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Earnings reports for the first quarter drew immediate reactions from investors last week.



Weekly Market Overview | April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019
By Peter Sorrentino, Chief Investment Officer

Earnings reports for the first quarter drew immediate reactions from investors last week. Industrials delivered the strongest move, up 2.7%, led higher by industrial automation providers and railroads. Financials were right behind, up 2.6%, thanks to upside moves for money centers and regional banks on improved loan growth. An upward spike for major cellphone players brought the Technology sector in at third place for the week, with a 2% gain. Health Care names continued to suffer last week, particularly hard hit were the shares of the health insurers; the group declined another 5.2%. The broad market, once again, looked quiet on the surface as the S&P® 500 added just 0.6%, followed by the Mid-Cap S&P 400® Index, up 0.1%. The Russell 2000® Index and the S&P 600® Small-Cap Index lost 0.85% and 0.3%, respectively. This is notable in that market leadership has been narrowing in very linear fashion since the end of February. Technicians refer to this narrowing as a pendent pattern that typically culminates with a directional break. Think of a market as a compressed spring – the greater the compression, the more dramatic the release. International markets continued to inch higher with the MSCI EAFE® Index up 0.27% and the MSCI Emerging Market Index up 0.32%. Commodity prices were generally positive, as crude oil advanced slightly, up 0.66%. Industrial metals, copper and iron ore, continued to benefit from the recently reported pickup in Chinese export activity. Agricultural product prices were mixed, with grains slipping just over 1%, while livestock prices added another 2% as the African Swine Flu outbreak in China increases its import demand for protein.

This week, Comerica’s Investment Policy Committee (IPC) reviewed the economic and financial market outlook. Our Chief Economist, Dr. Dye, indicated that the prevailing fundamentals of the U.S. economy have strengthened sufficiently for him to inch back the likelihood of a recession over the next thirty-six months. The financial markets have responded to the dovish policy pivot by the Federal Reserve Bank, bringing interest rates down. This served to lessen the pressure on equity valuations, thus, reinforcing the momentum bias experienced in the U.S. stock market during the last two years. In view of this development, the IPC decided to hold the current asset allocation in place. At present, our recommended asset weighting relative to the benchmark gives a slight bias to value over growth, large capitalization over small capitalization and domestic over international. As discussed previously, we have reduced the duration and credit exposure within our fixed income portfolios in anticipation of gradually rising interest rates and widening credit spreads.

For a PDF version of this publication, click here: 04.22.2019_WeeklyMarketOverview

 

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