This week's Top Three Market Headlines: Consumers’ Outlook Brightens, April Jobs Report Shows Strength, The Fed Stays on Course.
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Consumers’ Outlook Brightens: The Conference Board reported last week that its Consumer Confidence Index rose in April to 129.2 from 124.2 in March, indicating that consumers continue to see the economy on a strong footing through the second quarter. Consumers’ positive outlook has translated into improved rates of spending of late: the Commerce Department reported last week that personal-consumption expenditures increased a seasonally 0.9% in March. This was the third consecutive monthly increase for the measure after having fallen in late 2018 amidst the government shutdown and Q4 stock market decline.

April Jobs Report Shows Strength: U.S. employers added 263,000 jobs in April, beating economists’ expectations of 190,000 new jobs for the month and extending the streak of job creation to 103 months. On average, employers have added 205,000 jobs to payrolls each month through the first four months of the year. Increased employment in the business service, construction, and health care sectors drove last month’s increase in hiring, while retail jobs fell for the third straight month. The unemployment rate fell to 3.6% last month, its lowest level since December 1969. Additionally, hourly wages grew 3.2% from a year earlier, keeping pace with last month’s rate of wage growth.

The Fed Stays on Course: Federal Reserve officials voted last week to keep the benchmark federal-funds interest rate unchanged, at a range of 2.25% to 2.5%. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed doesn’t “see a strong case for moving rates in either direction,” though Mr. Powell did note the economy is on a healthy path and indicated that recent weak inflation readings could be driven by “transitory” price declines in certain products and services, rather than reflecting broad economic weakness. The Chairman’s inflation comments dampened some market participants’ hopes that the Fed could lower interest rates in the near future and triggered a late-afternoon stock price slide on Wednesday, though the broad market S&P 500 Index still finished the week with a modest gain.

As of May 3, 2019

Week

Quarter-To-Date

Year-To-Date

One-Year

MSCI All Country World

0.26%

3.41%

16.00%

6.03%

S&P 500

0.22%

4.06%

18.26%

14.28%

Russell 2000

1.42%

4.90%

20.19%

5.80%

MSCI EAFE

0.29%

2.74%

13.00%

-2.54%

MSCI Emerging Markets

0.47%

2.47%

12.63%

-2.50%

FTSE NAREIT

1.33%

1.23%

17.76%

19.96%

Bloomberg Commodity

-1.10%

-1.31%

4.93%

-8.94%

Barclays Aggregate

-0.06%

-0.04%

2.90%

5.33%

WSJ 4/18/2019, 4/18/2019, 4/18/2019, 4/26/2019 Bloomberg 4/25/2019: Data from Morningstar Direct. Returns for periods greater than one year are annualized. Investment advisory, named and independent fiduciary services are offered through Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC does not express an investment opinion regarding any specific commodity, sector or individual security. Unless otherwise expressly noted, the contents of this communication do not constitute securities or investment advice, nor should this communication be construed as an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment. Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC is a single-member, limited-liability company, with Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. as its single member. Neither Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC nor their affiliates provide accounting, legal or tax advice. The information provided cannot take into account all the various factors that may affect your particular situation, therefore you should consult your Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors consultant before acting upon any information or recommendation contained herein to discuss the suitability of the information/recommendation for your specific situation.