Weekly Talking Points – July 9, 2018

Joel Faircloth, Aspen Wealth Strategies
  1. The S&P 500 ended the week up 1.56% as data is finally starting to win over headline fear. The S&P is now up 4.25% YTD, while the Dow lags at 0.82% up for the year. The big gainers continue to be technology and small-caps with their respective indices up 11.99% and 11.02% year-to-date.
  2. On Friday another solid jobs report was released. For the month of June the US created 213,000 new jobs (195,000 were expected), but even better than that, including revisions to April/May the total number rose to 250,000.
  3. Despite the job gains, the unemployment rate actually rose from 3.8% to 4.0%. This happens when workers return to the workforce. For many years after the financial crisis some “experts” lamented the fact that while the unemployment rate was decreasing the percentage of people participating in the labor force was actually dropping. Some of this was demographics – there are two rather large population bubbles at each end of the age distribution in the US right now – boomers who are retiring, and generation “Z” (or millennials depending on who you talk to) that are in their college years. Neither of these typically work a 40-hour week, for obvious different reasons, yet both count as part of the “available pool of workers”.
  4. Both the ISM Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing numbers came in strong last week, at 60.2 and 59.1 respectively. As a reminder, above 50 is growth and below 50 in contraction.
  5. One quick note (and a preview of the quarterly commentary), I believe that the trade issues will be resolved over the summer. I do not see the tariff talk continuing deep into the election cycle – there is simply too much political capital at risk to have a temporary (by the administrations own admission) issue determine the course of such an important election. Of course, weirder things have happened…

Bottom line

Earnings, earnings, earnings…I expect another solid earnings season in the coming weeks. In fact, First Trust is now estimating that GDP may have hit 5.0% in the second quarter. If we can just get the uncertainty surrounding the trade talks behind us the markets may have an opportunity to take their next leg up.

Joel P. Faircloth, MBA
Chief Financial Officer, Aspen Wealth Strategies
Wealth Advisor, RJFS

The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ.

Any opinions are those of Joel P Faircloth and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.

About the Author
Joel Faircloth

Joel Faircloth

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Joel Faircloth has built his career through formal education, working for some of the top firms in the country, and by challenging convention. He brings an extensive breadth and depth of experience in the financial services industry and has worn many hats—operations, client service, compliance, trader, marketer, writer, trainer, and investment manager. Joel is a seasoned investment manager, strategist and leader. He believes in the idea that one person or a group of like-minded people can help change an industry, and this is what led him to Aspen Wealth Strategies.

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