Markets Advance on Strong Earnings and Geopolitical Updates
Sources: Sources for data in tables: Equity Market and Fixed Income returns are from JP Morgan as of 10/25/19. Rates and Economic Calendar Data from Bloomberg as of 10/25/19. International developed markets measured by the MSCI EAFE Index, emerging markets measured by the MSCI EM Index. Sector performance is measured using GICS methodology.
Markets finished higher for the week driven by strong third quarter earnings thus far as well as optimism surrounding U.S. – China trade. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index rose to a level of 3032, representing a gain of 1.23%. The index hit an all-time high mid-week and continues to push higher to kick off this week. The Russell Midcap Index advanced 1.13% while the Russell 2000 Index, a measure of the Nation’s smallest publicly traded firms, gained 1.53%. On the international equities front, developed and emerging markets returned 1.27% and 1.17% respectively. In fixed income, the 10 year U.S. Treasury yield increased to 1.80%.
Investors will be focused on earnings and the Federal Reserve (“Fed”) in the week ahead. Earnings to date offered treats vs. tricks and we hope the trend continues through Halloween. According to FactSet as of October 25th, 40% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported results. Of those, 80% have reported a positive earnings per share (“EPS”) surprise and 64% have reported a positive revenue surprise. Results within sectors have been a bit mixed, however, as a whole, Consumer Staples, Communication Services, and Information Technology have reported the highest percentage of earnings beats. On the flip side, Energy, Industrials, and Real Estate have the lowest percentage of positive earnings surprises, although all still above 55%. This isn’t too surprising, particularly within Industrials as several companies may have been impacted by, and have provided tepid forward guidance on, trade and tariff uncertainty.
As previously mentioned, investors will be eyeing the Fed this week with the expectation that they once again cut the Federal Funds target rate by 25 basis points, which will leave the rate in a range of 1.50% – 1.75%. According to the CME group, the market is currently pricing in a 95% probability of a rate cut. We’ve stated many times that we don’t believe further rate reductions are warranted, regardless, an accommodative Federal Reserve, a President who appears increasingly motivated to work with China on the next phases of a trade deal, and eased tensions regarding Brexit with an extension on the way may lead to further market gains.
With that said, we caution investors not to get complacent as the days of heightened volatility are not behind us. It remains increasingly important for investors to stay disciplined and focused on their longer-term goals, which is why we encourage investors to work with experienced financial professionals to help manage their portfolio through various market cycles within a well-diversified framework that is consistent with their objectives, time-frame, and tolerance for risk.
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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.
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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.
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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.