July 10, 2018

Weekly Market Commentary

July 9, 2018

The Markets

What a rollercoaster of a quarter!

When it comes to the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Sentiment Survey, respondents tend to be more bullish than bearish about U.S. stock markets. The survey’s historical averages are:

  • 38.5 percent bullish
  • 31.0 percent neutral
  • 30.5 percent bearish

As the second quarter of 2018 began, investors were feeling less optimistic than usual. (About 36.6 percent were bearish and 31.9 percent bullish.) Their outlook was informed by a variety of factors but the prime issue was the trade war tariff issue.

As the quarter progressed, investor optimism increased on signs of economic strength. In early June, CNBC reported the economy appeared to be “operating close to full employment, with an unemployment rate at 3.8 percent, inflation still hovering at or below 2 percent, and business and consumer confidence strong.”

Robust corporate earnings helped spur optimism, too. FactSet Insight wrote, “The S&P 500 reported earnings growth of 25 percent for the first quarter – the highest growth since Q3 2010.” In mid-June, the AAII survey showed 44.8 percent of respondents were feeling bullish, 21.7 percent were bearish, and 33.5 percent were neutral.

Despite a downturn in bullishness, major U.S. stock indices moved higher last week.

There’s a carbon dioxide (CO2) shortage. really, it’s true. Many people agree the world has too much CO2. It’s the reason representatives from countries around the world signed the Paris Climate Agreement. They committed to adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change emissions, and limit the rise of global temperatures.

The effort has been less successful than many had hoped, according to the International Energy Association (IEA). After several years without increases, energy-related emission rose by 1.4 percent in 2017. That’s the rough equivalent of putting 170 million more cars on the road, reported Scientific American.

Emissions rose primarily in Asia, although the European Union (EU) saw increases, too. The biggest decline was in the United States. There’s a certain irony there, since President Trump announced he would withdraw from the agreement in June 2017.

 Focus On The Positive

“My garden is an honest place. Every tree and every vine are incapable of concealment, and tell after two or three months exactly what sort of treatment they have had. The sower may mistake and sow his peas crookedly; the peas make no mistake, but come up and show his line.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson