Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through March 10th

Stocks surged over the week on reduced fears over a global trade war as well as a strong jobs report.  The S&P 500 soared 3.5% and the Dow rose 3.3% for the week.  Abroad, Japan climbed 1.4% and Europe jumped 3.1% for the week.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury ended the week at 2.89%, up slightly over the past week.  Article

US employers hired 313,000 workers in February the largest monthly gain since July 2016.  Over 800,000 people joined the workforce and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%.  Wage growth eased from the prior month rising 2.6% and January wage growth was revised down as well reducing investors’ concerns on inflation and the speed at which the Fed may act.   Article

Tariffs were approved on steel and aluminum, but Trump suggested that a number of countries could be spared and has excluded Canada and Mexico to start.   Article

Trump’s top economic advisor Gary Cohn announced he was resigning after the president had announced plans to implement tariffs on steel and aluminum.  Cohn had been a chief voice of opposition to the plan.

Mortgage rates reached their highest level since 2014 with the 30 year fixed mortgage rate reaching 4.46%.  It is up from 3.95% to start the year.

AXA said it was buying insurer XL group for $15.3 billion.

Cigna agreed to buy Express Scripts for $52 billion. 


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