Why You Need a Will
February began on a high note as investors drew encouragement from strong fourth-quarter earnings reports and encouraging employment data. However, news was not all positive. The COVID-related death toll in the United States reached 500,000. Nevertheless, two vaccines were rolled out last month, and a third one was released in March.
While rhetoric surrounding additional fiscal stimulus continued throughout the month, February saw no congressional deal reached. However, the Federal Reserve continued to offer assurances that continued accommodative measures would remain in place for the foreseeable future.
February saw crude oil and gasoline prices surge. COVID-19 hit economies hard and restricted travel, which limited the demand for oil and gas. In response, several oil-producing countries slashed oil production. However, despite economies gradually recovering and travel picking up, oil-producing nations have been slow to increase production, causing crude oil and gas prices to climb.
Last month also offered more evidence that the economy is slowly regaining some positive momentum. The employment report included the addition of about 50,000 new jobs. The number of unemployed continues to drop, but remains significantly above pre-pandemic levels. The fourth-quarter GDP advanced 4.1%. Industrial production advanced for a second consecutive month, and the housing sector maintained impressive strength.
Despite closing the month on a downturn, stocks ended February in the black. The small caps of the Russell 2000 added 6.1%, followed by the Global Dow, the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 remains well ahead of its 2020 closing value, followed by the Global Dow, the Nasdaq, the S&P 500, and the Dow.
The market sectors ended the month mixed, with energy advancing 16.1%, followed by financials (8.4%), real estate (3.2%), industrials (3.2%), and communication services (2.6%). Both consumer discretionary and utilities lost 5.9%. Health care dropped 3.6%, followed by information technology (-2.5%), consumer staples (-1.4%), and materials (-0.2%).
The yield on 10-year Treasuries gained 37 basis points. The dollar inched ahead, and crude oil prices surged past $60.00 per barrel after climbing over 18.0% in February. Gold fell for the second consecutive month.
The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $2.633 on February 22, $0.241 higher than the January 25 selling price of $2.392, and $0.078 more than a year ago.
|MARKET/INDEX||AS OF 2/26||PRIOR MONTH||2020 CLOSE||MONTHLY CHANGE||YTD CHANGE|
|FED. FUNDS||0.00%-0.25%||0.00%-0.25%||0.00%-0.25%||0 BPS||0 BPS|
|10-YEAR TREASURIES||1.46%||1.09%||0.91%||37 BPS||55 BPS|
Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.
The Consumer Price Index climbed 0.3% in January after advancing 0.2% (revised) in December. This is the largest monthly gain since August 2020. Over the 12 months ended in January, the CPI rose 1.4%. The increase in the index was driven by a 7.4% increase in gasoline prices. The food prices rose marginally in January, edging up just 0.1%. The CPI less food and energy prices was unchanged in January, but is up 1.4% over the past 12 months. In January, prices for apparel rose 2.2% (0.9% in December), while prices for new vehicles and used cars and trucks dropped 0.5% and 0.9%, respectively.
Prices that producers receive for goods and services advanced 1.3% in January — the largest monthly increase in the history of the index. Producer prices increased 1.7% for the 12 months ended in January 2021, which is the largest yearly gain since climbing 2.0% for the 12 months ended in January 2020. Producer prices less foods, energy, and trade services rose for the ninth consecutive month after advancing 1.2% in January. Food prices increased 0.2% in January, while energy prices climbed 5.1%.
The economy continues to show signs of recovery. Decreasing numbers of COVID cases and increasing distribution of vaccines provide some measure of optimism that some semblance of normalcy is approaching. Focus will be on the FOMC, which met in March for the first time since January. The Committee could project a timeline for scaling back the quantitative easing that has been in place for more than a year.
Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI, Cushing, OK); http://www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 largest, publicly traded companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. The U.S. Dollar Index is a geometrically weighted index of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to six foreign currencies. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.
Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.
To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
MMBB is not registered as an investment adviser with either the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or any state securities regulator. MMBB does not receive compensation with respect to non-MMBB plan assets from any party for any advice given, referral made or transaction ultimately undertaken on account thereof. Neither MMBB, any affiliate thereof, nor MMBB's [plans] are subject to registration, regulation, or reporting under the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 or state securities laws, and, therefore, plan participants and their beneficiaries and other persons receiving investment advice from MMBB will not be afforded the protections thereof. All persons should consider carefully the risks attendant to any investment as the value of such investments, and the income, if any, derived therefrom, may increase or decrease and may result in a loss of principal invested. The past performance of any investment or financial product is not a guarantee of future performance. You should consult with your own accountant or tax adviser as to the tax ramifications of entering into, holding or exiting any investment. MMBB is not offering or soliciting any transaction in any security nor is any information or advice intended for distribution to any person in any jurisdiction where doing so would result in contravention of any applicable laws, rules or regulations.
A Message for MMBB Members
The MMBB Retirement Plans recordkeeping transition to Fidelity is complete. Currently only MMBB members with a balance in their retirement account are eligible to register for the MMBB Member Portal. If you don’t have a balance in your MMBB retirement account no action is required at this time.
Eligible members who have not yet registered will receive an invitation including a unique URL to set up their Member Portal credentials. Thank you.
You will be linking to another website not owned or operated by MMBB. MMBB is not responsible for the availability or content of this website and does not represent either the linked website or you, should you enter into a transaction. The inclusion of any hyperlink does not imply any endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by MMBB of any information in any hyperlinked site. We encourage you to review their privacy and security policies which may differ from MMBB.
If you “Proceed”, the link will open in a new window.