Tariffs and Interest Rates…

Tariffs and interest rates are at front and center. Now that Q3 earnings reporting season is winding down, without question the two remaining catalysts for these markets between now and year-end are¬† tariffs and interest rates. It’s been a long time since we have seen the swings that are going on right now in the stock market. Investor’s and trader’s alike are attached to every headline or tweet pertaining to the current trade war between China and the U.S. and whether or not the Federal Reserve will take its foot off of the pedal. The growing tensions between China and the U.S. regarding tariffs did abate late Friday when President Trump tweeted that China does want to make a deal. This was enough to rally the markets on Friday afternoon, but not enough to get the the key indexes out of the red on the week. On the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed at 25,413, the S&P 500 (chart) closed at 2,736, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) closed at 7,248 and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) finished the week out at 1,527.

With the aforementioned looming catalysts on the horizon the big question is will we get a year end rally? My feelings are we may only need one of these catalysts to come through for a potential year-end rally. If China and the U.S. can agree upon more favorable terms to the imposed existing tariffs and/or actually withdraw some of the existing tariffs, we may have a shot. Not to say interest rates aren’t important, but relatively speaking interest rates still remain historically low. Even if the Federal Reserve raises rates in December, I still think that a China U.S. deal would be enough for a rally as we close out 2018. The G20 summit is just two weeks away and let’s hope some sort of deal can come forward out of the summit. Good luck to all ūüôā

~George

Russell 2000 - Paula Mahfouz

 

All Eyes On Jobs Report…

The chatter has increased lately as to when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates from their historic lows. We may not need to wait much longer to get that answer. Although it is a holiday weekend, the August jobs report will be released tomorrow and the pundits are suggesting that if the economy added more than 200,000 jobs in August, the Federal Reserve will raise rates this month. From my view a quarter point rate hike here in September is no big deal. I think the markets will have a muted reaction. However, if this is the beginning of a consistent pattern then this becomes an entirely different discussion. I do not expect that the Fed will be too aggressive with future rate hikes and of course the economic data will play a role in those decisions.

So what about the markets? We are coming into a seasonality that is typically a weaker time for stocks. What’s more,¬†the markets will also begin to focus on the presidential election and the polls associated with it. That said, I expect an increase in volatility as we head into the fall. There are other catalysts that could¬†weigh in on stocks such as potential changes in global monetary policies and Q3 earnings reporting season in October. The key indices continue to demonstrate strength with the¬†S&P 500¬†(see chart below) being supported by its 50-day moving average click here, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below) is within a couple percentage points of its all-time highs, and both the Nasdaq (chart, click here) and the small-cap Russell 2000¬†(chart, click here) are trading right around their 20-day moving averages. So as of yet, stocks do not appear to be too concerned with the upcoming market seasonality and other potential catalysts that could play¬†a role in interrupting the uptrend we have been in.

Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and happy Labor Day weekend ūüôā

~George

S&P chart george mahfouz jr

dow jones chart george mahfouz jr