Compass Financial Advisors

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US Stocks Ended Feb. 23, 2018

 After selling-off to begin the holiday-shortened week, stocks roared higher to finish the week in the green, as concerns subsided over the pace of future interest rate increases. Investors continue to weigh the accelerating pace of economic growth and another strong earnings season against the prospects of higher inflation and interest rates. In economic news, new-home construction for January reached the highest level since October 2016, buoyed by a strong labor market and consumer confidence. In earnings news, a number of consumer stocks reported results for the fourth quarter. Shares of Walmart Inc. tumbled after reporting weak margins and execution issues within its e-commerce business. In addition to a weak quarterly report, fiscal year earnings and margin guidance were reduced by management as the world's largest retailer increases wages and investments in online infrastructure. Campbell Soup shares also moved lower after a disappointing quarterly report as organic growth remains elusive and 2019 looks to be a transition year due to the integration of a large acquisition. Information technology was the best performing sector, led by strong gains from Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and HP Inc., after both names topped analyst expectations and raised future guidance. With around 90% of companies reporting, 74% of names have topped estimates, higher than the 70% average over the past four years. In addition to more companies beating expectations than normal, forecasts for earnings estimates remained relatively flat in the three months leading into earnings versus an average drop of 4% over the past four years, as executives normally talk down expectations to create a lower bar to beat. The implication is that companies not only beat at a higher rate but also overcame a higher bar in the fourth quarter. Looking ahead to next week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before congress. Investors will be focused on any clues about the pace of interest rate hikes. While bond yields do have an impact on prices and can provide a headwind, improving fundamentals in the economy and corporate profits provide the opportunity for future market gains even if bond yields rise.


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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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