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Stocks Keep Climbing – What Could Slow this Market Down?

Stocks barely budged last week, but the S&P 500 nevertheless managed a small gain to establish another new closing high at 2184. It was the sixth weekly advance in the past seven, leaving the index 6.9 percent higher on the year. It mattered little that July retail sales were flat, or that consumer sentiment in August was as well or even that producer prices declined. The softer data apparently only reinforced the view that the Fed will remain on the sidelines for longer and that trumps everything else.


Stocks Reach Record Highs as Valuations Climb

Stocks in the U.S. closed at another record high last week after the economy showed further evidence of firming. For the second straight month, the number of newly created jobs exceeded all expectations and provided convincing evidence that the weak May report was, indeed, an aberration. Along with recent reports on manufacturing and service activity, industrial production, and vehicle sales, the evidence seems to suggest that the economy is off to a better start in the third quarter, closer to double the pace of the disappointing first half. The firmer data has also rekindled the debate over whether the Fed may come back into the picture sooner than previously expected.


New Questions Emerge About the Strength of the Economy

The rise in stock prices since February has lifted valuations to their highest level since the financial crisis. It is now time for economic fundamentals to show that such optimism is justified. Such proof was expected to begin to emerge with last week’s second quarter GDP report. What we got instead was a surprisingly weak estimate that was less than half the pace expected. Thankfully, consumer spending held up well, since it received no help from the business sector, which continued to liquidate inventories and postpone capital investment. Government spending even declined.

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Latest Research

Boomers: How will you pay yourself in retirement?

New Ameriprise research uncovered differences between how retirees and pre-retirees are designing their retirement income plan. Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial strategy, discusses the findings.