No news is good news for the markets

Significant headline news events were in short supply last week yet the major indices moved higher which has been the path of least resistance.  For the week, large caps outpaced small cap stocks; the market leading Nasdaq rose 1.36%, followed by the S&P 500® Index (1.16%), Dow Jones Industrial Average (0.92%) and the Russell 2000® Index (0.50%).  Economic data, including the Consumer Confidence Index, continue to support the markets.  The Index’s 100.8 reading for August is the second highest since 2004, eclipsed only by the March 2018 reading.  Also, the S&P 500® Transportation Index has gained over 9% since late June.  Many traders view the Transportation Index as a barometer of economic growth; here, the recent performance suggests equity market gains over the next several months.  Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that the U.S. likely surpassed Russia to become the largest oil producer in the world; Saudi Arabia is ranked third.  The recent jump in oil production has enabled the U.S. to lead the world in oil output for the first time since 1973.

The news on the trade front remains uncertain.  On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Chinese government commented that the U.S. and China were discussing details for a new round of trade negotiations; on Friday, however, President Trump told aides to go ahead with threatened tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.  Separately, trade negotiations continue with Canada.  U.S. businesses have increased their lobbying efforts to avoid a trade war; China has also assured U.S. businesses of the country’s desire to support continued investment in the Chinese economy.  The stakes are high for both countries.  The markets, despite the sometimes-conflicting commentary, continue to believe that the countries will eventually negotiate trade agreements.

Looking ahead, the mid-term elections, and trade issues will continue to dominate news headlines; also, in the run-up to the end of the third quarter, investors will be alert for positive, or negative, earnings pre-announcements.  A good example is a company in the marine transportation and diesel engine business.  The stock fell approximately 10% last week due to concerns that delays in parts procurement and the slowdown in Permian basin oil production would hurt earnings.   Today, an industry analyst issued a report indicating that all of the company’s business segments are improving and their diesel engine business is ahead of previous projections; shares rose 6.5% today as investors reassessed their assumptions.  Federal Reserve interest rate policy, inflation and economic data continue to support positive market sentiment without the “irrational exuberance” that might signal a potential market peak.

Source: Pacific Global Investment Management Company

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.


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Brian Amidei is Coachella Valley's only Barron's Magazine Top 1,000 Advisor in 2013 and 2014!

Brian Amidei, along with Partners Joseph Romano and Brett D'Orlando have also been named *2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Five Star Wealth Managers!

Disclosures:

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if Fortem is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement of Fortem or its representatives by any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor. Awards may not be indicative of one client?s experience or of the Firm?s future performance.  Neither Fortem nor the recognized advisor has paid a fee for inclusion on a list, nor purchased any additional material from the award provider. The criteria for each award is listed below:

Barron's Disclosure:

The Barron's award is is based on the recognized adviser's assets under management, contribution to the firm's revenues and profits, and quality of practice.  Investment performance is not an explicit criteria.  Additional information about this award is available at http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors. 

Five Star Professional Disclosure:

The Five Star Wealth Manager award is based on 10 eligibility and evaluation criteria: 1) Credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; 2) Actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; 3) Favorable regulatory and complaint history review; 4) Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; 5) Accepting new clients; 6) One-year client retention rate; 7) Five-year client retention rate; 8) Non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9) Number of client households served; and 10) Educational and professional designations. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or the magazine. The award methodology does not evaluate the quality of services provided.  Additional information about this award is available at: fivestarprofessional.com/2016FiveStarWealthManagerMethodology.pdf

Fortem Financial 2016. All rights reserved. 

Data Sources:  News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations.  Market Data: Based on reported data in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury Yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates).  All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. 

Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent those of Fortem Financial, LLC or any of its affiliates.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.  Forward looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, the economy, and future conditions.  As such, forward-looking statements are subject to inherent uncertainty, risks, and changes in circumstance that are difficult to predict.  Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated outcomes.  Carefully consider investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing.  Fortem Financial is a registered investment adviser with the SEC.  Advisory services are offered through Fortem Financial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks.  The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.  The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.  The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighed index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks.  The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide.  Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

Unemployment, wage growth and other data still looking very strong as the markets take a breather last week

September began with across-the-board declines in response to uncertainties related to trade tariffs with China and the NAFTA negotiations with Canada.  Last week the Dow Jones Industrial Average led the markets with a fractional 0.19% loss; the S&P 500® Index declined 1.03%, the Nasdaq fell 2.55% and the Russell 2000® Index lost 1.58%.

