VOLATILITY REMINISCENT OF 2011: For the 13 months that ended January 31, 2018, the average, daily percentage change of the value of the S&P 500 was 0.31%. During the 5 years that ended March 29, 2018, the average, daily percentage change was 0.55%. In February and March of 2018, the average, daily percentage change jumped to 1.11%. In 2011, the markets faced 1) an expanding euro debt crisis, 2) the loss of the U.S. AAA credit rating by Standard Poors, and 3) fears of a recession. In 2011, the S&P had 95 trading days that saw greater than 1% moves, 47 up and 48 down. In 2011, the S&P 500 ended the year about 2% higher than where it started.
MARKETS EKE OUT WEEKLY GAINS: Markets began the week strong as corporate earnings reports provided some optimisim. At the end of the week, much of that gain was lost as a negative report about Apple’s future sales dragged down its price and the price of other tech stocks. Some consumer goods stocks also suffered after disappointing reports by Proctor & Gamble and Phillip Morris.
HOTELS POISED TO SET RECORDS AGAIN: According to HotelNewsNow.com, the U.S. hotel industry is exceeding the record-breaking year of 2017. Occupancy is up 0.9% from last year to 61.6%. The average daily rate is up 2.5% to $127.17.
OIL PRICES KEEP CLIMBING: Oil prices have been moving higher for about a year. Brent, the global benchmark, reached $73.78 on Thursday, its highest level since November 2014. It is up 55% since June 2017. This type of news used to be all bad for the U.S. economy, but now that the U.S. is positioning itself to become the world’s largest oil producer, such news actually provides a boost to the overall economy (despite the consumer pain at the pump).
U.S. DOLLAR RISING: The U.S. dollar has risen in the past two weeks as the Fed continues to talk about increasing rates while central banks overseas seem to be content leaving low interest rates as they are. U.S. trade and budget deficits have been (and will continue to be) putting pressure on the value of the greenback.