March 10 2015
If you looked at last week from the perspective of the children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, it might have gone like this:
“If you give the United States a positive employment report,
Investors are going to ask whether interest rates will move higher.
When they conclude the Federal Reserve may increase rates sooner rather than later, American stock markets may dip lower…”
Yes, last week was one of those weeks: When good news triggered not-so-good news. According to Barron’s:
“The February jobs report, showing a 295,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls, about 60,000 more than predicted by economists, plus a dip in the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent in January, evidently was enough to convince the markets that a June Fed rate hike is now likely. The June fed-funds futures contract was pricing in a 70 percent probability of a move to 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent at Friday’s settlement, up from 48 percent the day before, according to the CME.”
Reuters reported the good news: A stronger U.S. economy is better for U.S. stock markets over the long term. It also gave the not-so-good news: Investors’ worries the Fed could choke economic growth by raising rates too soon led to a market selloff.
As investors agitate, it may prove worthwhile to spend some time thinking about economic indicators. The Conference Board produces leading, coincident, and lagging economic indices which are comprised of individual leading, coincident, or lagging indicators. These indices are intended to provide insight to U.S. economic change and help identify turning points in economic data. For example:
- The leading index is an early indicator. It is intended to mark turning points before economic change occurs.
- The coincident index tends to mirror current economic performance, turning up or down along with GDP (gross domestic product) growth. One component of the coincident index is the number of employees on nonfarm payrolls.
- The lagging index tends to reflect what has happened already
In its most recent report, The Conference Board Leading Economic Index increased which suggests a positive short-term outlook for 2015. However, the pace of increase slowed month-to-month which indicates downside risks remain.
- Data as of 3/6/151- WeekY-T-D1-Year3-Year5-Year10-Year
- Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)-0.0160.0060.1040.1550.1270.054
- 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)2.2N/A188.8.131.52.3
- Gold (per ounce) 3.2-2-12.6-110.910.5
- Bloomberg Commodity Index0-0.9-22.4-11.5-4.9-4.1
- DJ Equity All REIT TR Index-3.5-0.716.9184.108.40.206
*Indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in an index.
*Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
*S&P 500, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend).
*The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends.
*All investments involve risk – coins and bullion are no exception. The value of bullion and coins is affected by many economic circumstances, including the current market price of bullion, the perceived scarcity of the coins and other factors. Therefore, because both bullion and coins can go down as well as up in value, investing in them may not be suitable for everyone. Since all investments, including bullion and coins, can decline in value, you should understand them well, and have adequate cash reserves and disposable income before considering a bullion or coin investment.