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Have the Fed’s Attempts at Transparency Become Counterproductive?

The big news last week was, of course,  the September labor market report, which showed the economy having created 156,000 new non-farm jobs, slightly fewer than expected, while the unemployment rate edged higher to 5.0 percent as more people looked for work. The question on everyone’s mind was what impact the report would have on expectations for the next Fed rate hike. As it turns out, those expectations rose fractionally for an expected rate hike at the Fed’s December meeting, to 64.3 percent after the report, up from 63.6 percent the day prior. There was a similar move higher regarding the February, 2017 meeting from 65.9 to 67.2 percent. In other words, the report was just good enough to keep expectations on track for a year-end rate hike.

What Can We Expect in Q4?

The S&P 500 ended the third quarter with a gain of 3.3 percent. It was the best quarter of the year, and leaves the index higher by 6.1 percent. Far and away the best performing sector was technology, with a gain in excess of 10 percent. Industrials and financial stocks had gains of 4.0 percent. At the opposite end telecom, utilities and consumer staples stocks suffered losses. It’s worth noting that all of the third quarter’s gains for the broader index came in July. Stocks were fractionally lower in both August and September. Even technology, the only sector to post a positive return in each of the quarter’s three months, enjoyed 70 percent of its gains in July.

Politics and Policy Take Hold of Markets

Last week the focus was on central bank policy. This week that focus will shift back toward economic fundamentals and politics, and investors may not be entirely comfortable with what they see.

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Latest Research

Keys to a successful financial relationship for couples

Money is a common topic that can cause disagreements between couples. A new Ameriprise study reveals strategies to help you improve your financial relationship with your partner or spouse.