The Finish Line Commentaries: Last Week in Review


Author: Danny Popescu  |  August 23, 2021

Good Day,

North American markets were heavily influenced by U.S. monetary policy last week.  The minutes from the most recent the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meetings suggest that the bond purchase program could be scaled back sooner than anticipated. While no decisions have been made and no actions have been taken, it appears that markets are realizing that enhanced stimulus measures are not an indefinite solution.

The overall results for financial markets last week were typical under these circumstances. Firstly, uncertainty rose on the increased likelihood of more future, negative news from the Fed, which caused equities to retreat by the end of the week. Then this less supportive monetary policy that could cause business activity to fall, and the demand for oil to also fall as corporate activity stalls, resulted in a 9% drop in the price of oil. The outflows from equities were invested into gold, which experienced a small price increase last week, and is well below its summertime high of $1900+ in early June.  In summary, equities dipped, along with oil, and the safe haven of gold rose.

Much closer to home the rhetoric and campaigning for the upcoming federal election is increasing.  Without debating the merits of any party, as the election nears and more clarity emerges, expect additional analysis regarding investing and taxation, and their effects on retirement planning.

What’s ahead for this week and beyond?

In Canada, wholesale trade, and employment, payrolls and hours, and the industrial price index for July are scheduled to be announced.  For equity investors the major banks will be releasing their latest quarterly results.

In the U.S., July’s new and existing home sales, wholesale and retail inventories, durable goods orders, and personal income and spending will be released.  On Friday Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, will deliver remarks as the annual Jackson Hole Symposium concludes.  Expect the markets to react should he indicate, even obliquely, any changes to their near-term plan of holding bond purchases and interest rates steady.

Globally, Purchasing Managers Indices for Japan and the Eurozone will be released along with Europe’s consumer confidence and money supply, and Germany’s Gross Domestic Product and retail sales.

Danny Popescu


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