Week in Review

NYSE  U.S. stocks ended higher on Friday with the S&P 500 rallying back above a key technical level, but the advance was not enough to offset recent declines, and major indexes closed out their worst week of the past eight. I could not find a single sector with plus signs and the broad decline was led by industrial stocks, utilities and energy. For the week, the Dow fell 166.59 points or nearly 1% and the S&P 500 retreated about 1.4%. The tech-heavy NASDAQ and the small-cap Russell 2000 were hard hit with 1.5% and 2.4% losses, respectively. Geopolitical conflicts led the news and a strong dollar is taking its toll on U.S. multi-national’s earnings. Both contributed to the weekly negatives providing grounds for traders to take some profits. For the year, the Dow Industrials are up only 3.25% while the broader S&P 500 Index is ahead by 7.5%, but here to, far from a bubble. However, the average trailing PE for the S&P is 20, a bit stretched vs. its historic mean and could be cause for a correction to more normal levels. Gold closed Friday at $1,214 per ounce, but oil – as measured by West Texas crude – bounced back a bit advancing slightly over a $1.00/bbl since last week. Wall Streeter’s will now be looking ahead to third quarter earnings season as the generally volatile month of October approaches. I still give the bulls the benefit of the doubt and think stocks can rise further over the remainder of the year and into next. However, ever-uncertain global conditions will continue to be an irritant. Thus short-term gains may be more difficult to come by as we face an ongoing wall of worry and the never-ending guessing game for timing inevitable higher interest rates down the road. In the meantime, those with a longer-term bias should hold to their investment strategy and ride out the noise.

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