Financial Intel Monthly

Market Week: April 27, 2020

Apr 27, 2020 7:29:47 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close April 24, 2020)

The week started with stock indexes falling sharply on the heels of an historic plunge of crude oil into negative territory. The Dow dropped nearly 600 points and more than 2.4% by Monday's close. Minimal demand sent the prices for crude oil (CL=F) to -22.02 per barrel — down 222.06%.

Stocks continued to tumble on Tuesday as oil prices remained historically low. Each of the benchmarks listed here lost at least 2.3%, with the Nasdaq losing close to 3.5%. Concerns are increasing that the depressed demand for oil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue well into the future. Also, the negative impact of the virus on the economy is being felt almost daily as more information is released.

The indexes recaptured some of the losses from earlier in the week on Wednesday. Some better-than-expected earnings reports, coupled with the Senate's passage of a deal to add another $484 billion earmarked for the small business aid program, COVID-19 testing, and hospital support, provided positive news for investors.

Oil prices surged last Thursday and Congress voted for further aid to small businesses, helping to boost stocks, but only marginally. Unfortunately, test results of a drug that might offer treatment for COVID-19 may not be as promising as hoped, weakening stock returns.

A rally pushed the benchmark indexes listed here higher last Friday, but not enough to avoid closing in the red for the week. The president signed a fourth piece of COVID-19 funding legislation last Friday. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, a $484 billion bill, provides over $320 billion in new funding to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, plus new funding for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, $75 billion for hospitals and community health centers, and $25 billion to enhance COVID-19 testing. Oil prices rose Friday but remain at historic lows. Of the indexes listed here, only the Russell 2000 closed the week ahead of its prior-week mark, but only barely. Both the Dow and Global Dow ended the week down by nearly 2.0%, while the S&P 500 fell over 1.25%. The tech stocks of the Nasdaq finished close to even, falling about 0.2% for the week.

Crude oil prices suffered their worst one-week decline in history last week, ultimately closing at $17.13 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $18.34. The price of gold (COMEX) rose last week, closing at $1,741.50 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $1,694.50. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $1.812 per gallon on April 20, 2020, $0.041 lower than the prior week's price and $1.029 less than a year ago.

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Market Week: April 20, 2020

Apr 21, 2020 9:36:38 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, market, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close April 17, 2020)

Last weekend, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other major oil-producing countries agreed to slash production as oil prices had fallen about 50% from their January peak. Lack of demand, primarily due to COVID-19, has sent oil prices tumbling. The stock market started out slowly on Monday but picked up some steam to pare losses. Of the major benchmark indexes listed here, only the Nasdaq closed the day up. Investors seemed to worry about what the pandemic would do to corporate earnings and shunned stocks for other investments, such as gold, which rose to its highest price in more than seven years.

Stocks rose sharply last Tuesday as each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted gains of between 1.97% (Global Dow) and 3.95% (Nasdaq). Investors had their hopes buoyed by growing optimism that the peak of the pandemic has been reached and a gradual reopening of the economy is not too far away.

Gains from earlier in the week were given back on Wednesday. Investors were hit with the harsh reality of the impact of COVID-19 on businesses as reflected in sagging corporate earnings. Energy companies and banks reported significant declines in earnings. And crude oil continued to fall, plunging below $19.00 per barrel by the end of the day.

Despite some rather sour economic news, Thursday saw investors generally stay the course as the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq recorded gains by the close of trading. But strong economic reports did not drive the market. In fact, the latest report from the Department of Labor revealed more than 5 million new claims for unemployment insurance, bringing the 4-week total to over 22 million. Some large financial institutions reported steep drops in quarterly earnings, home construction plummeted, and retail sales sank.

Stocks closed higher Friday to finish in the black for the second week in a row. Word of a possible treatment for COVID-19, coupled with President Trump's three-phase process for restarting the economy, gave investors the fortitude to stick with stocks. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here closed the week comfortably ahead, except for the small caps of the Russell 2000. The tech-heavy Nasdaq posted solid gains and is nearing its year-end closing value.

Crude oil prices continued to tumble last week, closing at $18.34 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $23.19. The price of gold (COMEX), which had been soaring, receded last week, closing at $1,694.50 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $1,715.40. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $1.853 per gallon on April 13, 2020, $0.071 lower than the prior week's price and $0.975 less than a year ago.

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Market Week: April 6, 2020

Apr 6, 2020 7:18:08 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close April 3, 2020)

Stocks continued to rally at the beginning of last week amid hopes of enhanced testing for COVID-19. But by the end of the day Wednesday stocks slid, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posting their largest single-day declines since March 18. Energy shares in particular were hit hard. The Dow fell 4.4% and the small caps of the Russell 2000 continued to collapse, dropping over 7.0% on Wednesday. Economically, the virus is overwhelming the job market, as the number of unemployment insurance claims broke records for the second consecutive week.

