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 17, 2021
Equities were down across most of the major indices for another week as the inflation report (see Economic Data below) suggested downward pressure on stock valuations, with the S&P 500 down 0.54%, the NASDAQ declining 0.46% and the Russell 2000 adding 0.45%. Overseas the international developed markets dropped (MSCI: EAFE) declined 1.38% while the emerging markets index (MSCI: EEM) dropped 2.19%. By size, US small caps outperformed mid- and large cap stocks. Energy was the best performing sector while materials and utilities were the poorest performing sectors. (1)
Interest rates rose while bond values declined following the inflation report (see Economic Data below) which suggested that the Federal Reserve will announce tapering plans at its November meeting. The benchmark 10-year treasury rate rose 2 basis points to close the week at 1.37%. (2)
Gold (GLDM), a Precious Metals and Endowment Series holding, declined 2.17% last week as the US dollar strengthened. (3,4) The price of gold is likely to be volatile in the run-up to next week’s Federal Reserve meeting, dependent on the change in the US dollar and any indications of the Fed’s plan to taper its bond purchases.
Inflation rose 0.3% in August on a month over month basis, a notch below the consensus expectations for 0.4%. The rate of inflation on a year over year basis was 5.3%. Airline fares, the primary driver of lower than anticipated inflation, dropped 9.1% month over month. Meanwhile, core inflation—excluding volatile food and energy – rose just 0.1% last month and is up 4.0% year-over-year. (5)
Retail sales increased 0.7% in August vs. consensus estimates for a 0.7% drop. Sales growth was led by online retailers. Strength was even better when excluding sales of vehicle which were still in short supply due to a semi-conductor shortage. Ex-vehicles, retail sales rose 1.8%. Also, the decline in sales for July was revised down 0.7%. (6)
Initial jobless claims for unemployment rose by 20,000 for the week ended September 11, higher than estimated, as new claims rose sharply in Louisiana reflecting heavy damage from Hurricane Ida. Continuing claims, however, fell to 2.67 million for the week ended September 4, the lowest level since mid-March of last year. (7)
Proprietary portfolio happenings:
Company News (8)
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), a Core Select and G33 holding, raised its dividend by 10%, consistent with the increases of the past five years. The board also approved a new share repurchase program authorizing up to $60 billion worth of shares. (9) Yield on the new rate is 0.82%.
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO), a Core Select holding, announced its financial guidance for 2022—ahead of consensus expectations – before its investor meeting. Back in July management also raised its 2021 guidance. (10) Shares rose 4.34% for the week.
Did You Know? Most coconuts for export are picked by trained monkeys. Most coconut oil and meat comes from Thailand where trained monkeys are used to climb trees and retrieve coconuts. Male monkeys on average can retrieve 1,600 coconuts a day whereas humans only get about 80.
(2) US Treasury
(8) All weekly changes in company stock prices: Yahoo Finance