Weekly Market Commentary

The Markets

Deal or no deal?

Last week opened with heightened trade tensions between the United States and its allies. It closed with the United States imposing new tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods. The Chinese declared it was the start of a trade war, reported Financial Times.

U.S. markets largely ignored the potential impact of trade wars on multiple fronts. Barron’s reported the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which includes companies that are vulnerable to tariffs, moved slightly lower. However, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index shrugged off the possibility of trade wars, and the NASDAQ Composite gained more than 1 percent.

While Barron’s has written the largest risk to the U.S. stock market is the possibility of global trade wars, it appears many investors believe tariffs are a negotiating tactic.

Weekly Market Commentary

The Markets

G whiz!

Never before could the Group of 7 (G7) Summit have been mistaken for reality TV.

The generally dignified annual meeting of leaders from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom (along with the heads of the European Commission and European Council) was a lot more contentious than usual, reported Reuters.

Disagreements about trade were the reason for heightened tensions among world leaders. At the end of May, the United States extended tariffs on aluminum and steel imports to U.S. allies. They had previously been exempted. These countries “account for nearly two-thirds of the [United States’] $3.9 trillion annual merchandise trade,” reported The Washington Post.

Retaliation to U.S. sanctions was fast and furious. Mexico implemented “…a 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork legs and shoulders, apples, and potatoes and 20 to 25 percent duties on types of cheeses and bourbon,” reported Reuters.

Weekly Market Commentary

The Markets

Splash!

How do employers lure staff in a tightening labor market? The curly tail grubs and spinnies of the business world are higher wages and better benefits. 

During the past decade, the employment picture in the United States has shifted dramatically. In mid-2009, 15.4 million unemployed Americans were chasing 2.2 million available jobs. At the end of 2017, just 6.6 million Americans were unemployed, and employers were casting eagerly to fill 6.6 million open jobs, reports Barron’s.

Bloomberg offered some colorful examples:

“Want ads for truck drivers to haul crude oil in Texas are touting salaries as high as $150,000 a year. Some nurses are getting $25,000 signing bonuses. The U.S. unemployment rate just fell to 3.9 percent, one tick away from its lowest since the 1960s. And, on May 8, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there are 6.5 million unfilled jobs in the United States, the most on record. Some employers say they’re feeling the squeeze.”

Weekly Market Commentary

The Markets

What in the world?

A lot happened last week. Some of the notable events included:

  • Trade talks between the United States and China. The talks were described as “frank, efficient, and constructive,” although significant issues have yet to be resolved.

  • A Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Federal Reserve indicated it expects to raise rates during 2018, but did not do so last week.

  • Low unemployment in the United States. U.S. unemployment fell to 3.9 percent, which is the lowest it has been since 2000. Typically, low employment is a sign of a strong economy.

  • Sky-high rates in Argentina. In an effort to shore up the nation’s currency, Argentina’s central bank “…hiked rates to 40 percent from 33.25 percent, a day after they were raised from 30.25 percent.

  • Katy Perry roasted Warren Buffett. Katy Perry revealed the ‘Left Shark’ – a backup dancer famous for being out of sync during Perry’s 2015 Super Bowl performance – was Warren Buffett.*

Money That Buys Good Health Is Never Ill Spent

Money That Buys Good Health Is Never Ill Spent

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average person covered by Medicare has out-of-pocket medical expenses in excess of $5,500 a year. Premium costs accounted for 28% of the total, while long-term facility costs, medical supplies, prescription drugs, and dental care claim the rest.¹

With healthcare expenses in the spotlight, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure our retirement strategy anticipates these costs.

But that’s not enough.

Remember, healthcare coverage (including Medicare) typically does not cover extended medical care. And it’s a prospect we shouldn’t overlook.

The Department of Health & Human Services estimates that about 70% of people will need extended care at some point in their lives.²