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 March 25, 2022.
Stocks were broadly higher across the major indices, with the S&P 500 up 1.81%, the Russell 2000 down 0.38% and the NASDAQ up 1.99%. Overseas, the developed markets (MSCI EAFE) edged up 0.20% while the emerging markets (MSCI EEM) edged up 0.23%. In the US energy and materials were the best performing sectors while health care and real estate were the laggards. Large caps outperformed smaller caps. (1)
Interest rates rose and bond values fell across the board, with the aggregate bond index (AGG) down 1.82%. Year to date it has declined 6.89%. The rate on 10-year treasuries rose 34 basis points last week to 2.48%; this compares to 1.52% at the start of the year or nearly a full percentage point. (1)
The price of oil rose 10.5% to $113.90 per barrel for West Texas crude. Prices were driven by fears of a pipeline disruption in Kazakhstan and the possible imposition of an oil embargo on Russia. (2)
New home sales in February dropped 2% from the prior month to an annual rate of 772,000 – disappointing versus the consensus expectation of 810,000. It also represents a 6.2% decline on a year-over-year basis. The average sales price of new houses was $511,000. There is now a six-month supply of new homes available for sale which is considered balanced. (3)
The sales of existing homes slide 4.1% in February from the prior month, according to pending sales data, to the lowest level in nearly two years. (4) On a year over year basis, sales were down 5.4%. Higher mortgage rates and sustained price appreciation has led to a year-over-year increase of 28% in mortgage payments. (5)
Initial jobless claims in the third week of March fell to 187,000 – their lowest since 1969— and below the consensus estimate by 26,000. This proves that the labor market continues to tighten as we continue our post-pandemic economic growth. (6)
Proprietary portfolio happenings:
Company News (7)
Palo Alto Networks Inc. (PANW), a Core Select and G33 holding, shares rose 7.86% as the president warned last Monday that the Russian government is exploring a number of options for potential cyberattacks and that the US will use all of its tools to deter, detract and possibly respond to these potential attacks. As a leader in the cyber security sector, PANW is expected to lead the efforts. (8)
Rising energy prices drove up the price of numerous oil companies held by Gradient Investments in the following strategies by 4.7 to 9.4%:
Core Select (Conoco Phillips – COP and Chevron-CVX)
G50 (Exxon Mobil -XOM and Chevron-CVX)
G40 (Suncor Energy Inc. -SU, Shell plc. - SHEL, BP PLC -BP)
Energy (Conoco Philips-COP, Chevron-CVX, Exxon Mobil-XOM, Suncor Energy Inc.-SU, and BP PLC-BP)
Did You Know? The oldest Major League Baseball ballpark is the home field of the Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park. Officially opened in 1912, this stadium is still operating to this day. This year’s home opening day for the Sox will be on April 15 against the Minnesota Twins.
(7) Yahoo Finance