Compass Financial Advisors

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US Stock Markets Ended May 4, 2018

 Equities took a strong leg up last Friday, but it wasn't enough to make up for the declines earlier in the week as the S&P 500 Index returned -0.21%. The index closed the month of April with a gain of 38 basis points after large losses in both March and February. The Federal Open Market Committee met on Tuesday & Wednesday and acknowledged the strengthening labor market, increased economic activity, and strong job gains. The committee left rates unchanged as many investors expected. Two days of trade talks between the US and China were held last week in Beijing in hopes of avoiding a trade war. While Chinese media reported some trade issue agreements, the meetings ended with most trade issues unresolved. In economic news, US Nonfarm Payrolls showed 168K new jobs in April. While this was lower than expected, it was a large increase relative to March. The US unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%, the lowest rate since 2000. US initial jobless claims of 211K were lower than the consensus estimate of 225K and slightly higher than the previous week's 209K. Though inventories increased, crude oil prices were up 2.38% last week closing at $69.72 per barrel as Middle East tensions attributed to elevated prices. Information technology was the best performing sector last week with strong performances from larger technology companies like Apple Inc., Mastercard Inc., and NVIDIA Corp. Apple Inc. returned 13.25% last week after the company announced exceeding second quarter earnings expectations, a board approved $100 billion share repurchase, and a 16% increase in their quarterly dividend. Qorvo Inc., a manufacturer of integrated circuits for communications devices, showed the best performance in the S&P 500 Index with a 17.97% return as some analysts increased their recommendation of the Apple Inc. supplier. ANDEAVOR, a petroleum refiner and marketer, returned 14.20% last week. The stock jumped on Monday after announcing a definitive merger agreement with Marathon Petroleum Corp. More than 80% of companies in S&P 500 Index have already reported earnings for the first quarter and 79% of those have reported beating their estimates.


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Latest Market News

 Stocks fell for the week as investors grappled with higher bond yields, political risks around the globe, trade tensions and higher energy prices. The real estate and utilities sectors, which tend to be bond proxies due to their high dividend yields, lost over 2% for the week. By contrast, the materials and energy sectors posted the biggest gains as investors are starting to price in higher inflation expectations. In economic news, retail sales rose 0.3% in April, in-line with forecasts, as higher paychecks from tax-cuts offset rising fuel costs. In stock news, both Walmart Inc.

 Treasury prices dropped moderately over the course of the week on strong economic data and speculation that both the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank may raise interest rates more quickly than previously expected. On Tuesday, April Advance Retail Sales were solid while March sales figures were revised to 0.8%, and May Empire Manufacturing was higher than expected, causing a risk-on environment which led to a significant drop in Treasury prices. It was also reported on Tuesday that the U.S.

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Securities offered through Harbour Investments, Inc.,
member FINRA/SIPC.

Investment Advisory Services offered through
Compass Financial Advisors, LLC,
a registered Advisor. 
Compass Financial Advisors, LLC &
Harbour Investments, Inc.
are separate entities.

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