Intensifying hostilities in Ukraine continued to unsettle markets, as investors grappled with the war’s impact on the global economies.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 2.88%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.99%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 3.53% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 0.90%.1,2,3
Markets Remain Stressed
Markets gyrated last week as Russia escalated its attacks on Ukraine, the U.S. banned imports of Russian oil, and more companies announced the suspension of business in Russia. Eastern Europe has added complexity to the Fed’s plans for raising interest rates to manage accelerating inflation, which has been exacerbated by a sharp rise in energy and other commodity prices.
The stock market saw brief moments of respite. Stocks rallied Tuesday on a news report that Ukraine would promise not to pursue NATO membership, but lost momentum before the close. Stocks rallied on Wednesday as oil prices tumbled, but were unable to follow-through on Thursday and then faded further into Friday’s close.
A Four-Decade High
Consumer prices rose 0.8% in February as energy and commodity prices pushed higher. This latest monthly report showed a year-over-year inflation rate of 7.9%, the highest level since January 1982. Excluding the more volatile food and energy prices, the 12-month increase was 6.4%, a slight bump from last month’s 6.0% year-over-year increase.4
Many economists hoped that inflation pressures would ease, but February’s inflation number suggested that the impact of sanctions and supply-chain disruptions due to the invasion of Ukraine may likely feed further price increases for the foreseeable future.
A likely recession in Europe (thanks Putin) is one consideration that is leading Fed Chair Jerome Powell to favor moving slowly on raising US interest rates. The Fed does not want to spur an inversion of the yield curve between 2-year and 10-year bonds. But the way things look this morning, that may be in the cards regardless. The 10-year, which has at last broached 2% for the first time since the mid-summer 2019, is at 2.115% while the 2-year is 1.822% (12:46 pm Monday). An inversion of the yield curve often — though not every time — indicates a recession on the horizon.
For the first time in my memory, Latin America is simultaneously benefitting from relative stability due to the Ukraine crisis and relatively favorable stock valuations due to high asset prices in Asia. For now, Latin America seems to be the place to invest, but most ETFs investing in the region focus on specific countries, which I am not qualified to evaluate, but one star performer has been the iShares Latin America 40 ETF (ticker ILF) which invests mostly in Brazil, Mexico, and Chile, 5% in Peru, and even less in the other countries of the region. As of Friday, ILF was up 15.52% YTD.
This Week: Key Economic Data
Tuesday: Producer Price Index.
Wednesday: Retail Sales. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Announcement.
Thursday: Housing Starts. Jobless Claims. Industrial Production.
Friday: Existing Home Sales. Index of Leading Economic Indicators.
Source: Econoday, March 11, 2022
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Monday: Coupa Software, Inc. (COUP).
Thursday: FedEx Corporation (FDX), Dollar General Corporation (DG).
Source: Zacks, March 11, 2022
"The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience."
– Leo Tolstoy
How Do You Repay Deferred Taxes?
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, some self-employed individuals were able to defer paying certain Social Security taxes in 2020 over the next two years. But, how do you repay these deferred taxes?
You can select the reason for the payment when you view your balance due using Direct Pay. If you are using a card, you can select “installment agreement.”
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific, individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov5
How to Test Your Vision at Home
You don’t have to go to the eye doctor to check your vision. In fact, you can do it right from home! Simply download a vision chart, like the one found on Vision Source’s website, and print it on a regular piece of paper. Hang it on the wall and measure 10 feet from the wall. Mark this spot because this is going to be your standing distance.
Then, cover one eye at a time to see how many letters you can read as they get smaller. Have someone keep track of your score and write down the smallest line where you were able to identify the majority of the letters. Each row is labeled with the vision it corresponds with (20/20, 20/30, etc.).
Tip adapted from Vision Source6
You are at sea, it is mid-July, and your ship has reached a unique spot on earth. If you sail north, it will be summer; if you sail south, it will be winter. If you sail east, it will be Friday, but if you sail west, it will be Saturday. Precisely where in the world are you? (Hint: your ship is in the Pacific Ocean, near the island nation of Kiribati.)
Last week’s riddle: There is a word (four letters long) that begins with the letter I. If you put the letter A at the front of this four-letter word, it becomes a five-letter word which is pronounced exactly the same. Name both words. Answer: Isle and Aisle.
Lake Como, Italy.
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2022
3. The Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2022
4. The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2022
5. IRS.gov, July 6, 2021
6. VisionSource.com, September 30, 2021
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Weekly Market Insights: Ukrainian War Impacts Global Economy
March 14, 2022