MARKET UPDATE

May 12, 2017

Equity Overview – Domestic Equity Markets

 

Major stock market indices ended the first quarter of 2015 rather flat, with the S&P 500 up 0.44%, the Dow Jones Average down 0.26%, and the technology heavy Nasdaq up 3.48%. The Nasdaq reached 5000 for the first time since March 2000, outperforming its larger cap counterparts for the first quarter.

 

The Fed may have indirectly helped mitigate a market decline in stocks and bond prices when it suggested that it might wait longer before raising rates. A slowly improving labor market and a minimal inflation rate has prompted the Fed to consider a longer stance on low rates.

 

Investors continued to grapple with a strong dollar, which hinders corporate earnings for U.S. companies. With U.S. companies generating over 50% of their revenues from overseas, a strong dollar is starting to weigh on earnings. As the dollar has risen, U.S. products have become more expensive and less competitive internationally, shifting some customers to buying foreign products.

 

It is highly anticipated by equity analysts that earnings forecasts will be downgraded across all sectors of the equity markets, possibly producing additional volatility in stocks. Historically, though, swings in stock prices due to a stronger dollar have usually been short lived.

 

In 2014 there were over $500 billion in stock buybacks for companies within the S&P 500. Thus far this year, the pace of buybacks has dramatically decelerated as companies are starting to find better uses for idle capital. Some analysts view this as an optimistic signal for continued capital growth among companies.

 

Sources: S&P, Dow Jones, Reuters, Bloomberg, Federal Reserve

 

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This material represents an assessment of the market and economic environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance, or achievements may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions. It should also not be construed as advice meeting the particular investment needs of any investor. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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