Weekly Commentary

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Monday, March 23, 2015

As expected, the Federal Reserve dropped the “patient” forward guidance language in its policy announcement. Noting that tightening remains unlikely at the April meeting, officials said they want to see further labor market improvement, and be “reasonably confident” of inflation moving toward its 2% target, before lift-off. The statement featured a downgrade of the Fed’s economic assessment.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A volatile week in the U.S. equity markets ended on the down side. The continued strength in the dollar had investors concerned about corporate earnings; the greenback finished at a 12-year high against the euro. Stocks saw greater success overseas: Europe posted a sixth consecutive positive week, while Japan’s Nikkei closed at its highest level in 15 years. Yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury closed near 2.10%, down from last week’s — and this year’s — peak around 2.24%.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed lower for the first week of March, breaking February’s run of gains. It was the steepest drop in two months for the S&P 500, as a robust nonfarm payrolls report increased the likelihood of a mid-2015 fed funds rate hike. European and Asian equities were mixed. The yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury climbed to 2.25% following the jobs report, its highest level since December. Oil and gold prices closed down for the week.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Though markets were mixed last week, the strong February rebound had major indexes well into positive territory for the year to date and many at or near all-time highs. The yield on the benchmark tenyear U.S. Treasury note fell slightly during the week, while bonds from a variety of European governments — including Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland — all touched new historical lows. Oil prices continued to be volatile.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Stock markets extended their gains into the third week of February. In the U.S., a holiday-shortened trading week produced solid progress for most equity indices; both the DJIA and S&P 500 established new records, while the Nasdaq closed just 1.9% short of its March 2000 peak. European and Asian bourses posted similar results to establish new multi-year highs. Yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury was volatile, but ultimately higher; it’s risen nearly 50 bps over the past three weeks. Oil prices remained under pressure and finished lower.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The February rebound in domestic equity markets continued, driving the S&P 500 a new all-time high and the DJIA above 18,000 for the first time in 2015. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks also established a new high-water mark, while the Nasdaq reached levels not seen since 2000. The Treasuries selloff persisted, with yield on the benchmark ten-year closing the week above 2%.

Monday, February 9, 2015

After an abysmal January, U.S. equity markets began February with a surge. Even after a Greek downgrade sparked a modest Friday selloff, both the S&P 500 and DJIA gained more than 3% during the week. A four-day Treasury selloff sent yield on the benchmark ten-year to 1.94%. Oil prices posted their biggest one-week gain since 2011, with the U.S. benchmark closing around $52/barrel.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Markets finished off a difficult month on a sour note, with each of the big-three indexes returning to their losing ways for the week. For January, the DJIA and S&P 500 each shed more than 4%, while the Nasdaq loss was closer to 3%; European equities, in contrast, delivered the best monthly performance in more than three years surging nearly 7%. Yield on the benchmark ten-year Treasury fell to as low as 1.65%, the lowest level since May 2013. Crude oil prices climbed after the number of U.S. rigs in operation were reported lower.

Monday, January 26, 2015

In a period dominated by news that the ECB was launching a larger-than-expected QE program in March, domestic equity markets delivered their first positive week of 2015 while many bourses in Europe and Asia were sharply higher. Oil continued to trend lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude prices closing at a six-year low.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The equity markets’ early-2015 struggles continued, as the big three indexes delivered a third consecutive week of losses despite an impressive Friday rally. Oil continued to trend lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude prices approaching lows not seen since the financial crisis, though a Friday report from the International Energy Agency reducing its non-OPEC supply forecast sparked a small rebound. Yield on the benchmark ten-year Treasury fell below 1.7% during the week, the lowest since May 2013, while 30-year yields established new record lows near 2.35%.

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