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Market Commentary: Retail Sales Jump as States Loosen Restrictions

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Retail Sales Jump as States Loosen Restrictions

Retail sales and food services jumped 17.7% in May, beating estimates of 8% growth. The strong rebound follows sharp declines the previous month created by social distancing. Even with the increase, sales are still 6.1% below where they were one year ago.

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Market Commentary: Fed Committed to Near-Zero Rates, S&P Dips

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Fed Committed to Near-Zero Rates, S&P Dips

The S&P 500 dropped 4.7% last week on concerns the uptick in new coronavirus cases would persist and slow the economic rally. The surprising job growth reported two weeks ago suggested the economy was rallying more quickly than expected and boosted investor optimism. But the recent uptick in cases and hospitalizations in some states caused investors to ratchet back their expectations for how fast the economy will recover.

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Market Commentary: Record Month of New Jobs, S&P 500 Continues Rise

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Record Month of New Jobs, S&P 500 Continues Rise

The jobs market rallied back far sooner and stronger than expected. The U.S. economy created 2.5 million new jobs in May. Economists had projected a loss of 7 million jobs, so the surprise was massive. The gains are mainly attributable to workers who were temporarily laid off being called back to work as lockdowns ended or were relaxed.

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Market Commentary: S&P Climbs Despite Record Decline in Consumer Spending

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: S&P Climbs Despite Record Decline in Consumer Spending

Coronavirus actions and reactions continued to swing economic data in the U.S. Consumer spending dropped 13.6% in April. It was the sharpest decline on record dating back to 1959. Income moved in the other direction last month.

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Market Commentary: Economy Slightly Improves as Restrictions Loosen

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Economy Slightly Improves as Restrictions Loosen

Another 2.4 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week. The number has declined for seven straight weeks. Unfortunately, 2.4 million is more than three times higher than the pre-COVID-19 record, and the pace of decline remains slow. Because the number remains stubbornly high, optimism for a sharp economic recovery is dropping.

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Market Commentary: Coronavirus Takes Toll on Retail, Manufacturing

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Coronavirus Takes Toll on Retail, Manufacturing

The global economy continues to slow rapidly, based on key data released last week. In the U.S., retail sales dropped 16.4% from March to April. Individuals cut back on purchases due to risks from the coronavirus, lockdowns, and declining income from job losses. The drop increases to 21.6% when compared to one year ago. Industrial production showed similar weakness, falling 13.7%. 

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Market Commentary: Only Half of U.S. Population is Classified as Employed

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Only Half of U.S. Population is Classified as Employed

The U.S. jobs report confirmed what was already known: millions of Americans are losing their jobs. The monthly payrolls report estimated a decline of 20.5 million jobs last month. The unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, which is estimated to be the highest since the Great Depression. A broad measure of employment estimates 51.3% of Americans have a job.

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Market Commentary: Drop in GDP Expected to Continue

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Drop in GDP Expected to Continue

Economic news indicated the economic damage from COVID-19 continues to grow. U.S. gross domestic product shrank 4.8% in the face of the coronavirus and social distancing designed to combat its spread. Next quarter, expectations are for a nearly 30% decline. Initial unemployment claims fell to 3.8 million. The number of claims remains high, and the six-week total is more than 30 million.

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Market Commentary: U.S. and Foreign Leaders Moving to Open More Businesses

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: U.S. and Foreign Leaders Moving to Open More Businesses

Leaders around the world announced steps to open up their economies by gradually reducing social distancing as the global economy continued to struggle. In the U.S., more than four million people filed initial claims for unemployment.

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Market Commentary: Investors Optimistic Over Slowing COVID-19 Cases

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Investors Optimistic Over Slowing COVID-19 Cases

Similarly to last week, investors had to weigh progress fighting COVID-19 and what that means for the future against the economic toll the virus and policies designed to slow it are having on the economy.

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