Category Archives: Financial Tech
University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey and Phenomenon Called Heuristics – Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary May-20 FT029
Conflicting reports emerged about consumer sentiment during the week. The Conference Board, a non-profit research organization, reported consumers remained somewhat pessimistic about the direction of the economy. In contrast, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey rose to a six-year high, according to ABC News. The Index moved from 76.4 in April to 83.7 in May indicating consumers are feeling more confident about the economy.
On the employment front, more people filed first-time unemployment claims last week than had filed the week before; however, claims remained well below the levels experienced from mid-2008 to 2011. Additionally, data shows during the past six months the average length of unemployment has dropped, the number of hours worked has risen, and earnings have increased.
Sell in May and Go Away and Where Will You Live When You Retire? Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary May-13 FT028
‘Sell in May and Go Away’ is a trading maxim which, according to Investopedia, encourages an investor to “sells his or her stock holdings in May and get back into the equity market in November…” Traders who adhere to that adage may be pondering averages and exceptions right now. During the first two weeks of the month, the Dow Jones Industrials Average, the Standard & Poor’s 500, and the Russell 2000 Indices all reached new highs. The Dow passed 15,000, the S&P reached 1,600, and the Russell 2000 hit 968.
Bulls are in the majority among investors, although there is some bearish sentiment, according to the Bull and Bear Wise Index. Investors’ changing expectations are reflected in CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index which showed investor sentiment has shifted from ‘fear’ one year ago to ‘extreme greed’ last week. The premise of the index, which measures seven indicators, is investors are driven by two emotions: fear and greed. When investors are fearful, stock markets may fall more than they should; when investors are greedy, markets may be pushed higher than they should be.
Markets Testing Limits and Does Money Buy Happiness? Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary May-6 FT027
Like athletes testing their limits, the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials Indices both hit new highs last week. The S&P closed the week above the 1,600 level for the first time, while the Dow climbed above the 15,000 mark on Friday before closing lower. Strong corporate earnings, gains in the housing market, and good news from Europe helped support last week’s strong performance.
Corporate earnings season – the period when companies’ managements tell shareholders how well the companies have performed during the previous quarter – is almost over. Seventy-two percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have beaten analysts’ expectations, according to information provided by FactSet and reported on MarketWatch. Since 1994, about 63 percent of companies have beaten expectations on average.
Housing market news was largely positive last week. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city index of home prices was up 9.3 percent year-over-year through February which was the largest gain in almost 7 years. Generally, cities that had seen big price declines during the housing crisis realized the biggest gains, including Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. Cities experiencing strong jobs growth, such as San Francisco, Seattle, and Dallas, also showed significant price gains.
AP Twitter Hacked and Markets Move, Who Owns all the Gold? – Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary Apr-29 FT026
If anyone doubted the power of Twitter, their skepticism was laid to rest this week. Early Tuesday afternoon, a tweet from the Associated Press reported President Obama had been injured by explosions in the White House. Stock, bond, and commodity markets fell sharply on the news and then rebounded when the Associated Press communicated that its Twitter account had been hacked. This wasn’t the first time such a thing had happened on Twitter or the first time false and market moving information had been posted. In February, the stocks of Burger King and Jeep moved after a post on each company’s Twitter account indicated the company had been sold to a rival firm. The lesson to take from these events? Everyone may want to be wary about buying or selling investments based on news reported through Twitter or any other social media feeds.
Are You Responsible for Your Loved One’s Unpaid Debt? – Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary Apr-22 FT025
Last Monday, bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon. Not long after, media outlets let the public know letters to President Obama and a senator from Mississippi contained the poison ricin. On Wednesday, the town of West, Texas was flattened by an explosion at a fertilizer plant. By the end of the week, a man had been arrested for sending the ricin letters, the city of Boston had been locked down, the bombing suspects had been captured, and folks were returning to their homes in West, Texas.
The week’s economic news wasn’t all that encouraging. The pace of economic growth in China slowed unexpectedly, the International Monetary Fund reduced its 2013 growth forecast for the United States for the fourth time, earnings results were mixed, and an index of leading economic indicators in the Unites States unexpectedly moved lower. On the plus side, new home construction hit a five-year high. All three major indices – the Dow Jones Industrials Index, The Standard & Poor’s 500, and the NASDAQ – finished the week down more than 2 percent.