Economic data

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Stocks Make a New High

By David O'Malley | September 18, 2017

The S&P 500 closed above the 2,500 mark for the first time on Friday. The markets ended a strong week of gains driven by continued favorable conditions for economic growth and the prospects for potentially bipartisan action coming out of Washington.

I’m not an Economist, But…

By Scott Ellis | September 14, 2017

I am certainly not an economist, but when a Barron’s article early in September highlighted an obscure but potentially troubling economic data point, I had to find out more. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia produces monthly coincident indexes for each of the 50 U.S. states. These monthly indexes describe recent trends and are further combined into a diffusion index value. More specifically, these indexes focus on four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions. The variables in this coincident index include nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing by production workers, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average) – per the Philadelphia Fed’s website.

Unexpectedly Weak Employment Report

By David O'Malley | September 5, 2017

The nuclear test by North Korea has brought geopolitical uncertainty to a new level. As I have previously written, it is very hard to trade geopolitical risk so I prefer to stay focused on fundamentals.

Last week’s August employment report was weaker than expectations on almost all aspects. The report comes after stronger employment data earlier in the week. The ramifications of the weaker report bring the odds of a December interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve (Fed) to less than 50/50. The weaker average hourly earnings and sluggish inflation data may keep the Fed on hold until after the holiday spending season.

Uneventful Jackson Hole Meeting Leaves Markets Waiting on Economic Data

By David O'Malley | August 28, 2017

I first want to send my thoughts and well wishes to everyone enduring the impact of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Last week’s Jackson Hole Meeting was very uneventful from a market perspective as central banks kept their remarks very much in line with recent commentary. Janet Yellen’s speech felt more like a farewell address than laying out future Federal Reserve (Fed) policy.

Will Falling Unemployment Finally Lead to a Pickup in Wages?

By David O'Malley | July 31, 2017

Last week saw strong corporate earnings and continued growth in the U.S. economy. U.S. GDP for the second quarter was 2.6% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advanced estimate. The strength in the economy was driven by robust business investments for the quarter. Further, the failure of the Republican plan to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act drove headlines last week.

Earnings Heat Up This Week

By David O'Malley | July 17, 2017

Second quarter earnings will receive significant attention this week, as stocks pushed to new highs on the S&P 500 Index last week. Expectations for solid earnings reports have been growing over the past few weeks and are necessary to keep stocks grinding higher.

Waiting for the Healthcare Vote

By David O'Malley | June 26, 2017

The week ahead has limited economic data. Durable goods were down 1.1% for May and likely fell on weaker demand for airplanes. Personal Income will be reported on Friday, and I expect it will likely remain solid, as there is not much employment slack left in the economy.

S&P 500 Fails to Break 2400 – For Now

By David O'Malley | May 15, 2017

The S&P 500 failed to break the 2400 level last week but did set an all-time closing high of 2399.63 on Wednesday, May 10. The market continues to drive higher, led by technology stocks and decent first quarter earnings. I expect stocks to continue to grind higher for the next several weeks.

The First Week of the Second Quarter Expected to be Busy

By David O'Malley | April 3, 2017

Markets traded mostly sideways last week to end an eventful first quarter. Stocks posted solid quarterly gains and fixed income assets traded mostly sideways. The second quarter gets off to a busy start this week. Some key market moving items to watch include President Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where they are slated to discuss trade and North Korea, both big topics to watch.

Fed Takes a Dovish Tone While Raising Rates

By David O'Malley | March 20, 2017

As expected, the Federal Reserve (Fed) raised the Federal Funds rate by 25 basis points (bps) last week. The increase came with a dovish tone regarding the pace of future increases, and sent risk markets soaring and treasury yields lower following the announcement.



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This blog post is for informational use only. The views expressed are those of the author, Dave O’Malley, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Penn Mutual Asset Management. This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and it is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy.

Any statements about financial and company performance of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company or its insurance subsidiaries (each, “Client”) made by the author is provided with a written consent from the Client.  Penn Mutual Asset Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

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