The federal government ran out of money Friday night after the Senate failed to agree to a funding proposal to keep it operating. After having already approved four short-term funding agreements this fiscal year, a fifth proved to be insurmountable. As the deadline approached on Friday, investors were unfazed, and the S&P 500 rose steadily into the close to post a 0.4 percent gain on the day.
Bond yields took another step higher last week, as foreign central banks hinted at a shift in policy. The yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury note rose seven basis points to 2.55 percent, its highest weekly close since last March. At one point on Wednesday it briefly hit 2.60 percent. The two-year note edged higher by four basis points to 2.0 percent for the first time in almost ten-years. Most of the move higher came on Tuesday after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) indicated it had reduced the amount of long-dated bonds it had purchased as part of its monetary stimulus program.
What a way to start the new year! After meandering sideways for a couple of weeks at the close of 2017, as investors digested the impact of tax reform and in the face of year-end repositioning, stocks came roaring out of the gate in the first week of trading in the new year. The S&P 500 rose 2.6 percent in the holiday- shortened week, its best performance in over a year. The results were clearly a vote of confidence in the economy, as no fewer than five sectors gained more than 3 percent, led by energy, materials and technology, but also including consumer discretionary and healthcare. The laggards were utilities and REITs, both falling more than 2 percent.
Ameriprise Financial kicks off the new year by today unveiling new advertisements showcasing the benefits of being financially prepared for expected and unexpected life events. The new ads build upon the success of the firm’s Be Brilliant® brand platform, which Ameriprise introduced in 2015. Complementing the firm’s strong reputation of putting client needs first and placing the advisor at the center of the client experience, the creative continues to emphasize the message: “With the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant.”
The long-awaited and much anticipated tax reform bill is almost a reality. Votes still need to be taken in both chambers of Congress, and the president must sign it into law, but these steps appear to be mere formalities at this point. Of course, nothing is done until all the steps are taken, and there is still a sliver of uncertainty regarding the votes of several Republican senators. But at this juncture, the overwhelming odds are that the bill will pass and be sent to the White House before the week is out