For the past several weeks Thursdays have become rebound days for the market, and last Thursday was no exception. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed the day up about 2.25%, respectively, while the Nasdaq picked up about 1.75%. Oil prices pushed higher on word of output cuts. But COVID-19 has shrunk the demand for oil, which will likely keep prices in check even with reduced production.

A dismal jobs report (see below) drove stocks lower by the close of trading last Friday. Analysts believe as poor as this report may be, it doesn't reflect the magnitude of the damage done by the virus. They point to the more than 10 million claims for unemployment insurance over the past two weeks as a further indicator that the worst is yet to come. As more information is released, investors will be able to assess the economic damage done by COVID-19.

After rallying to close the prior week with double-digit gains, investors reeled in those profits last week, pulling the benchmark indexes lower. The small caps of the Russell 2000 were hardest hit, falling more than 7.0%, followed by the Global Dow, the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq, which was the only index not to fall at least 2.0%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a three-week low as bond prices soared, also affected by the latest job figures.

Oil prices climbed higher last week following news that production would be reduced, closing at $28.79 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $21.57. The price of gold (COMEX) rose again last week, closing at $1,649.30 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $1,625.30. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.005 per gallon on March 30, 2020, $0.115 lower than the prior week's price and $0.686 less than a year ago.

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Quarterly Market Review: January-March 2020

Apr 2, 2020 7:43:29 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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Market Week: March 30, 2020

Mar 30, 2020 7:08:39 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close March 27, 2020)

Stocks opened the week as they closed the previous one — in a tailspin. However, aggressive moves by the Federal Reserve late in the day, coupled with the hope of a massive aid package from Congress, helped push stocks higher during early trading Tuesday.

News of the passage of massive stimulus legislation (see below) was enough of a positive impetus to send investors back to the markets in droves on Tuesday. The Dow surged to its highest single-day gain since 1933 as it climbed more than 11% by the end of the day. Unfortunately, as debate on the bill continued by the closing bell on Wednesday, the benchmark indexes gave back most of the previous day's gains. The Dow closed up 2.39%, marking the first back-to-back daily gains since the first week of February.

Passage by the Senate of the coronavirus relief package Wednesday night spurred investor optimism as stocks surged Thursday, despite a record number of unemployment insurance claims primarily due to the COVID-19 virus. By the close of trading, each of the benchmark indexes had posted sizable gains, marking a legitimate bull run. But how long will it last?

Unfortunately, the ride didn't last as long as hoped as stocks closed last Friday in the red for the day, but significantly higher than they began the week. Following a volatile week of stock prices, the week closed with the Dow recording its best weekly gain since 1938. Ultimately, the passage of the massive coronavirus rescue package, referred to as the CARES Act, gave investors enough encouragement to plunge back into the market. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted double-digit weekly gains except for the tech stocks of the Nasdaq, which climbed 9.0% nonetheless. Long-term bond prices also rose, pushing yields lower by the end of the week as 10-year Treasuries yields fell almost 20 basis points.

Oil prices reversed course last week, closing marginally higher at $21.57 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $19.84. The price of gold (COMEX) also spiked last week, closing at $1,625.30 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $1,498.90. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.120 per gallon on March 23, 2020, $0.128 lower than the prior week's price and $0.503 less than a year ago.

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Market Week: March 23, 2020

Mar 23, 2020 9:41:45 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close March 20, 2020)

Following the Fed's latest interest rate cut last weekend, stocks opened markedly lower on Monday, prompting the third circuit breaker in the last six sessions as trading was halted only seconds after the opening bell. By midmorning on Monday, the Dow had lost 8.5%, the S&P 500 slid 7.7%, and the Nasdaq fell 7.8%. By the end of the day, the Dow posted its worst percentage decline since 1987, the S&P 500 fell 12.0%, and the Nasdaq was off 12.3%. Business disruptions, store closures, and travel restrictions continue to drive the massive sell-off.

A late rally Tuesday pushed the major indexes higher, but the momentum was short-lived. Wednesday's futures triggered yet another circuit breaker. The stock market is now firmly in bear territory — more than 20% off its 52-week high. Despite new measures by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank late Wednesday, stocks continued to fall.

After Thursday's passage of legislation intended to provide some relief to those who are unable to work, coupled with an extension to file income taxes until July, stocks rebounded, somewhat. While Thursday's gains provided a brief respite from the constant sell-offs, stock values remain depressed. The Dow was down more than 32% from its February 12 high, while the other major indexes have all fallen more than 20%.

By the end of the week, each of the benchmark indexes fell by more than 10%, led by the large caps of the Dow and the small caps of the Russell 2000. The federal government closed U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada to nonessential travel. States like New York, California, and Illinois ordered their respective workforces to stay home. Investors saw these moves as more reason to fear that the worst is yet to come from the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting more stock sell-offs.

