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Market Commentary: Concerns About New Covid Variant Pushed Markets Lower; Core Inflation Rose 0.4%

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Concerns About New Covid Variant Pushed Markets Lower; Core Inflation Rose 0.4%

Concerns about the Omicron variant raised the risk of additional lockdowns and contributed to a decline of more than 2% in the S&P 500 on the day after Thanksgiving. The COVID-19 variant, first detected in South Africa, triggered travel restrictions in the U.S. and Europe.

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Market Commentary: Retail Sales Rise as Supply Chain Issues Ease Ahead of Christmas Season

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Retail Sales Rise as Supply Chain Issues Ease Ahead of Christmas Season

U.S. retail sales surprised economists, rising 1.7% in October (Figure 1). Rising prices contributed 1% to the growth, and increased purchases generated the remaining 0.7%. Both the top-line and after-inflation rates were higher than pre-pandemic levels. Supply chain risks may have prompted consumers to kick off Christmas shopping early at internet retailers and stores selling electronics and appliances. Those two segments contributed to the strong results.

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Market Commentary: Inflation Surges in October, and a Record 3% of Workforce Voluntarily Quitting

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Inflation Surges in October, and a Record 3% of Workforce Voluntarily Quitting

An inflation surprise created a challenge for investors. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.9% last month. The monthly increase was the largest reached in 2021, and the yearly increase of 6.2% was the largest since 1990, when the Gulf War contributed to a surge in oil prices (Figure 1).

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Market Commentary: Strong Earnings and Employment Report Bring Good News for the U.S. Economy

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Strong Earnings and Employment Report Bring Good News for the U.S. Economy

After a couple weak monthly reports, U.S. employment roared back in October. The U.S. created 531,000 new jobs, beating expectations for 412,500. August and September were both revised higher by more than 100,000 jobs. Private payroll increased 604,000 while government payrolls shrank 73,000. Unemployment dipped from 4.8% to 4.6%.

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Market Commentary: Supply Issues and Delta Variant Slow Economic Growth to 2%

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Supply Issues and Delta Variant Slow Economic Growth to 2%

 U.S. GDP grew at an annualized pace of just 2% last quarter, a marked slowdown from last quarter’s 6.7% (Figure 1). Contracted auto production sliced around 2% off growth, and concerns over the Delta variant slowed demand and the return of workers to the labor force. Third quarter growth disappointed many. Final estimates were for 2.8%, and those had been much higher earlier in the quarter.

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Market Commentary: Amid Strong Start to Earnings Season, 30% of S&P 500 Will Report This Week

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Amid Strong Start to Earnings Season, 30% of S&P 500 Will Report This Week

Thirty percent of the S&P 500 will report third quarter earnings this week. Based on earnings already in and analyst expectations, earnings are expected to grow 32.7% compared to last year as corporations continue to bounce back from a COVID-led earnings decline.

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Market Commentary: 4.3 Million Quit Their Jobs in August; Rise in Retail Sales Beats Expectations

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: 4.3 Million Quit Their Jobs in August; Rise in Retail Sales Beats Expectations

Three economic data points released last week indicated the economy continues to rebound despite lingering challenges from the Delta variant. Job openings, which lag other measures by one month, fell to 10.4 million. Declines in demand for leisure and hospitality jobs pulled the openings back from July’s all-time high. Workers are showing increased confidence as a record 4 million people quit their jobs.

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Market Commentary: Unemployment Falls to 4.8%; U.S. Trade Deficit Hits Record

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Unemployment Falls to 4.8%; U.S. Trade Deficit Hits Record

For the second consecutive month, the U.S. job market created far fewer jobs than expected. September’s report showed only 194,000 jobs were created, missing expectations by nearly 300,000. A deeper look at the data shows the report wasn’t as bad as indicated by the overall number.

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Market Commentary: Equity Markets Have Worst Month of Year; Virus Variants, China Among Key Risks

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Equity Markets Have Worst Month of Year; Virus Variants, China Among Key Risks

Equity markets struggled in September as interest rates, inflation concerns, and developments in China all weighed on stock market averages. The S&P 500 surrendered 4.7% as large-cap growth companies led the market lower. Large-cap growth has been the top performing style box since the beginning of the second quarter.

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Market Commentary: Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, Could Begin Tapering of Asset Purchases this Year

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged, Could Begin Tapering of Asset Purchases this Year

The Federal Reserve met last week, and Chair Jay Powell indicated tapering this year is more likely than not. The decision on when to reduce the central bank’s purchases of government-backed bonds will likely be affected by the employment report released a week from Friday. If labor market strength resumes, the Fed appears likely to roll back its support.

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