Weekly Economic Update

Economic Update 4-18-2022

  • Economic data for the week included gains in retail sales, as well as improvement in consumer sentiment, and continued healthy jobless claims. However, producer and consumer price inflation continued to come in at multi-decade high levels.
  • In a holiday-shortened week, global equity markets were mixed to lower, as high inflation readings and negative sentiment about Ukraine weighed on risk-taking. Foreign outperformed the U.S. slightly due to a weaker dollar. Bonds continued to lose ground as interest rates climbed higher in keeping with high CPI and PPI readings. Commodities also gained, with crude oil and natural gas prices rising sharply.

U.S. stocks were mixed in the holiday-shortened week, with high inflation numbers a bit below worst fears led hopes for a possible peak, while Q1 earnings season began. ‘Value’ sectors materials, industrials, and energy eked out minor gains, significantly outpacing large declines of 2-3% seen in technology, financials, communications, and health care. Real estate also fell back upon higher interest rates. Coming weeks should offer much more clarity on closely-watched Q1 company earnings.

Foreign stocks fared a bit better, with fewer losses than U.S. stocks for the week, helped by a weaker U.S. dollar. European market sentiment appeared to be helped by the fact that the ECB kept monetary policy language from becoming overly hawkish in fighting inflation pressures, instead keeping to schedule a Q3 end to its stimulative taper. Other key items of interest included the French presidential election and negative GDP growth in the U.K. Europe has been on the edge of low growth to a possible minor recession in 2022, fueled by higher natural gas prices and Russian energy reliance. However, the U.K. remains on an interest rate tightening path due to inflationary pressures, which outweigh the economic slowing at this point. Emerging markets were mixed, performing similar to developed markets on net with no clear unique story during the week. The Covid situation in Shanghai, however, continues to deteriorate, with the highest infection levels since the start of the pandemic and a two-week lockdown resulting in a variety of business and social strains.

U.S. bonds fell back again last week, as interest rates ticked higher in keeping with high CPI and PPI inflation reports. High yield debt outperformed, with flat results. Foreign bonds were held back in developed and emerging markets by a stronger dollar for the week.

Commodities continued a run of gains last week, led by strength in energy and agriculture; precious metals also increased a bit for the week, as gold maintains its popularity in 2022. The price of crude oil rose by over 8% to $107/barrel. Natural gas prices rose even further, by 17%.

Period ending 4/15/20221 Week (%)YTD (%)
DJIA-0.78-4.68
S&P 500-2.11-7.45
NASDAQ-2.62-14.50
Russell 20000.53-10.41
MSCI-EAFE-0.93-8.51
MSCI-EM-0.83-8.84
Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate-0.70-8.54
U.S. Treasury Yields3 Mo.2 Yr.5 Yr.10 Yr.30 Yr.
12/31/20210.060.731.261.521.90
4/8/20220.702.532.762.722.76
4/15/20220.792.472.792.832.92

Sources:  LSA Portfolio Analytics, American Association for Individual Investors (AAII), Associated Press, Barclays Capital, Bloomberg, Deutsche Bank, FactSet, Financial Times, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Asset Management, Kiplinger’s, Marketfield Asset Management, Minyanville, Morgan Stanley, MSCI, Morningstar, Northern Trust, Oppenheimer Funds, Payden & Rygel, PIMCO, Rafferty Capital Markets, LLC, Schroder’s, Standard & Poor’s, The Conference Board, Thomson Reuters, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Federal Reserve, Wells Capital Management, Yahoo!, Zacks Investment Research.  Index performance is shown as total return, which includes dividends, with the exception of MSCI-EM, which is quoted as price return/excluding dividends.  Performance for the MSCI-EAFE and MSCI-EM indexes is quoted in U.S. Dollar investor terms.

The information above has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but no representation is made as to its completeness, accuracy or timeliness.  All information and opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.  Information provided in this report is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, investment, legal or tax advice; and does not constitute an offer, or a solicitation of any offer, to buy or sell any security, investment or other product. 

FOR ADVISOR USE ONLY – NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO THE PUBLIC WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL FROM YOUR RESPECTIVE FIRM’S COMPLIANCE DEPARTMENT

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