Are Consistent Economic Gains Now Starting To Catch-Up To Stock Market Gains?

Before providing our current perspective on the markets and the economy, we believe that it would first be helpful to consider the following recent economic data releases, as reported on MarketWatch, from across the globe:

• The U.S. economy has now experienced two consecutive quarters of 3% gross domestic product (GDP) growth with a reported 3.0% annualized gain in third-quarter GDP, on top of the 3.1% GDP increase reported in the second quarter of 2017
• Consumption (the largest current component of GDP) increased by 2.4% during the third quarter, down slightly from the 3.3% gain in the second quarter, but slightly better than expectations
• Brent crude oil rose past the $60 level for first time in more than two years
• U.S. consumer-sentiment gauge hit a 13-year high
• U.S. consumer confidence hits a 17-year high
• U.S. new-home sales rose to a 10-year high
• U.S. home-builder sentiment hits five-month high
• U.S. durable-goods orders increased by 2.2% in September
• U.S. retail sales rose 1.5% in September
• First-time unemployment claims in the U.S. hit a 44-year low
• The Philadelphia Fed’s regional manufacturing gauge rose to a 5-month high
• Q3 earnings season in the U.S. has been relatively robust thus far with several notable beats in the Technology and Financials sectors
• The European Central Bank (ECB) announced plans to cut bond purchases to 30 billion Euros a month beginning in January due to signs of strength in the European economy
• United Kingdom GDP rose by 0.4%, beating views and driving their own Pound currency higher
• Eurozone unemployment at an 11 year low

Financial Markets

Given the above, it is reasonable to conclude that the global economy is on a relatively stable footing. This string of positive data reports, and the new highs that continue to be reached for the S&P 500, Dow Industrial Average and Nasdaq indexes this year, may ratchet-up “risk-on” behavior amongst investors and stem the tide of outflows from Domestic equity funds that we have seen thus far in 2017 (according to Investment Company Institute data). These economic gains alone, however, do not mean that stock market will move considerably higher though as the stock market has been on a historic run over the past 8 years without these types of strong, consistent economic gains. Accordingly, some of the stock market gains that many might anticipate would take place as a result of the above may have taken place already, at least in the United States.

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Disclosure: Hennion & Walsh Asset Management currently has allocations within its managed money program and Hennion & Walsh currently has allocations within certain SmartTrust® Unit ...

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