The Virus Becomes the Focus
WEEKLY UPDATE - March 2, 2020
The Week on Wall Street
Stocks fell sharply last week as Wall Street considered how the coronavirus outbreak might influence global business activity and household spending.
The selloff became a correction for the U.S. markets. The S&P 500 retreated 11.49%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 12.36%; the Nasdaq Composite, 10.54%. The MSCI EAFE, tracking developed stock markets outside North America, had fallen 6.75% week-over-week by Friday's closing bell.
On Friday afternoon, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that central bank officials were willing to "use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy."
Strong Consumer Confidence, Plus a Boost for Incomes
A trio of economic indicators pertaining to U.S. households looked solid last week. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index notched consecutive months above 130 for the first time since July-August 2019, posting a 130.7 February mark. The University of Michigan's final February Consumer Sentiment Index came in at 101.0, ticking up from a preliminary 100.9.
Friday, the Department of Commerce reported that Americans increased their personal spending by 0.2% in January, while personal incomes improved 0.6%.
Buyers Have Flocked to New Homes
New home sales, according to the Census Bureau, improved 7.9% in January; the annualized pace of new home buying was the best seen since July 2007. Year-over-year, sales were up 18.6%. Housing market analysts cited a favorable economy and favorable weather as factors.
Right now, there is no forecast for how the coronavirus outbreak may affect consumer demand or supply chains. The impact may not be known for months. But remember, your investment strategy should reflect your risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals, and it also should take into consideration periods of market volatility. Fear is driving decisions in the financial markets. Nobody would blame you if this uncertainty gave you a bit of anxiety as well. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to speak to an advisor about, please give us a call at (612) 492-0211 or schedule an advisor appointment online here.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Monday: The Institute for Supply Management's latest factory activity index arrives.
Wednesday: Automatic Data Processing (ADP) publishes its February private payrolls report, and ISM's index of February service-sector business activity appears.
Friday: The Department of Labor presents its February employment report.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: AutoZone (AZO), Ross Stores (ROST), Target (TGT)
Thursday: Costco (COST), Kroger (KR)
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