With the first quarter of 2017 now behind us, we have seen the three major indexes all gain more than 4.5% so far this year. In fact, the NASDAQ just experienced its best quarter since 2013 due to tech stocks driving growth.
Despite closing down on Friday, the indexes added to their quarterly gains last week. The S&P 500 grew by 0.80%, the Dow was up 0.32%, and the NASDAQ gained 1.42%.
What else happened last week?
Oil gained on word from OPEC
Oil prices experienced their largest weekly gains in 2017, ending above $50 a barrel. This growth is largely a result of speculation that OPEC (an intergovernmental organization of 13 oil-producing countries) will continue its agreement to curb oil output. By reducing supply, the nations aim to reduce the supply glut that drives prices down.
Q4 GDP increased with revisions
The final revisions for fourth quarter GDP beat expectations, coming in at 2.1% - up from the previous estimates of 1.9% growth. This plodding growth is in keeping with the economic recovery we have experienced the past several years.
Inflation hit a key Fed benchmark
When deciding on monetary policy, the Federal Reserve pays close attention to the PCE deflator, an inflation measurement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They want to see this data above 2%. We learned last week that in February the PCE deflator hit this level for the first time since 2012. If this trend continues, we could see additional interest rate increases this year.
Consumer confidence and sentiment remained high
The Conference Board's March readings for consumer confidence jumped to the highest levels since December 2000, surprising economists who expected the reading to decline from February. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment readings also showed an increase for March. However, the Michigan survey's chief economist pointed out that participants' sentiment showed a deep partisan divide. With confidence and uncertainty seemingly split along party lines, the effect on spending behaviors remains to be seen.
So far, the first quarter of 2017 has brought market growth and several positive economic data reports - coupled with heated policy debates occurring in government and the media. Moving forward, we will continue to seek the best opportunities to pursue your goals and keep you informed with the information you need to help make solid decisions.
Quote of the Week
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream."
Golf Tip of the Week
Use Your Shadow to Avoid Swaying When You Swing
When you're in the middle of a round, being able to check your swing is challenging - since courses rarely feature mirrors. This is where your shadow can serve you well! With these tips you can check your swing to see if you're swaying by watching your shadow:
Step 1: Shadow
First, focus on using your shadow to reveal any problems in your stance and swing:
- Stand so your shadow is in front of you and the sun is behind your back.
- Stand at the setup.
- Locate where you have placed your head and hips by checking your shadow, which should look like a golfer without arms.
- Look at your shadow as you swing back to make sure your body is rotating rather than swinging back and forth. Also, check that you are holding your spine angle.
- Look for any tilt away from the target.
- Practice a correct swing a few times.
Step 2: Sun
Next, practice your swing facing the sun:
- Hold your body alignment and practice swinging with your corrected position.
- Focus on how your body feels, instead of looking at your shadow.
- When you take a real hit, keep your attention on the back of the ball.
- Make sure you're continuing to rotate your body through the hit, never sliding.
Financial Question of the Week
How often do you review my portfolio?
Although our clients all have customized portfolios, most portfolios hold similar investments that we have chosen as best in class from throughout the investment universe. The customizations typically come in the form of asset allocation - determining the appropriate mix of investments for your particular situation.
That being said, we constantly review the investments we have chosen. During our daily meetings with clients we continuously evaluate these investments to ensure they remain in line with our expectations throughout changes in the market and economy. An even closer look is taken outside of meetings where we perform more detailed fundamental analysis.
With investments constantly analyzed, we take the opportunity to review each client's customized portfolio on at least a monthly basis. At this time we review how your investments are performing as a whole, your asset allocation strategy, and how your portfolio is working towards achieving your goals, among other factors effecting your financial situation.
Please let us know if you or someone you know has any questions about their portfolio.