Sources: Sources for data in tables: Equity Market and Fixed Income returns are from JP Morngan as of 01/25/19. Rates and Economic Calendar Data from Bloomberg as of 01/29/19. International developed markets measured by the MSCI EAFE Index, emerging markets measured by the MSCI EM Index. Sector performance is measured using GICS methodology.
The 2019 equities market rally cooled off a bit last week. In the U.S., major averages were mixed as the S&P 500 Index lost 0.21% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ Composite gained only 0.12% and 0.11% respectively. International equities fared better than their U.S. counterparts as international developed markets rose 0.48% and international emerging markets rose 1.42% as measured by the MSCI EAFE and MSCI EM indexes.
Markets were closed on Monday, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, before opening in the red on Tuesday. Despite the divergence in downward revised global growth forecasts from the IMF and the stock market upward movement referenced in last week’s update, it appears that a renewed global growth concern is what led markets lower last Tuesday. The focus this time was on China’s economy growing at the slowest quarterly pace since 2009. Volatility persisted throughout the week before clawing back on Friday amid strong earnings reports.
This week is full of economic and earnings updates. 126 companies are set to report fourth quarter 2018 earnings and they are not off to a strong start. Stocks were down significantly on Monday led by economically-sensitive companies such as Caterpillar Inc. which reported disappointing results and provided weak forward guidance. This is leading some to question if earnings expectations are still too high with the outlook of slowing global growth. Sentiment could certainly change as we look forward to hearing from a slew of other companies ahead including Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft to name a few. In addition, according to FactSet as of January 18, 2019, with 11% of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported results for the 4th quarter of 2018, 76% of these companies have reported a positive EPS surprise and 56% have reported a positive revenue surprise.
On the economic front, the calendar is also full. The Federal Reserve kicks off their January meeting on Tuesday and it is highly anticipated that there won’t be any movement in the target fed funds rate. Instead, market participants will be focused on the forward guidance and language used by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell with respect to interest rate hikes and balance sheet unwinding. Will any language be further softened as the dovish tone continues from the last meeting? If so, this could be favorable for the equity markets. We’ll also receive updates on jobs, consumer spending and sentiment, inflation, and potentially GDP if there are no delays in reporting stemming from the recent government shutdown. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that a trade delegation from China will meet with U.S. officials starting on Wednesday. Proposals have been made regarding the Chinese purchasing American goods in an attempt to narrow the deficit. However, key issues regarding intellectual property and the enforcement of any deal made will still be a priority.
Asset allocation, diversification, and adherence to a longer term, customized financial plan will be critical in the months and years ahead. We encourage investors to stay disciplined and work with experienced financial professionals to help manage their portfolios through various market cycles within an appropriately diversified framework that is consistent with their objectives, time-frame and tolerance for risk.
Important Information and Disclaimers
Disclosures: Hennion & Walsh is the sponsor of SmartTrust® Unit Investment Trusts (UITs). For more information on SmartTrust® UITs, please visit www.smarttrustuit.com. The overview above is for informational purposes and is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any SmartTrust® UITs. Investors should consider the Trust’s investment objective, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information relevant to an investment in the Trust and investors should read the prospectus carefully before they invest.
Investing in foreign securities presents certain risks not associated with domestic investments, such as currency fluctuation, political and economic instability, and different accounting standards. This may result in greater share price volatility. These risks are heightened in emerging markets.
There are special risks associated with an investment in real estate, including credit risk, interest rate fluctuations and the impact of varied economic conditions. Distributions from REIT investments are taxed at the owner’s tax bracket.
The prices of small company and mid cap stocks are generally more volatile than large company stocks. They often involve higher risks because smaller companies may lack the management expertise, financial resources, product diversification and competitive strengths to endure adverse economic conditions.
Investing in commodities is not suitable for all investors. Exposure to the commodities markets may subject an investment to greater share price volatility than an investment in traditional equity or debt securities. Investments in commodities may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity.
Products that invest in commodities may employ more complex strategies which may expose investors to additional risks.
Investing in fixed income securities involves certain risks such as market risk if sold prior to maturity and credit risk especially if investing in high yield bonds, which have lower ratings and are subject to greater volatility. All fixed income investments may be worth less than original cost upon redemption or maturity. Bond Prices fluctuate inversely to changes in interest rates. Therefore, a general rise in interest rates can result in the decline of the value of your investment.
MSCI- EAFE: The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australasia and Far East Index, a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure developed-market equity performance, excluding the United States and Canada.
MSCI-Emerging Markets: The Morgan Stanley Capital International Emerging Market Index, is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the performance of global emerging markets of about 25 emerging economies.
Russell 3000: The Russell 3000 measures the performance of the 3000 largest US companies based on total market capitalization and represents about 98% of the investible US Equity market.
ML BOFA US Corp Mstr [Merill Lynch US Corporate Master]: The Merrill Lynch Corporate Master Market Index is a statistical composite tracking the performance of the entire US corporate bond market over time.
ML Muni Master [Merill Lynch US Corporate Master]: The Merrill Lynch Municipal Bond Master Index is a broad measure of the municipal fixed income market.
Investors cannot directly purchase any index.
LIBOR, London Interbank Offered Rate, is the rate of interest at which banks offer to lend money to one another in the wholesale money markets in London.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unweighted index of 30 “blue-chip” industrial U.S. stocks.
The S&P Midcap 400 Index is a capitalization-weighted index measuring the performance of the mid-range sector of the U.S. stock market, and represents approximately 7% of the total market value of U.S. equities. Companies in the Index fall between S&P 500 Index and the S&P SmallCap 600 Index in size: between $1-4 billion.
DJ Equity REIT Index represents all publicly traded real estate investment trusts in the Dow Jones U.S. stock universe classified as Equity REITs according to the S&P Dow Jones Indices REIT Industry Classification Hierarchy. These companies are REITs that primarily own and operate income-producing real estate.