Year-to-date, the Russell 2000 is nearly 40% below its 2019 closing value. The Dow and Global Dow are each more than 32% off last year's pace. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has given up more than 23% from last year, which was a stellar one for this index.

Oil prices continued to plunge last week, closing at $19.84 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $33.34. The price of gold (COMEX) also fell last week, closing at $1,498.90 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $1,532.80. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.248 per gallon on March 16, 2020, $0.127 lower than the prior week's price and $0.300 less than a year ago.

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Market Week: March 16, 2020

Mar 16, 2020 10:58:44 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close March 13, 2020)

While the hope may have been that it couldn't get worse, unfortunately, it has. The coronavirus has not only posed a significant health threat to millions of people worldwide, but its impact has been felt economically and in the stock markets, both here and globally. Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially designated the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, having reached more than 100 countries and more than 100,000 reported individual cases. President Trump announced that he intended to suspend travel from certain areas of Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. He also proposed plans for $50 billion in low-interest loans to affected businesses and delaying the April 15 tax-filing deadline. And Congress approved about $8 billion in funding to develop virus treatments and provide financial help to states.

Stock markets reacted negatively to that news, plunging dramatically on Thursday. Not unexpectedly, some individual stocks were hit hardest, including airline and transportation stocks, retail and eatery shares, and energy stocks. The markets recouped some losses midday Thursday following the Federal Reserve's announced intention to infuse more than $1.5 trillion into short-term funding markets. But the spurt was short-lived as stocks suffered their worst single-day drop since 1987's Black Monday. Globally, stocks fared no better. STOXX Europe, Japan's Nikkei 225, and China's Shanghai Composite Index all suffered losses.

The sell-off continued into Friday, which looked poised to reach bear levels across most indexes. A late rally pushed stocks higher following the president's declaration of a national emergency last Friday afternoon. Whether this surge will carry over to next week remains to be seen. Nevertheless, each of the benchmark indexes closed last week in the red, led by the small caps of the Russell 2000 and the Global Dow. The Dow fell over 10% despite gaining almost 2,000 points late Friday. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 each managed to keep losses in single digits.

Oil prices continued to plunge last week, closing at $33.34 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $41.56. The price of gold (COMEX) also fell last week, closing at $1,532.80 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $1,674.30. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.375 per gallon on March 9, 2020, $0.048 lower than the prior week's price and $0.096 less than a year ago.

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Market Week: March 9, 2020

Mar 10, 2020 8:27:13 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close March 6, 2020)

While it apparently took a day to take effect, the Fed's decision to reduce the target range for the federal funds rate by 50 basis points quelled the massive rush to sell stocks and brought some investors back to the market. Following losses earlier in the week, the benchmark indexes surged with the Dow gaining more than 700 points last Wednesday. Unfortunately, the wild ride continued into Thursday with stocks losing most of the prior day's gains. A final rally just before the close of the market on Friday was enough to push a few of the benchmark indexes listed here moderately higher. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were the only indexes to post gains over their respective prior week's closing values. The Russell 2000 and Global Dow couldn't rally enough to finish in the black.

Money poured from stocks to long-term bonds, pushing prices higher and sending yields plummeting. The yield on 10-year Treasuries dropped below 1.0% for the first time ever last Tuesday, only to continue to fall to record lows each day thereafter until reaching 0.70% by the close of trading on Friday.

Oil prices fell to their lowest point in many years last week, closing at $41.56 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $45.19. Russia's apparent refusal to cut production greatly contributed to the drop in oil prices. The price of gold (COMEX) shot higher last week, closing at $1,674.30 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $1,585.80. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.423 per gallon on March 2, 2020, $0.043 lower than the prior week's price but $0.001 more than a year ago.

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Market Week: March 2, 2020

Mar 3, 2020 10:07:47 AM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close February 28, 2020)

Panicked investors continued a major sell-off last week, pushing stocks to double-digit losses. Fears of a major global economic impact increased as the coronavirus continued to spread across multiple countries. By the end of last week, each of the major benchmark indexes listed here fell by more than 10%, headed by the Dow, which lost close to 12.5%. Following the Dow were the small caps of the Russell 2000, the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and the Global Dow. Money flowed from stocks and into long-term bonds. The yield on 10-year Treasuries plummeted 35 basis points to 1.12% as bond prices soared. The price of oil was also hit hard, falling more than $8 per barrel by the end of last week.

Oil prices plunged last week, closing at $45.19 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $53.35. The price of gold (COMEX) fell back last week, closing at $1,585.80 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $1,646.10. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.466 per gallon on February 24, 2020, $0.038 higher than the prior week's price and $0.076 more than a year ago.

