The Major Markets
After breaking the string of recent losses last week, all the major markets closed significantly higher with the NASDAQ leading the way, followed closely by the MSCI Emerging Market Index.
The significant gains in the NASADAQ were largely the result of the index’s concentration in tech which saw significant strength in the Technology and Biotech sectors.
Monday started off the week in a sideways range that ended on the lows of the day. Tuesday the market opened higher are climbed steadily higher locking in most of the gain on the week. Wednesday further added to the gain at the open and then began the sideways trading range that we remained in throughout Thursday. Finally, Friday was able to break through the prior two days’ trading range to close at the highs of the week and less than a point away from 2100.
The gains this week were not limited to the US as all the MSCI Developed Countries showed gains on the week. We are now less than a month away from the Brexit vote on June 23rd and it remains uncertain if the country will remain in the European Union. As a result, this has been a constant issue in the background for many of these countries this year.
Turning our attention back home, there were a number of economic reports this past week which kept the possibility of a June increase in the Federal Funds Rate alive.
The New Home Sales were released Tuesday showing that nationwide sales rose 16.5% month over month. The 619k new home sold nationwide significantly beat expectations of around 523k. This is the highest reading since January 2008.
The largest percentage increase month over month was in the Northeast where home sales unexpectedly shot up 53% as 55 thousand new home were sold in April compared to the 36 thousand in March.
The FHFA House Price Index hit an all-time new high as it increased 0.7% month over month. The 6.1% year over year increase is the highest year over year reading since September of last year. These reports combined with last week’s housing data continues to show steady growth in the housing market.
The biggest report of the week was the 2nd estimate of 1st Quarter GDP. However, in the end this report had little impact by the end of the week. The terrible half percent initial reading was revised upward to .8%, not quite meeting the 1% expectations of many economists. This report was buoyed by an increase in Personal as well as Government Consumption Expeditioners and little else.
It’s Memorial Day Weekend. For many it marks the beginning of summer. But like many of our holidays these days, this weekend has greater significance that sadly all-to-often gets forgotten. Memorial Day is a day to honor those that made the greatest sacrifice for our country.
The tradition of honoring fallen soldiers on a set aside date began at the end of the Civil War. Over 600,000 soldiers had died in this war and people in every community in every state mourned their loss. Each community set aside a date to place flags and flowers on the graves of those soldiers that died fighting for their country.
But Waterloo, New York is officially credited with starting the holiday when on May 5th, 1866, 150 years ago this year, the entire town closed shop so that everyone could take time to honor those that died.
General John A Logan, the leader of union veteran association, spearheaded the move to organize these individual events to one national day of observation on May 30th. This first national Decoration Day was in 1868. Since then, this day has been expanded to honor all American soldiers who died in battle and was eventually renamed to Memorial Day.
And in 1971, Congress made it a national holiday and moved this date from May 30th to the 4th Monday in May, creating the three-day weekend that we now know.
We want to thank every soldier or family that has lost a loved one while protecting our country. Thank you for your sacrifice in preserving our freedom for the future.