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Weekly Economic Update - 9-05-2023

9/5/2023 brad

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Economic Update 9-05-2023 

  • Economic data for the week included a revision downward for U.S. Q2 GDP, as well as improved but still negative ISM manufacturing. Housing results were generally positive, from the standpoint of home prices and pending sales. Labor market data was mixed, with continued signs of slowing, but remaining decent. 
  • Global equities experienced gains, with U.S. stocks outperforming most foreign with benign economic, inflation, and interest rate news. Bonds rose along with a pullback in interest rates. Commodities were led higher by crude oil and industrial metals.

U.S. stocks started off well last week, particularly Tue. as job openings declined significantly (presumably lowering the probability of another Fed rate hike). The downward revision of Q2 GDP on Wed. also pointed to lowered likelihood of a hike, at least relative to a revision upward. Later in the week, the employment situation report reaction was mixed, with signs of labor slowing a positive in terms of keeping Fed policy where it is, but the sharply higher unemployment rate again raised some recession concerns. 

By sector, cyclicals broadly gained, led by technology, materials, energy, and consumer discretionary, each with returns of 3-4% on the week. Defensive industries utilities and consumer staples lagged with declines. Real estate also rose over a percent for the week. 

Foreign stocks performed positively, albeit to a lesser degree than in the U.S., with the exception of Japan, which outperformed all markets. In EM, results were widely mixed by country, with Chinese stocks rising upon additional stimulus measures being announced, including lower foreign currency reserve requirements, and reduced down payments and rates for home buyers. The infamous homebuilding firm Country Garden, China’s largest property developer, is on the brink of default, after missing several bond payments and is apparently considering a restructuring. This again highlights still-present risks in that nation’s real estate sector—which directly accounts for at least a quarter of GDP—which the government may need to absorb, reducing other monies available for broader economic stimulus to businesses and consumers. 

Bonds fared positively last week, along with a decline in interest rates—no doubt helped by the mixed economic and inflation data that added to assumptions the Fed could keep further rate hikes on hold. High yield and floating rate bank loans outperformed investment-grade debt, with a current yield advantage. Based on the New York Fed’s Corporate Bond Market Distress Index, which goes back to 2005, continues to show ‘easy’ conditions, with little sign of stress—in both investment-grade and high yield. Foreign bonds were mixed, with a stronger U.S. dollar helping U.S.-denominated emerging market debt outperform local bonds.  

Commodities gained across the board, led by energy and industrial metals, and precious metals also up a percent. Crude oil prices increased a sharp 7% last week to over $85/barrel, with growing expectations that OPEC+ nations will keep production cuts in place until the end of the year at least. Energy price rises were muted likely in response to less destruction than expected by the recent hurricane, as well as the location—storm landfall near production or storage facilities has tended to add more stress to pricing this time of year. 

Period ending 9/1/2023 

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S&P 500  






Russell 2000 









Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate 




U.S. Treasury Yields 

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5 Yr. 

10 Yr. 

30 Yr. 



















Sources:  LSA Portfolio Analytics, American Association for Individual Investors (AAII), Associated Press, Barclays Capital, Bloomberg, Deutsche Bank, FactSet, Financial Times, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Asset Management, Kiplinger’s, Marketfield Asset Management, Minyanville, Morgan Stanley, MSCI, Morningstar, Northern Trust, Oppenheimer Funds, Payden & Rygel, PIMCO, Rafferty Capital Markets, LLC, Schroder’s, Standard & Poor’s, The Conference Board, Thomson Reuters, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Federal Reserve, Wells Capital Management, Yahoo!, Zacks Investment Research.  Index performance is shown as total return, which includes dividends, with the exception of MSCI-EM, which is quoted as price return/excluding dividends.  Performance for the MSCI-EAFE and MSCI-EM indexes is quoted in U.S. Dollar investor terms.                                                                                    

The information above has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but no representation is made as to its completeness, accuracy or timeliness.  All information and opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.  Information provided in this report is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, investment, legal or tax advice; and does not constitute an offer, or a solicitation of any offer, to buy or sell any security, investment or other product.