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 24, 2021
The major US stock indices were positive for the week with the S&P 500 up 0.52%, the Russell 2000 rising 0.51% and the NASDAQ edging up 0.03%. International stocks were down for the week on concerns surrounding the Chinese real estate market and the Evergrande Company in particular. The emerging markets index (MSCI EM) declined 1.01% while international developed markets (MSCI EAFE) were down 0.26%. Value stocks outperformed growth stocks. Energy and financials were the best performing sectors in the US while real estate and utilities were the poorest performers. (1)
The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at 0-0.25% at last week’s meeting. (2) The Fed updated members’ projections, penciling in three interest rate hikes in 2023 and three more in 2024, bringing the benchmark interest rate up to 1.80% by the end of the period. (3) The Fed also stated, “If progress [in economic growth] continues broadly as expected, the Committee judges that a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted”.2 Bond prices fell as yields rose across 2-year to 30-year maturities, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rising 10 basis points to 1.47%. (4)
Oil prices rose for the third straight week as inventories were reported at a 3-year low following Hurricane Ida’s hit to production in the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, sharply higher natural gas prices in Europe are likely to shift some demand to oil. West Texas crude oil finished the week at $73.98 per barrel, up 3.01%. (5)
Household net worth rose 4.3% in the second quarter versus the first quarter to $141.7 trillion. On a year-over-year basis, net worth was up nearly 20%. Household debt, meanwhile, increased by 7.9% to $17.3 trillion during the quarter. (6)
Existing-home sales dropped 2% in August from July, slightly ahead of the consensus estimate. On a year-over-year basis, home sales were down 1.5%. Inventory of unsold homes remains very low, now sat 2.6 months of the monthly sales pace. The median sales price of an existing home rose nearly 15% since last August to $356,700. (7)
Proprietary portfolio happenings:
Company News (8)
ConocoPhillips (COP), a G50, Core Select and Energy Sector holding, announced the acquisition of Permian Basin (Texas) production acreage and distribution assets from Shell Enterprises for $9.5 billion which is expected to be accretive in its first year. In addition, the board announced a dividend hike of 7%. Yield on the new rate is 2.83%. Shares rose 10.35% for the week. (9)
Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI), a G50 holding, announced quarterly sales and earnings that were well ahead of consensus estimates. Management also raised sales and earnings guidance for the coming year. The board authorized an additional $750 mil share repurchase plan. Shares rose 6.20% for the week. (10)
Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), a G50 and Core Select holding, announced an 8% dividend hike and the board also authorized an additional $5 billion in share repurchases (to nearly $6 billion). Yield on the new rate is 3.20%. Shares rose 2.50% for the week. (11)
Did You Know? A stream flows under the Empire State Building in New York City. One of Manhattan’s many original watercourses, the now-covered stream cuts through the southwest quadrant of the building and can be viewed in a basement that lies eight stories below ground level. On an 1874 Manhattan waterways map, the stream rose in what became Times Square and then ran out into the East River.
(4) US Treasury
(6) CNBC.com 9-23-21
(8) All weekly changes in company stock prices: Yahoo Finance