July's negative performance - as demand for computers, electronic products, and motor vehicles waned. The shift prompted some analysts to revise their 3rd­ quarter GDP predictions downward. Yet, with a bump in wholesale and retail inventories, overall 3rd quarter growth remains in positive territory.[13] The Atlanta Federal Reserve now predicts growth to be 3.8%, revised from an earlier prediction of 4.4%.[14]

4. Tariffs start to drag 3rd quarter growth estimates.
The early effects of tariffs seem to have surfaced, as exports are now trending negatively. On September 27, the International Trade in Goods report posted numbers that may predict slower 3rd quarter growth:

      • Exports dropped 1.6% in August, continuing July's downward trend.
      • Imports rose 0.7% yet have so far posted a trade negative for the quarter.
      • The trade deficit hit $75.8 billion, yet analysts believe this gap will narrow slightly once more 3rd quarter data emerges.[15]

If this trend involving exports and imports continues, the U.S. dollar may take a hit.[16] Meanwhile, on September 24, President Trump added tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China responded with its own tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. products. Though negotiations between the two countries have stalled, we will monitor the situation.[17]

What's Ahead

The Federal Reserve remained optimistic last week about the economy, raising the interest rate from 2% to 2.25%. The 3rd increase this year is no surprise but does suggest confidence in a growing economy and low unemployment numbers, and that a 4th quarter hike is highly probable.[18]

With new data coming in, we'll deepen our understanding of the economy's performance in the 3rd quarter. If you have questions about how this may affect you or your financial life, contact us today; we're ready and happy to help.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR
Monday: PMI Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending
Wednesday: PMI Services Index
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Factory Orders
Friday: Employment Situation, International Trade

Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. 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.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

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.

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