On Wednesday, trade negotiations between the U.S. and Canada resumed but the parties had not reached an agreement as the week ended; the pressure builds for an agreement by the end of September.   President Trump has threatened to move ahead with the bilateral agreement with Mexico; Congress, though, which must approve any agreement, clearly prefers a trilateral deal that includes both Mexico and Canada.  Over the weekend there were developments that the US and Canada may be days away from announcing a trade agreement so stay tuned as this story unfolds.

Shortly before the end of Thursday’s deadline for public comments on an additional $200 billion on Chinese tariffs, Apple urged the Administration not to apply an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports.  The letter stated the company’s concern that the tariffs would result in lower U.S. growth, higher prices for U.S. consumers.  President Trump suggested Apple move manufacturing jobs back to the US and they would avoid the tariff drag.

Many believe that China would respond by imposing increasingly more difficult conditions for U.S. companies doing business in China.  One example of the complexity of the tariff standoff involves the African swine fever; an outbreak of the deadly pig virus has appeared in six Chinese provinces.   The illness, which is highly fatal to pigs, is controlled through quarantine and eradication.  In response to the resulting drop in domestic production, China is turning to countries other than the U.S. to make up the shortfall in domestic production.  The likely scenario involved increased pork exports to China from Europe, Brazil and other countries; these, in turn, will look to imports from the U.S. to cover their domestic demand for pork.  The result: lower U.S. sales to China; increased sales to other countries.  This scenario is consistent with commentaries from shipping companies that tariffs will shift trade to other countries with limited overall impact on the global markets.

Favorable economic news continues; second quarter productivity increased 2.9%, the best performance since 2010.  In addition, manufacturing production rose to 61.3% and consumer confidence remains high with good employment opportunities.  In August, employers added 210,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%.

Overall, the markets performed well during the summer months; investors approach the fall season, and mid-term elections, with some hesitation.  The Technology sector underperformance weighs on the markets as the rotation from high-valuation growth stocks to more undervalued companies proceeds; also, the FAANG stocks reflect some concern that the government may seek to lessen their perceived market dominance.

Trade-related events will likely contribute to greater market volatility; and, while the near-term impact of these events remains difficult to anticipate, most analysts anticipate that negotiated resolutions will evolve over time.

Source: Pacific Global Investment Management Company

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.


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Brian Amidei is Coachella Valley's only Barron's Magazine Top 1,000 Advisor in 2013 and 2014!

Brian Amidei, along with Partners Joseph Romano and Brett D'Orlando have also been named *2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Five Star Wealth Managers!

Disclosures:

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if Fortem is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement of Fortem or its representatives by any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor. Awards may not be indicative of one client?s experience or of the Firm?s future performance.  Neither Fortem nor the recognized advisor has paid a fee for inclusion on a list, nor purchased any additional material from the award provider. The criteria for each award is listed below:

Barron's Disclosure:

The Barron's award is is based on the recognized adviser's assets under management, contribution to the firm's revenues and profits, and quality of practice.  Investment performance is not an explicit criteria.  Additional information about this award is available at http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors. 

Five Star Professional Disclosure:

The Five Star Wealth Manager award is based on 10 eligibility and evaluation criteria: 1) Credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; 2) Actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; 3) Favorable regulatory and complaint history review; 4) Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; 5) Accepting new clients; 6) One-year client retention rate; 7) Five-year client retention rate; 8) Non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9) Number of client households served; and 10) Educational and professional designations. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or the magazine. The award methodology does not evaluate the quality of services provided.  Additional information about this award is available at: fivestarprofessional.com/2016FiveStarWealthManagerMethodology.pdf

Fortem Financial 2016. All rights reserved. 

Data Sources:  News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations.  Market Data: Based on reported data in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury Yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates).  All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. 

Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent those of Fortem Financial, LLC or any of its affiliates.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.  Forward looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, the economy, and future conditions.  As such, forward-looking statements are subject to inherent uncertainty, risks, and changes in circumstance that are difficult to predict.  Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated outcomes.  Carefully consider investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing.  Fortem Financial is a registered investment adviser with the SEC.  Advisory services are offered through Fortem Financial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks.  The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.  The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.  The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighed index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks.  The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide.  Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

Moving forward on trade

NAFTA negotiators remain upbeat about the prospects of a deal. This will be an "agreement in principle" rather than a full deal which means that while it won't be signed, it can still trigger the formal Congressional review so that Mexico's current President is able to sign it before his term ends and he leaves office. However, on Friday, negotiations between the U.S. and Canada appear stalled in meeting the White House’s imposed deadline. Even so, President Trump plans to notify Congress of the US/Mexico deal which he hopes will replace NAFTA. Canada’s heavy reliance on NAFTA export trade will pressure the country as negotiations continue into next week. Also, President Trump appears ready to implement the previously discussed $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports next week. Elsewhere, the European Union and the U.S. have not reached an agreement.

We continue to caution investors NOT extrapolate NAFTA progress with a deal with China. China negotiations are a different animal and we wouldn't anticipate much happening here until after the midterm elections.

Stocks continued to move higher last week in the run-up to Labor Day weekend.  The Nasdaq (+2.06%) led, followed by the S&P 500® Index (0.93%), the Russell 2000® Index (0.87%), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (0.68%).  Also, with comparatively low trading volumes, all of the major indices moved higher in August: the Russell 2000® and Nasdaq led with gains of 4.03% and 3.81%, respectively. Major factors included solid earnings, economic reports, and commentary by Federal Reserve Chairman Powell which reinforced the expectation of gradual interest rate increases.

Corporate news was fairly light although DSW, Inc., Lululemon and American Outdoor Brands rose in response to strong earnings; other retailers, including Box, American Eagle Outfitters and Movado disappointed. Oil prices rebounded as Chinese refineries resumed oil purchases; also, trade data suggest that the November trade embargo on Iran is already significantly impacting the country’s oil exports.

Looking ahead, investor attention will turn to third quarter earnings reports and corporate outlooks for 2019.  Trade issues, including NAFTA negotiations, and discussions with both Europe and China, will continue to influence market volatility.  Also, investors will closely monitor the upcoming mid-term elections, and the potential shift in party control of Congress. These events have the potential to create market volatility; but worldwide economic growth remains the primary driver. Valuations continue to rise, but not excessively so; overall, the positive bias heading into the Fall reflects the combined influences of moderate inflation, interest rates and market sentiment.

Source: Pacific Global Management Company

Chart reflects price changes, not total return.  Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.


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Brian Amidei is Coachella Valley's only Barron's Magazine Top 1,000 Advisor in 2013 and 2014!

Brian Amidei, along with Partners Joseph Romano and Brett D'Orlando have also been named *2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Five Star Wealth Managers!

Disclosures:

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if Fortem is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement of Fortem or its representatives by any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor. Awards may not be indicative of one client?s experience or of the Firm?s future performance.  Neither Fortem nor the recognized advisor has paid a fee for inclusion on a list, nor purchased any additional material from the award provider. The criteria for each award is listed below:

Barron's Disclosure:

The Barron's award is is based on the recognized adviser's assets under management, contribution to the firm's revenues and profits, and quality of practice.  Investment performance is not an explicit criteria.  Additional information about this award is available at http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors. 

Five Star Professional Disclosure:

The Five Star Wealth Manager award is based on 10 eligibility and evaluation criteria: 1) Credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; 2) Actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; 3) Favorable regulatory and complaint history review; 4) Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; 5) Accepting new clients; 6) One-year client retention rate; 7) Five-year client retention rate; 8) Non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9) Number of client households served; and 10) Educational and professional designations. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or the magazine. The award methodology does not evaluate the quality of services provided.  Additional information about this award is available at: fivestarprofessional.com/2016FiveStarWealthManagerMethodology.pdf

Fortem Financial 2016. All rights reserved. 

Data Sources:  News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations.  Market Data: Based on reported data in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury Yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates).  All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. 

Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent those of Fortem Financial, LLC or any of its affiliates.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.  Forward looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, the economy, and future conditions.  As such, forward-looking statements are subject to inherent uncertainty, risks, and changes in circumstance that are difficult to predict.  Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated outcomes.  Carefully consider investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing.  Fortem Financial is a registered investment adviser with the SEC.  Advisory services are offered through Fortem Financial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks.  The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.  The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.  The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighed index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks.  The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide.  Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

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