Stocks moved higher last week as gains in the energy, industrial, and financial sectors overcame weakness in tobacco and technology stocks. The S&P 500 rose 0.5%, and the global MSCI ACWI climbed 0.4%. The Bloomberg BarCap Aggregate Bond Index dropped 0.6% on inflation and interest rate concerns.
Key points for the week
- Stocks rose and bonds dropped during the week.
- Chinese GDP is strong now, but concerns for future growth are deepening.
- Energy stocks are rallying and have room to run.
China’s economy grew by 6.8% in the first quarter of 2018, beating analyst expectations by 0.1%. This marks the third straight quarter of 6.8% growth. However, growth is expected to slow in coming quarters. Metrics, such as real estate investment, industrial growth, and fixed asset investment growth, are down for March compared to January and February. As a result, China’s central bank cut reserve requirements for lenders in hopes the extra liquidity and improved profit margins prevent economic growth from derailing.
Oil prices have resumed their upward climb in recent months, following a pause from the sharp run that began after a low point in June 2017. (See chart above.) Many investors attribute the increase to heightened geopolitical tensions as oil prices often rise with the risk of conflict. We agree geopolitical risks are a contributing factor, but there are others pushing oil higher.
- OPEC and Russia have shown improved discipline in keeping production levels low.
- Inventories are declining faster than expected.
- A top oil-producing region in the U.S., the Permian Basin, has a shortage of workers and insufficient pipeline capacity.
Energy stocks were the top performing sector last week. Our general outlook for the sector is positive as energy stocks haven’t risen nearly as rapidly as energy prices. Even with the good week, energy stocks are down 4.2% over the last 12 months, trailing the S&P 500 by more than 15%.
Fun story of the week
Don Bryer, a 61-year-old grandfather, is now a freshman golfer for Bellevue University in Nebraska. This came about after a friendly game with Bellevue University’s head coach turned serious when Bryer played consistently under par. Bryer thought the coach was kidding when he asked if he was eligible to play. Turns out he was serious, and Bryer is now the oldest NAIA athlete since 61-year-old kicker Alan Moore played for Faulkner University in Alabama in 2011. But don’t assume Bryer’s age comes with any privilege. His teammates still expect him to lug their bags around every now and then — like a true freshman.
This newsletter was written and produced by CWM, LLC. Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. Due to volatility within the markets mentioned, opinions are subject to change without notice. Information is based on sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
S&P 500 INDEX
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.
MSCI ACWI INDEX
The MSCI ACWI captures large- and mid-cap representation across 23 developed markets (DM) and 23 emerging markets (EM) countries*. With 2,480 constituents, the index covers approximately 85% of the global investable equity opportunity set.
Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index
The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is an index of the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, including both government and corporate bonds.