Weekly Market Commentary May 10, 2023

Fast Facts

Living in the US has many benefits, including access to stunning national parks and pizza with cheese baked into the crust, but a long and healthy life isn’t one of them. A Financial Times data journalist crunched the numbers and found that the average American now has the same “healthy life expectancy” (the measure of years lived in good health) as someone born in Blackpool — a depressed seaside town with England’s lowest life expectancy. Eschewing British understatement, he also noted that it’s a particularly bad look for the US since the UK doesn’t even have the best life expectancy in Europe.

It might seem like Americans are always on their phones, but South Africans actually hold the title for the most online people, spending an average of at least 9.5 hours per day on the web last year. To be fair, a lot of that time was spent watching videos of Americans trying to identify African countries.

Mathematicians recently found a new 13-sided shape they’re calling “the hat.” The hat (a polykite shape that looks vaguely like a fedora) is the first example ever discovered of an “einstein tile,” a shape that can cover a space with no gaps or overlaps in a pattern that never repeats — something researchers have been trying to uncover for decades. Fun fact: The name einstein refers to the German phrase “ein Stein,” meaning one stone, not everyone’s favorite physicist.

Children that live with cats and dogs are less likely to develop food allergies, according to a Japanese study of more than 66,000 preschoolers. Kids that grew up around indoor dogs (even before birth) reported fewer egg, milk, and nut allergies, while indoor cats were linked to fewer egg, wheat, and soybean allergies. These benefits don’t extend to all furry friends: Children exposed to hamsters actually had a greater incidence of nut allergies.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

spring flowers“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
Terry Pratchett, author

The Markets

The labor market just keeps growing…and growing…

Last week, the April employment report for the United States arrived. It showed that unemployment dropped to the lowest level in more than 50 years – 3.4%. Other highlights included:

  • The creation of 253,000 jobs in April. That was well above consensus estimates, according to Catarina Saraiva and Steve Matthews of Bloomberg.
  • The highest workforce participation rate since 2008. This is the percentage of Americans who are either working or looking for a job, reported Megan Cassella of Barron’s.
  • The lowest unemployment rate for black workers ever. By race, the April unemployment rate was 2.8% for Asian Americans, 3.1% for white Americans, 4.4% for Hispanic Americans, and 4.7% for Black Americans.
  • Average hourly earnings rose 4.4% year-over-year. Wage growth may be one reason inflation remains higher than the Federal Reserve would prefer, according to a source cited by Bloomberg.

There were signs that the labor market growth might be slowing down. The number of jobs created in February and March were both revised lower.

The Federal Reserve will be weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the labor market, as well as other data, as it makes future rate hike determinations. Last week, the Fed raised the federal funds rate from 4.83% to 5.08%, and Chair Powell suggested it could be the end of the tightening cycle, reported Jeff Cox of CNBC.

“As the Federal Reserve works to rein in inflation, the labor market’s confounding durability has given central-bank officials space so far to keep interest rates in restrictive territory without having to worry about widespread layoffs or acute economic pain,” reported Barron’s.

Last week, major U.S. stock indices finished the week with mixed performance, reported Barron’s. Yields on most U.S. Treasuries moved lower over the week.

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.
Data as of 5/5/231-WeekYTD1-Year3-Year5-Year10-Year
Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)-0.8%7.7%-0.3%13.0%9.1%9.8%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)3.5NA3.
Gold (per ounce)0.910.
Bloomberg Commodity Index-1.3-8.7-

Travel is Back! After three years of COVID-19 lockdowns, airline staffing shortages, last-minute flight cancellations and high car rental costs, Americans are returning to the roadways and airways this year. An AARP survey found that 62% of Americans, ages 50 and older, plan to take at least one trip this year and some plan to take three or four.

It’s a boon to the travel industry as Americans are expected to spend more on travel in 2023 than they did before the pandemic, according to a source cited by Becky Pokora of Forbes. In April, the U.S. Travel Association reported that spending is up 4%, although it may be leveling out as spending on airfares and hotels retreated a bit in April.

Americans plan to spend about $6,600 on travel this year, and many are cost conscious and wary of inflation, according to the AARP. Nevertheless, most people aren’t putting their vacation plans on hold. In fact, with the strong U.S. dollar working in Americans’ favor, heading overseas just might be the way savvy travelers can get the most for their money. The dollar and euro have been nearly equal in value, and currency exchange rates are making a host of other countries – across the Americas, Asia and Europe – attractive destinations.

Where does the U.S. dollar go the farthest? According to Quincy Williamson of Kiplinger:

  • In Europe, the answer may be Greece and Portugal.
  • In the Americas, look to Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina and Chile.
  • In Asia, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam are the most affordable countries to visit.

While traveling abroad may be attractive from a financial point of view, the AARP survey found that just 40% of survey respondents plan to head overseas this year. That could prove to be a benefit if popular destinations are less crowded. Whether you prefer cities, beaches or rainforests, international travel could be just the ticket this year.

Best regards,
John Klevens, CFP®

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Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Financial Advice & Investment Advisory Services offered through PFG Advisors LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). Klevens Capital Management, PFG Advisors LLC, and Securities America, Inc. are separate entities.
. Portions of this newsletter have been prepared by Peak Advisor
* These views are those of Carson Coaching, and not the presenting Representative, the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, or Registered Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Coaching. Carson Coaching is not affiliated with the named firm or broker/dealer.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* The risk of loss in trading commodities and futures can be substantial. You should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. The high degree of leverage is often obtainable in commodity trading and can work against you as well as for you. The use of leverage can lead to large losses as well as gains.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

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