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Market Week: February 10, 2020

Feb 17, 2020 12:23:11 PM / by The Retirement Group (800) 900-5867 posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Northrop Grumman, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Verizon, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, Market week

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The Markets (as of market close February 7, 2020)

Stocks rebounded and long-term bond yields rose last week amid reports of China's plans to cut tariffs on some American imports. The S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq reached all-time highs during the week, and global stocks soared. Also helping push stocks higher was a round of favorable fourth-quarter corporate earnings figures and a strong labor report. Investors seemed intent on locking in gains by last week's end as stocks fell somewhat. Nevertheless, each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted solid gains, led by the Nasdaq, which gained more than 4.0%. The large caps of both the Dow and S&P 500 advanced by 3.0% and 3.17%, respectively. The small caps of the Russell 2000, which had been reeling for the past several weeks, climbed 2.65%. Year-to-date, the Nasdaq is more than 6.0% ahead of its 2019 closing value. Only the Russell 2000 is slightly behind last year's mark.

Oil prices dropped again last week, closing at $50.47 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $51.61. The price of gold (COMEX) plunged last week, closing at $1,573.90 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $1,592.70. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.455 per gallon on February 1, 2020, $0.051 lower than the prior week's price but $0.201 more than a year ago.

Market/Index
2019 Close
Prior Week
As of 2/7
Weekly Change
YTD Change
DJIA
28538.44
28256.03
29102.51
3.00%
1.98%
Nasdaq
8972.60
9150.94
9520.51
4.04%
6.11%
S&P 500
3230.78
3225.52
3327.71
3.17%
3.00%
Russell 2000
1668.47
1614.06
1656.78
2.65%
-0.70%
Global Dow
3251.24
3161.86
3252.04
2.85%
0.02%
Fed. Funds target rate
1.50%-1.75%
1.50%-1.75%
1.50%-1.75%
0 bps
0 bps
10-year Treasuries
1.91%
1.52%
1.57%
5 bps
-34 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week's Economic News

  • Job growth soared in January with the addition of 225,000 new jobs. The average monthly gain of new jobs added in 2019 was 175,000. Notable job gains last month occurred in construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. The unemployment rate inched up 0.1 percentage point to 3.6%, representing 5.9 million unemployed persons (5.8 million unemployed in December). The labor force participation rate edged up by 0.2 percentage point to 63.4%. The employment-population ratio, at 61.2%, changed little over the month but was up by 0.5 percentage point over the year. In January, average hourly earnings rose by $0.07 to $28.44. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1%. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.3 hours in January.
  • January has gotten off to a slow start in the manufacturing sector, at least according to one purchasing managers' survey. The latest IHS Markit U.S. Manufacturing PMI™ fell in January on the heels of a drop in export orders. At the same time, the pace of growth for new orders was the softest in three months, prompting firms to exercise greater hesitancy in relation to hiring additional staff, with workforce numbers rising only slightly and at the slowest pace in four months.
  • It is not uncommon for the leading manufacturing surveys to post conflicting results, as was the case in January. According to the Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®, purchasing managers were more upbeat relative to the manufacturing sector in January, evidenced by a 3.1 percentage point increase in the purchasing managers' index. Survey respondents also reported an increase in new orders, production, hiring, new export orders, and prices — not entirely in line with the survey results from Markit's report.
  • The services sector continued to expand in January, according to the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®. Survey respondents reported growth in business activity and new orders. On the other hand, hirings and prices each fell in January compared to December.
  • The goods and services deficit was $48.9 billion in December, up $5.2 billion (11.9%) from $43.7 billion in November, revised. Exports ($209.6 billion) were up 0.8%, and imports ($258.5 billion) increased 2.7%. For 2019, the goods and services deficit decreased $10.9 billion, or 1.7%, from 2018. Exports decreased $1.5 billion, or 0.1%. Imports decreased $12.5 billion, or 0.4%. Reflective of the trade war, the United States deficit with China in 2019 decreased $73.9 billion to $345.6 billion.
  • For the week ended February 1, there were 202,000 claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's level, which was revised up by 1,000. According to the Department of Labor, the advance rate for insured unemployment claims remained at 1.2% for the week ended January 25. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended January 25 was 1,751,000, an increase of 48,000 from the prior week's level.

Eye on the Week Ahead

The latest inflationary indicators are available this week, including January's Consumer Price Index. The retail sales report will provide last month's figures on consumer spending at retail and food services stores. The Federal Reserve releases its report on the government's budget for January. The December government budget deficit was $13.3 billion.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. The U.S. Dollar Index is a geometrically weighted index of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to six foreign currencies. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

This material was prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, ING Retirement, AT&T, Qwest, Chevron, Hughes, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, ExxonMobil, Glaxosmithkline, Merck, Pfizer, Verizon, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

The Retirement Group is a Registered Investment Advisor not affiliated with FSC Securities and may be reached at www.theretirementgroup.com.

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