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Market Commentary: Economy Reacts to Recent Upward Trends in COVID Cases, Unemployment Claims and Stocks

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Economy Reacts to Recent Upward Trends in COVID Cases, Unemployment Claims and Stocks

The more contagious Delta variant has contributed to a 172% increase in U.S. COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks. The spike is raising concerns some social distancing measures may be reenacted. Initial jobless claims are increasing. Last week claims jumped above 400,000 after staying below that threshold for several weeks.

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Market Commentary: U.S. Stocks Struggle as Inflation Jumps; China’s Economy Continues to Rebound

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: U.S. Stocks Struggle as Inflation Jumps; China’s Economy Continues to Rebound

Two big economic releases in the U.S. and a series of economic data in China highlighted a challenging week for U.S. stocks. Inflation surged 0.9% and has now increased 5.4% over the last year (Figure 1). The U.S. Consumer Price Index increased more than expected, led by large spikes in used vehicle prices.

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Market Commentary: Second Quarter Key Events To Know; Future Growth Expectations Are Mixed

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Second Quarter Key Events To Know; Future Growth Expectations Are Mixed

The U.S. economy continued to show signs of a mismatch between demand and supply. Nearly 3 million workers have been unemployed for more than a year; yet, there are 9 million available jobs in the U.S. (Figure 1). Matching those open positions with available workers remains key to a sustained economic recovery.

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Market Commentary: Restaurants, Hotels Lead Jump in Hiring; Stock Market Continues Surge

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Restaurants, Hotels Lead Jump in Hiring; Stock Market Continues Surge

U.S. payrolls jumped 850,000 in June after two months of mediocre hiring (Figure 1). With these gains, the private sector has now reinstated 73% of the jobs lost during the pandemic. Restaurants and hotels led the hiring, as the leisure and hospitality industry added 343,000 new positions.

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Market Commentary: Home sales dip, wages rise as June jobs report looms

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Home sales dip, wages rise as June jobs report looms

The challenge of higher prices is starting to weigh on home sales. New and existing home sales both dipped last month while the median price of existing homes sold topped $350,000 for the first time. Vacation home sales jumped 57.2% over the last year.

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Market Commentary: Higher-Than-Expected Inflation Rates Cause Consumer Spending to Slow; Fed Adjusts Forecasts For Future Hikes

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Higher-Than-Expected Inflation Rates Cause Consumer Spending to Slow; Fed Adjusts Forecasts For Future Hikes

The Federal Reserve raised its inflation forecast 1.0% for this year to 3.4% and indicated inflation will stay near its target of 2.0% in coming years. Based on a more rapid recovery and higher-than-expected inflation in recent months, Fed officials estimate the Fed will raise interest rates twice in 2023. The moves also suggest the Fed will start reducing its bond-buying program this year rather than in 2022.

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Market Commentary: One-year Inflation Rate Accelerates and Job Openings Hit All-Time High

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: One-year Inflation Rate Accelerates and Job Openings Hit All-Time High

U.S. consumer prices continued to go up faster than normal. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped 0.6% last month and has now increased 5.0% over last year (Figure 1). Used car and truck prices rose 7.3% last month and are 29.7% higher over the last year. New car prices increased 1.6%, and airline fares surged 7.0%.

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Market Commentary: Amid Hiring Challenges, Hourly Earnings Rise, Some Unemployment Benefits Cut

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Amid Hiring Challenges, Hourly Earnings Rise, Some Unemployment Benefits Cut

U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose 559,000 last month (Figure 1). This is much better than last month’s 278,000, but much lower than March’s 785,000 gain. Workers are returning to the labor force more slowly than expected. Businesses are reporting challenges in finding workers. Leisure and hospitality employment accounted for more than 50% of the job gains. Auto industry employment dropped 27,000 last month as semiconductor shortages forced plant shutdowns.

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Market Commentary: Home Prices Surge Over Previous Year; Disposable Income Dips

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Home Prices Surge Over Previous Year; Disposable Income Dips

U.S. home prices continued to march higher. As Figure 1 shows, they have surged 13.2%. The 20-city index has increased slightly more as cities just out of the top 10, such as Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle have experienced very rapid price appreciation. The annualized gains are in line with the 2013 peak as housing prices recovered after the financial crisis. During that rally, the 10- and 20-city indexes experienced more rapid gains than the overall index, indicating smaller cities and towns didn’t participate at the same rate. In this rally, the move toward smaller towns has boosted the national...read the full article

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Market Commentary: S&P Earnings Outperforming, Unemployment Claims Down

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: S&P Earnings Outperforming, Unemployment Claims Down

S&P 500 earnings were expected to be strong and turned out to be phenomenal. When the final 5% of companies report, first quarter earnings are expected to have increased 51.9%. When the quarter began, earnings growth was expected to be less than 25%. Strong earnings from consumer discretionary companies, financials, and the communication services sector all supported rapid earnings growth.

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