Markets are pausing to check in with the Fed this week….90+% chance of an interest rate increase

Declining oil prices weighed on the markets this week; West Texas Intermediate crude, the North American benchmark, fell 9% to drop below $50 per barrel for the first time this year.  Record U.S. inventory levels, partly due to scheduled refinery maintenance, but also a result of increased production, contributed to the pullback.  At an industry conference this week in Houston, Saudi officials, who would prefer an oil price increase to $60 per barrel or higher, told several U.S. producers not to assume that OPEC would automatically extend its production freeze agreement in May.  The comments highlight increased anxiety among global oil producers which must contend with a revitalized U.S. energy sector.  Indeed, the shale industry’s competitive positioning strengthened during the OPEC-induced bear market from 2014-2016; shale oil companies reduced break-even costs while industry consolidation benefitted the strongest and most technologically advanced producers.  President Trump’s promise to reduce energy-related regulations has further encouraged oil company executives to pursue aggressive growth strategies.  As a result, oil prices in the near-to-medium term are likely to remain within a range of $40 and $60 per barrel, a level which should support robust U.S. energy services activity; stocks, though, may remain somewhat volatile as investors respond to periodic production and inventory data.

The February jobs report confirmed the health of the U.S. economy and all but assured a Federal Reserve rate hike next week.  Total non-farm payrolls grew by 235,000, while the unemployment rate declined 0.1% to 4.7%.  The “U-6” unemployment rate, which includes discouraged or part-time workers who would prefer a full-time position, fell to 9.2%; the metric, favored by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, is near pre-recession levels and down from a peak of 17.1% during the financial crisis.  Meanwhile, labor force participation (the percentage of the population that is working or actively seeking work) rose 0.1% to 63.0%, as 340,000 eligible employees entered the workforce, the biggest improvement since July 2016.  The increase suggests those seeking employment are feeling more hopeful about their job prospects; the reading also points to rising business confidence and expanded hiring plans.  Wage growth remains somewhat muted despite the strengthening labor market; average hourly earnings rose 0.2% compared to January, and 2.8% year-over-year.  Still, continued job creation will eventually lead to stronger wage gains which will, in turn, support consumer spending, the main driver of economic growth.  Thus, the recent pause in stock prices is unlikely to presage a larger correction; positive economic data should support improving corporate performance and sustain the market’s positive bias.

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.

 

Last Week's Headlines

  • A real market mover, the monthly employment report can influence not only investors, but short-term interest rates as well. February's report was very positive on a number of fronts. Job growth continued as 235,000 new jobs were added last month with job gains in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care, and mining. The unemployment rate dipped to 4.7% as both workforce participation and employment increased. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in February. But in a further sign of continued economic strengthening, payrolls increased by $0.06 to $26.09, following a $0.05 increase in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by $0.71, or 2.8%. This report should encourage investors as well as the Fed, which is likely to raise short-term interest rates.
     
  • For February, the federal deficit was $192 billion. January showed a monthly budget surplus of $51 billion. The February deficit is essentially the same as the February 2016 deficit. Through the first five months of the fiscal year, the deficit sits at $349 billion. The deficit over the same period last year was $351 billion.
     
  • The trade deficit is growing, according to the Census Bureau's final report for January. The goods and services deficit was $48.5 billion, up $4.2 billion from $44.3 billion in December. January exports were up $1.1 billion to $192.1 billion. January imports were $240.6 billion, $5.3 billion more than December imports. Year-over-year, the goods and services deficit increased $5.1 billion, or 11.8%, from January 2016. Exports increased $13.3 billion, or 7.4%. Imports increased $18.4 billion, or 8.3%.
     
  • Export prices actually outpaced import prices in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices for U.S. exports advanced 0.3% in February and have not recorded a monthly decline since the index fell 0.8% in August. Export prices increased 3.1% over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year rise since the index advanced 3.6% between December 2010 and December 2011. Import prices rose for the third consecutive month in February, increasing 0.2%, after a 0.6% advance in January and a 0.4% rise in December. The price index for imports also rose over the past year, increasing 4.6%. That rise was the largest 12-month advance in import prices since a 5.1% increase in February 2012.
     
  • In the week ended March 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims was 243,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week's revised level. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained at 1.5%. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ended February 25 was 2,058,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level.

 

Eye on the Week Ahead

This week provides several important reports, including information on consumer prices, producer prices, and retail sales — each of which offers guidance on inflationary trends. The latest report on industrial production is also available at the end of the week. However, investors will be watching the results of this week's FOMC meeting, as indications are that the Committee will increase the federal funds target rate for the first time in 2017.

 


 

Brian Amidei, along with Partners Joseph Romano and Brett D'Orlando have also been named *2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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:

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.

Fortem Financial

Recent Posts

PRIVACY NOTICE REGARDING CLIENT PRIVACY

Fortem Financial Group, LLC, has adopted this policy with recognition that protecting the privacy and security of the non-public personal information we obtain about our customers is an important responsibility.

