The S&P 500 index slipped 0.3% last week, marking its second weekly drop in a row, as investors traded cautiously at the start of the Q4 earnings reporting season.
The market benchmark ended the week at 4,662.85, down from last Friday's closing level of 4,677.03. The index is now down 2.2% for the year to date following a 27% jump in 2021.
The decline for 2022 thus far has come amid concerns about inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has been going on for two years, the US recently has been setting new record highs in daily case counts due to the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant. This has contributed to recent staffing and supply-chain issues.
As the Q4 earnings season begins, investors are looking to see how US companies coped with the inflation, staffing and supply-chain issues last quarter. They also will be paying close attention to the companies' outlooks.
I am paying attention so you don't have to (as much)
Recently someone asked me why I send out these updates. The main reason is that I want to to understand that I look at the markets nearly every day so that you don't have to. I suspect that we will have some big ups and downs this year, so it may be tempting to follow the daily gyrations of stocks. Please save yourself the heartache and don't do that.
I will let you know when we enter "correction" territory or when we get into a "bear market". Unless that happens you should not be reacting to market changes, but instead managing to your personal circumstances.
Most people have heard about the Federal Reserve, and if you are a regular reader of this blog you are no doubt a little tired of hearing about them. But I’ve found that few understand the many roles it plays in the overall economy over the years.
The Fed makes headlines every few weeks by updating investors on what’s going on with interest rates. Most recently, the Fed said it’s prepared to raise interest rates next year to help manage our economy.
But some parts of the Fed’s job can be a bit of a head-scratcher. For example, did you know the Fed also is responsible for overall employment?
Part of my job is keeping an eye on the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s Board of Governors has eight regularly scheduled meetings a year (others, as needed), and when the two-day event ends, the Fed Chair updates the country on the economy. In the weeks that follow, Fed governors often schedule speeches to help clarify the Fed’s position on interest rates, inflation, and employment.
So if the Fed creates a headline that you don’t understand, please give me a call. I’ll help you translate the “Fed speak.
This Week: Key Economic Data
Wednesday: US Housing Starts
Thursday: US Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance,
30-year Mortgage rate,
US Existing Home Sales
I hope you had an enjoyable MLK Day. Food for Thought, Tax Tip, Healthy Living Tip, Weekly Riddle, Photo of the Week will return next week.
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Weekly Market Update + Fed Speak
January 18, 2022