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Market Commentary - Page 10

The first quarter of 2014 wraps up Monday, and we’re still pretty much in the same position as we were back in December — looking for solid signs that the economy is on a path toward recovery and sustainable growth in the quarters ahead.

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When Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke a little too clearly on Wednesday about her expectations on interest rate hikes, investors rushed to sell, and markets tanked. But on Thursday, when several key indicators pointed toward an improving economy, investors quickly became buyers again and the markets bounced back.

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Investors in U.S. stocks have been getting solid, reliable earnings, but we question whether the price of those earnings still represents good value.

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The tensions in Ukraine ratcheted up a notch or two late this week when leaders of the nation’s Russian-occupied Crimea region said they will hold a vote in 10 days on unilaterally seceding from Ukraine and becoming part of Russia. Geopolitical situations of this potential magnitude typically weigh heavily on global markets, with nervous investors moving quickly to get risk off the table. So what’s different this time around?

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Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony February 27 on Capitol Hill provided a signal that the market wanted to hear: Policymakers are looking closely at the data to determine if bad weather is truly to blame for the recent weak reports on unemployment and other economic indicators. If it’s not the weather, she said they’re open to the idea of reconsidering the taper.

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