All financial companies choose how they share your non-public personal information. Federal law gives consumers the right to limit some but not all sharing. Federal law also requires us to tell you how we collect, share, and protect your non-public personal information. Even when you are no longer our customer, we will only share your non-public personal information as described in this notice. So, please read this notice carefully to understand what we do.

The types of non-public personal information we collect and share depend on the product or service you have with us. This information can include items such as your Social Security number and income, your account balances and transaction history, and your investment experience and account transactions.

We collect your non-public personal information in a variety of ways. For example, we obtain your non-public personal information when you open an account or give us your income information, tell us about your portfolio or deposit money, or enter into an investment advisory contract. We also collect your non-public personal information from other companies. For example, from the custodians who hold your account assets.

All financial companies need to share customer’s non-public personal information to run their everyday business. Below, we describe the reasons we can share your non-public personal information and whether you can limit this sharing.

We share your non-public personal information for our everyday business purposes such as to process your transactions, maintain your account(s), respond to court orders and legal investigations, report to credit bureaus, to protect the confidentiality or security of your records, or as permitted by law. We may also share your non-public personal information for our own firm’s marketing purposes; so that we can offer our products and services to you.

Federal law gives you the right to limit only sharing non-public personal information about your credit worthiness for our affiliates’ everyday business purposes; sharing non-public personal information about you with our affiliates to market to you; and sharing non-public personal information with non-affiliates to market to you.

We don’t share non-public personal information about your creditworthiness with our affiliates for their everyday business purposes. We don’t share your non-public personal information with our affiliates to market to you. We don’t share your non-public personal information with non-affiliates to market to you. We also don’t share your non-public personal information for joint marketing with other financial companies. State laws and individual companies may give you additional rights to limit sharing.

We share non-public personal information with our parent company affiliate, Focus Financial Partners, Inc, for its internal and external auditing purposes. We also share your non-public personal information with a non-affiliate for the purpose of aggregating it and providing summary information based on this data to our parent company, Focus Financial Partners, Inc.

To protect your non-public personal information from unauthorized access and use, we use security measures that comply with federal law. These measures include computer safeguards and secured files and buildings.

Our policy about obtaining and disclosing non-public personal information may change from time to time. We will provide you notice of any material change to this policy before we implement the change.

If you have questions please call us at 760-206-8500 or go to our website at www.fortemfin.com.

IMPORTANT CONSUMER DISCLOSURE

Fortem Financial Group, LLC ("Fortem Financial" or the "Firm") is a federally registered investment adviser with offices in California. Fortem Financial and its representatives are in compliance with the current registration and notice filing requirements imposed upon federally registered investment advisers by those states in which Fortem Financial maintains clients. Fortem Financial may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from notice filing requirements.

This website is limited to the dissemination of general information regarding the Firm's investment advisory services offered to U.S. residents residing in states where providing such information is not prohibited by applicable law. Accordingly, the publication of Fortem Financial' website on the Internet should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as a solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment, tax or legal advice. Furthermore, the information resulting from the use of any tools or other information on this website should not be construed, in any manner whatsoever, as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized individual advice from Fortem Financial. Any subsequent direct communication from Fortem Financial with a prospective client will be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. Fortem Financial does not make any representations as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to this website or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility therefore. All such information is provided for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

All statements and opinions included on this website are subject to change as economic and market conditions dictate, and do not necessarily represent the views of Fortem Financial or any of their respective affiliates. Past performance may not be indicative of future results and there can be no assurance that any views, outlooks, projections or forward-looking statements will come to pass. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and the profitability of any particular investment strategy or product cannot be guaranteed.

Any rating referenced herein may not be representative of any one client's experience. Further, the Firm's receipt of any rating is not indicative of the Firm's future performance. The Charles E. Merrill Circle of Excellence award is granted by Merrill Lynch for outstanding client service and satisfaction. The award is granted based on annual criteria established by Merrill Lynch for its top decile advisors. The Barron's Top 1,200 Financial Advisors rating of the top financial advisors in the United States is based on data provided by participating firms. The following factors are included in the rankings: assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record, quality of practice and philanthropic work. Investment performance is not an explicit component. The Five Star Professional award is granted by Five Star Professional and recognizes service professionals who provide quality services to their clients based on data provided by participating firms. The award is granted based on the following ten objective eligibility and evaluation criteria: credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; favorable regulatory and complaint history review; fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; accepting new clients; one-year client retention rate; five-year client retention rate; non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; number of client households served; and educational and professional designations. Feedback from consumer surveys will augment a regulatory history review. Firms have the option to provide input on award candidates from their firm, regardless of the nomination source. The Palm Springs Life's "40 Under 40" Rising Young Professionals to Watch in the Coachella Valley is based upon nominations from the local business community and selected by the staff of Palm Springs Life.

For information pertaining to the registration status of Fortem Financial, please refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website, operated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov., which contains the most recent versions of the Firm's Form ADV disclosure documents.

ACCESS TO THIS WEBSITE IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, REGARDING THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, TIMELINESS, OR RESULTS OBTAINED FROM ANY INFORMATION POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY WEBSITE REFERENCED HEREIN.