Weekly Investment Update

Last Thursday the Conference Board released their monthly composite of leading economic indicators (“LEIs”). The composite tracks a wide range of economic activity including manufacturing, employment, housing, stock prices, credit conditions, interest rates, and consumer expectations. The measure increased again in February, implying that economic growth remains on track and should continue for at least much of 2021, absent any exogenous event like the global pandemic of 2020. The pace of improvement in the LEI composite did slow modestly in February, likely held back by rising interest rates which may have slowed housing activity and held back stock prices during the month.

Conference Board Series of Leading (Blue) and Coincident (Red) Economic Indicators

Line graph depicting the Conference Board Series of Leading Economic Indicators (blue line) and Coincident Economic Indicators (red line)

Source: Conference Board

Key Economic Releases This Week

Day Report Period Consensus Est. Previous
Tues., March 23 New Home Sales (annual rate) February 879,000 923,000
Wed., March 24 Durable Goods Orders (monthly rate) February 0.6% 3.4%
Wed., March 24 Markit Manufacturing PMI (preliminary) March 59.8 58.6
Wed., March 24 Markit Services PMI (preliminary) March 60.1 59.8
Thurs., March 25 Continuing Unemployment Claims Week of 3/13/21 4.0 million 4.1 million
Source: Bloomberg

Asset Class Returns

Category Representative Index YTD 2021 Full Year 2020
Global Equity MSCI All-Country World 4.2% 16.3%
US Large Cap Equity  S&P 500  4.6% 18.4%
US Small Cap Equity  Russell 2000 16.0% 20.0%
Foreign Developed Equity MSCI EAFE 4.3% 7.8%
Emerging Market Equity MSCI Emerging Markets 3.8% 18.3%
US High Yield Fixed Income ICE BofAML High Yield Bond -0.1% 6.2%
US Fixed Income Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond -3.6% 7.5%
Cash Equivalents ICE BofAML 0-3 Mo Deposit 0.0% 0.5%
Source: Morningstar as of March 19, 2021

Prices & Interest Rates

Representative Index Current Year-End 2020
S&P 500 3,913 3,749
Dow Jones Industrial Avg. 32,808 30,497
NASDAQ 12,809 12,886
Crude Oil (US WTI) $61.42 $48.52
Gold $1,741 $1,893
US Dollar 91.92 89.94
2 Year Treasury 0.16% 0.13%
10 Year Treasury 1.74% 0.93%
30 Year Treasury 2.45% 1.65%
Source: Bloomberg, US Treasury as of March 19, 2021

Past performance may not be representative of future results.  All investments are subject to loss.  Forecasts regarding the market or economy are subject to a wide range of possible outcomes.  The views presented in this market update may prove to be inaccurate for a variety of factors.  These views are as of the date listed above and are subject to change based on changes in fundamental economic or market-related data.  Please contact your Financial Advisor in order to complete an updated risk assessment to ensure that your investment allocation is appropriate.   

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