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In this latest podcast, we interview Dr. Jeff Roach, our director of research, on 4 Reasons Not to Worry About a Trade War. But first, a little backstory:
What Happened This Week?
On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the Dow dropped nearly 1,380 points. While 1,300 points sounds like a lot, the Dow Jones Industrial Average began Wednesday at more than 26,400. So the decline ultimately represented a loss of just over 5%. In other words, the U.S. stock market is back where it was in roughly mid-July. Keep in mind, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), or simply the Dow, shows how 30 large, publicly owned companies based in the United States have traded during a standard trading session in the stock market. It only represents 30 large companies and is a relatively small sample of companies compared to the broad U.S. market and an even smaller sample when comparing to the global markets.
Why do stock markets increase or decrease?
A stock moves up or down in price because of investor sentiment. If investors believe a stock is worth more than its current price, it moves up. If they believe it’s worth less, it moves down. Stock markets are immediately responsive to what investors believe. These beliefs generally are formed more in response to investor emotion – how they feel about the stock price – than directly from an analysis of the stock’s metrics –such as improved or declining earnings, the price-to-earnings ratio or earnings per share.
So Why Did the Stock Market Drop?
As often occurs after a big market move, traders, news media, and taxi cab drivers offer up several explanations for what happened to the stock market. Here are two possibilities:
One has to do with President Trump’s trade war with China. While the Trump administration has been talking about China for months, it upped the ante in late September by slapping a 10% duty on $200 billion worth of Chinese consumer goods. The China tariffs are expected to jump to 25% in January. The trade stand-off could hurt both the U.S. and Chinese companies, by raising production costs and crimping consumer spending, which could affect GDP.
Also in late September, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the third time this year. Those moves are meant to reduce the risk of inflation, which has been finally beginning to tick up as the U.S. economy gains steam. Higher interest rates hurt stocks by making bonds a comparatively more attractive investment, and by making it more expensive for companies to borrow and invest.
So what can you do?
First, make sure your portfolio is prepared to weather the next storm. Second, ensure it is aligned with your risk tolerance and goals, and third, have a sound investment philosophy. We would be honored to serve you and your family and may provide a complementary portfolio review if you are concerned.