Economic Market/Portfolio Happenings

Hello and welcome to this week’s Jones Financial Blog! Our goal at Jones & Associates is to help keep you up to date with interesting current economic/market happenings as well as some proprietary portfolio happenings. Knowledge is power and thought we would share some of ours with you. Enjoy!

All data is for the week ended September 11, 2020.

Economic/Market happenings:

Stocks

  • Equity markets were mostly lower last week led by declines in large cap growth stocks. The S&P 500 was down 2.49%, the Russell 2000 declined 2.45% while the NASDAQ dropped 4.06%. Overseas the international developed markets (MSCI EAFE) rose 1.45% as emerging markets (MSCI EM) lost 0.67%. In the U.S., energy and technology were the biggest decliners while the materials and industrials sectors were the top performers. (1)

Fixed Income

  • Interest rates declined and values rose as the yield curve steepened. The rate on 2-year treasuries eased 1 basis point, the rate on 10-year treasuries dropped 5 basis points and the yield on 30-year treasuries declined 4 basis points. The 10-year ended at 0.67%, virtually unchanged since quarter end and down 125 basis points since year end. (1)

Commodities

  • A 2 million barrel rise in U.S. crude oil inventories last week marked a change of direction following a six week string of declines. (2) Demand for oil continues to struggle with the impact of COVID-19, including many workers still operating from home. Oil prices slid on the report and ended the week down 9.8% to $37.33 per barrel. (3)

​Economic Data

  • Consumer prices for goods & services rose 0.4% last month, slightly ahead of expectations and on the back of 0.6% increases in each of the prior two months. One small component of the index – used car prices – accounted for about half the gain. When excluding volatile food and energy, the yearly increase in prices was 1.7%. (4)

  • Initial claims for unemployment benefits were unchanged from the previous week at 884,000, slightly higher than consensus expectations. The total number of people claiming benefits in state and federal programs for the week ending August 22 was 29.6 million. (5)

  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate hit another all-time low, averaging 2.86%, and falling 13 basis points from the week prior and 70 basis points from a year ago. The prior record low was set in early August at 2.88%. (6)

Proprietary portfolio happenings:

Company News

  • HealthEquity, Inc. (HQY), a G33 holding, reported revenues and earnings that were above expectations. However, management failed to lift their outlook for the next six months. Shares were down 11.8% for the week. (7)

  • Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO), a Core Select holding, signed a letter of intent to manufacture INOVIO Pharmaceutical’s (INO) COVID-19 vaccine as part of the latter’s plan to manufacture 100 million doses next year. Shares of TMO rose 5.2% for the week.8

  • Walmart Inc. (WMT), a Core Select and G50 holding, launched a pilot program to use drones for grocery and select health and wellness products deliveries to homes in North Carolina. (9)

Did You Know? The original recipe for margherita pizza was for a tri-color version of the Italian flag basil (green), mozzarella (white) and tomatoes (red).

Sources: (1) JP Morgan Weekly Market Recap 9-14-20, (2) US Energy Information Administration 9-9-20, (3) Oilprice.com, (4) US Bureau of Labor Statistics 9-11-20, (5) US Department of Labor 9-10-20, (6) Freddie Mac 9-10-20, (7) Health Equity press release 9-8-20, (8) INOVIO Pharmaceutical Inc. press release 9-8-20, (9) Walmart press release 9-14-20

Herstle Jones, LUTCF, CLTC President & Founder

With over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry,

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