This Weekly Market Update reviews the top market headlines: Retail Sales Post Third Straight Monthly Rise, Leading Economic Indicators Point Towards More Growth, Stock Buyback Plans on a Record Pace

Top Three Market Headlines

Retail Sales Post Third Straight Monthly Rise: The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that sales at retail and food service establishments advanced 1.7% in October from the prior month, the third straight monthly increase and the strongest gain since March 2021. Compared to the prior year, sales jumped 16.3%. On-line retailers observed the greatest increase in October, followed closely by gasoline stations and electronics and appliance stores. While on-going supply chain pressures have fueled concerns that consumer spending could be hindered in the latter months of the year, October's report evidenced continued strong demand for goods and services.

Leading Economic Indicators Point Towards More Growth: The Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. continued rising in October, gaining 0.9% over September's level, the fastest pace in three months. The LEI, published monthly by The Conference Board, is intended to signal shifts in the business cycle based on readings of various economic and financial indicators. Gains were widespread among the indicators measured, with only two of the ten components―the average workweek and consumer expectations―detracting from the overall gain. Based on recent trends in the LEI, The Conference Board forecasts U.S. economic growth remaining strong in the fourth quarter before leveling out in 2022.

Stock Buyback Plans on a Record Pace: Since the start of January, U.S. corporations have announced plans to spend $1.06 trillion repurchasing their own stock, on pace to eclipse 2018's record announcement of $1.11 trillion, according to data from Birinyi Associates and Bloomberg. The surge in buyback plans has occurred as businesses look to put record levels of cash to use. Share repurchases can play a key role in supporting stock prices, and strategists at Goldman Sachs expect corporations to be the largest source of U.S. equity demand in 2022.

As of November 22, 2021 Week Quarter-To-Date Year-To-Date One-Year
MSCI All Country World -0.23% 6.55% 18.39% 25.55%
S&P 500 0.36% 9.27% 26.67% 33.06%
Russell 2000 -2.83% 6.42% 19.63% 32.63%
MSCI EAFE -0.78% 2.97% 11.56% 18.37%
MSCI Emerging Markets -1.25% 1.39% 0.12% 7.91%
FTSE NAREIT 0.26% 9.81% 35.22% 37.71%
Bloomberg Commodity -0.47% 1.55% 31.13% 39.20%
Barclays U.S. Aggregate 0.09% -0.05% -1.60% -1.27%

U.S. Census Bureau 11/16/21, Trading Economics 11/16/21, The Confidence Board 11/18/2021, Bloomberg 11/16/2021. 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.