The Markets (as of market close March 24, 2017)

Uncertainty over whether Congress would pass a new health-care law, coupled with the prospects of additional interest rate hikes later in the year, may have weighed on investors’ minds as stocks tumbled early last week. BWFA will look closely at these movements in the markets and have an opportunistic view when possible.

As was widely reported late last Friday, the proposed American Health Care Act was pulled from consideration for lack of support, leaving the current Affordable Care Act in place for the foreseeable future. What impact, if any, this action will have on upcoming trading remains to be seen. Investors are likely to be watching the last GDP report of the fourth quarter to get a better fix on the economy.  From recent comments from Janet Yellen, the economy seems to indicate strength and according to her, can withstand multiple stress points.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • At first blush, it appears that orders for manufactured durable goods have been strong in both January and February. However, a closer look at the latest Census Bureau report reveals that durable goods orders for core products have been slow
  • A dwindling supply of affordable housing has stunted the sales pace of existing homes in February.
  • Unlike existing home sales, new home sales surged in February.
  • In the week ended March 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims increased slightly from the previous week’s revised level. Overall employment has been on the rise.

BWFA Eye on the Week Ahead and Beyond

The final report on the fourth-quarter GDP is released this week. The prior reading showed the rate of economic growth to be 1.9%. This week’s final returns are expected to show little change.

Current anticipation of continued solid U.S. economic reports could likely cause the Fed to continue on the path of raising interest rates.  This ought to bode well for the financial and banking companies, where we continue to invest.  Should Washington gridlock provide market jitters we will remain fully invested while focusing some on “defensive” sectors and companies, where appropriate. 

As always, we want to stay focused on the long term and tailor each investment portfolio to a client’s BWFA investment model, guided by their personal financial plan.

Have a great week!