Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through August 20th

US stocks ended the week lower, snapping four weeks of gains for the S&P 500, as recent comments from central bank officials put the possibility of continued aggressive rate increases back in focus. The S&P 500 fell 1.2% and the Dow was lower by 0.2% for the week. Foreign markets were also lower with the FTSE All World Ex US down 1.9% for the week. US crude ended the week lower finishing at $90.77 per barrel, down from $92.09 the week prior. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ended the week at 2.99% up from 2.85% the week prior.

Fed officials agreed at their July meeting they needed to keep raising rates enough to lower inflation and some stated they are considering support for another large interest-rate increase at the central bank’s policy meeting next month. Fed officials commented that once the fed-funds rate had reached a sufficiently restrictive level, it likely would be appropriate to maintain that level for some time to ensure that inflation was firmly on a path back to the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

Sales of existing homes in the US fell for the sixth straight month in July, the longest streak of declines in over eight years, as higher mortgage rates continue to cool the housing market.

The U.K.’s annual inflation rate hit 10.1% in July up from 9.4% in June. The Bank of England estimates that it could reach as high as 13% by the end of the year.

China unexpectedly cut two key interest rates in response to data showing economic activity slowed across the board in July.

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