Financial Planning and Advice Blog for Syracuse
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Back to School
By highpointadvisors September 7, 2018 No Comments
Dear Valued Investor: It’s back to school for students all across the country, and whether it’s the first week in kindergarten, high school, or college, parents and students alike are excited yet probably nervous at the same time. What will the new school year bring—and can it live up to our hopeful expectations? This is likely how many investors may feel about the markets right now, with reasons for excitement and some causes for concern. Overall, when it comes to market fundamentals, the positives may outweigh the negatives—and hopefully the same will be the case for the 2018–19 school year. Strength in several economic and market indicators is driving optimism among consumers and businesses. The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index has soared to a 14-year high, while the job market also continues to show robust growth. As we await the figures for August, the economy has produced an average of 215,000 new jobs during the first seven months of the year. These positive economic indicators cement expectations of an additional interest rate increase at the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) September meeting; given the Fed’s gradual and transparent rate hike campaign, however, investors in U.S. markets have thus far taken these increases in stride. Along with a steady economy, corporate America continues to deliver solid performances, as second quarter earnings season delivered very strong profit growth. Meanwhile, generally upbeat forward-looking guidance, along with high business and consumer confidence, helps support the outlook for earnings over the balance of the year and into 2019. With this backdrop, the now longest bull market in history may have further to go. Although stocks have been performing well, there are some areas of concern. September is historically the weakest month of the year for stocks. There are also some trouble spots in emerging markets, including Turkey and Argentina, which have led to year-to-date losses in emerging market investment strategies. Policy risk remains in the background with the ongoing trade tensions and the upcoming midterm elections. These factors may lead to a pickup in near-term market volatility, but stocks still have the potential to push higher from current levels over the rest of the year. The longest bull market, and one of the longest economic expansions, means investors may worry that the good times will soon come to an end. But it appears that both the bull market and expansion have room to run. The U.S. economy is enjoying solid momentum, bolstered by the new tax law; business spending is picking up; the manufacturing sector is healthy; and the latest earnings season was one of the strongest on record. So although there are areas to keep a close eye on, and the potential for some ups and downs in the market, we can retain a positive outlook for the final months of 2018. Let’s hope that students, teachers, and parents can also put their worries aside and enjoy their return to another school year. As always, if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us! Sincerely, The HighPoint Advisors Team Important Information The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual security. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments. Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC. ...
LPL Research Midyear Outlook 2018: The Plot Thickens
By highpointadvisors July 20, 2018 No Comments
Dear Valued Investor: We are pleased to announce the release of the LPL Research Midyear Outlook 2018: The Plot Thickens, with investment insights and market guidance to take you through the rest of the year. So far this year, the return of the business cycle has brought the fiscal policy changes that were expected to propel economic activity and the financial markets higher in 2018. Policy remains a key theme to watch. Tax cuts, a more business-friendly regulatory environment, and increased government spending should support consumer spending, business investment, and corporate profits — key drivers of our economic and stock forecasts. The biggest risk to investor confidence this year has been around trade, including new tariffs. When we compare the fiscal measures with the potential impact of increased tariffs, however, the benefits appear to outweigh the costs. With these factors in mind, we maintain that policy changes should have a positive influence on the economy and markets. Another theme that may garner more attention this year is that certain economic and market indicators may have peaked, and that we may have seen the best out of this expansion. However, the context is critically important here. Reaching these points with a strong economic backdrop is expected and indicates the potential for continued growth; in addition, historically, we’ve seen an average of four more years of stock gains after triggering these market signals. So, although we are in the later stages of the economic cycle, we don’t believe a recession is looming. Against this backdrop, we maintain the forecasts we set forth at the beginning of 2018, following the passage of the new tax law. We expect up to 3% gross domestic product growth for the U.S. economy, with tax cuts, government spending, and deregulation measures providing support. As expected, accelerating economic growth and rising interest rates continue to pressure bonds. We maintain our forecast of flat to low-single-digit returns for bonds (as measured by the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index), but believe high-quality bonds may provide diversification benefits for investors’ portfolios. We expect strong earnings to remain the key driver of stock gains, thanks to the benefits of the new tax law. Given that we are in the later stages of this economic cycle, with factors such as increased trade tensions and geopolitical uncertainty at play, we do expect greater volatility may be ahead. But it’s important to remember that experiencing these ups and downs is a normal aspect of our market environment. Also, within the context of steady economic growth and strong corporate profits, we see the potential for stock gains of 10% or more (as measured by the S&P 500 Index). Overall, we expect to see continued economic and market growth in 2018 and beyond, and the LPL Research Midyear Outlook 2018 is here to provide insightful commentary to help you navigate the year ahead. If you have any questions, please reach out to your trusted financial advisor. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual security. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a nondiversified portfolio. Diversification does not ensure against market risk. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments. Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. The S&P 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is a broad-based flagship benchmark that measures the investment-grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixedrate taxable bond market. The index includes Treasuries, government-related and corporate securities, MBS (agency fixed-rate and hybrid ARM pass-throughs), ABS, and CMBS (agency and non-agency). Additional descriptions and disclosures are available in the Midyear Outlook 2018: The Plot Thickens publication. This research mat...