Blog

Week-in-Review: Week ending in 07.09.21

The S&P 500 and Dow couldn’t advance for a third week in a row, but small cap stocks were able to extend their streak to three. The Russell 2000 small cap index has gained about +16% in November. For the second week in a row, markets opened on news of a promising new vaccine, only to fade as the week wore on after new coronavirus cases in the U.S. continued to surge and new lockdown measures were announced by various state and local officials.

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After-Tax Contributions – An Old Idea to Solve a Modern Problem

Employees in America are stressed about money. 71% suffer from some level of stress related to their personal finances. Even before the pandemic, 38% of employees didn’t have $1,000 saved up to cover emergency expenses. And 63% have indicated that their stress has increased since the onset of COVID-19. [1] So, what can employers do to help their employees?

Sometimes to solve modern problems, you don’t have to innovate, but simply repurpose old ideas. You see, before 401(k) plans became law in the early 1980s, many employees had access to something called a “thrift plan” as part of their benefits package. These programs allowed employees to save money directly from their paycheck on an after-tax basis into an account, and the earnings would grow tax-deferred. So, how does this help your employees and why is it different from other 401(k) or 403(b) contributions?

After-tax contributions (also called Employee Contributions) enable employees to contribute money to your plan that is easily accessible to them. Unlike pretax and Roth contributions dollars, which are only available for withdrawal under limited circumstances, after-tax contribution dollars can be withdrawn at any time. Since the contributions have already been taxed before they’re deposited, the only taxes paid are on the earnings attributable to the after-tax dollars. Plus, since they are contributed to the plan via payroll deduction, just like your other plan contributions, they’re easy to use, making them a nearly ideal way to help the average employee build up an emergency savings fund.

After-tax contributions are also quite versatile, bringing with them an additional benefit to higher paid employees. While pretax and Roth contributions are subject to an annual cap (i.e., $19,500 for 2021 and $26,000 for those age 50 and over)[2], after-tax contributions are not subject to that limit. Rather they are only subject to the annual plan additions limit, which caps aggregate contributions to defined contribution plans (i.e., $58,000 for 2021, or $64,500 if age 50 or over)[3]. Once an employee reaches the $19,500 limit for the year, they may still contribute to the plan on an after-tax basis. The real magic though comes in the next step. You see, if your plan allows, employees can elect to convert any of their contributions to Roth at any time during the plan year. Employees who make after-tax contributions to the plan and aren’t otherwise interested in taking any future withdrawals from these dollars could instead immediately convert them to Roth contributions, avoiding accumulating any taxable earnings and making them all tax-free at retirement.

Now it’s important to keep in mind that any after-tax contributions are subject to the annual Actual Contribution Percentage (ACP) test, even if you’re plan is safe harbored. However, if your plan employs automatic enrollment and your general employee population are funding after-tax contributions for emergency savings purposes, it’s increasingly unlikely to fail the ACP test. Even if you do fail, most of the dollars refunded will likely be after-tax money anyway, making the refunds relatively benign.

After-tax contributions were forgotten by benefits professionals a long time ago. It may be time to pull them out of the moth balls and repurpose them for a new generation of savers.

Advisory services offered through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC (“PCIA”), a federally registered investment adviser. PCIA: 6201 College Blvd., 7th Floor, Overland Park, KS 66211. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management (“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”).

[1] PwC 9th Annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey©

[2] IRC Section 402(g)

[3] IRC Section 415(c)

Blog COVID-19

Week-in-Review: Week of 07.02.21

The Bottom Line

● U.S. equities reached more record highs after seven straight gains, it best winning streak in 10 months. It was the second straight week of gains for the S&P 500, which is now up in five of the last six weeks.
● The yield on the 10‐year U.S. Treasury dropped 10 basis points, closing at 1.42%. Meanwhile, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose above $75, hitting its highest level since 2018.
● Economic data continued to suggest solid expansion, with strong manufacturing and consumer confidence reports, as well as solid June jobs data that come in higher than expected, but with moderate wage gains.

Stocks rebound from last week’s fall

The S&P 500 posted another solid week of gains with seven consecutive winning sessions, its longest winning streak since August. For the week, the S&P 500 climbed +1.7% and the tech‐heavy Nasdaq Composite rose nearly +2%. The S&P 500 has now risen in five of the past six weeks, while the Nasdaq has gained in six of the past seven weeks. One weak spot for equities was small caps, as the Russell 2000 Index fell ‐1.2%for the week. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose above $75, hitting its highest level since 2018. Signs of solid economic growth continued with June U.S. manufacturing activity from both ISM and Markit coming in at historically high levels and well into expansion territory. Several major banks announced plans to return capital to shareholders in the form of increased dividends and share buybacks following last week’s successful stress test of the sector by the Fed. But the market was particularly enthused by a solid employment report for June that was released on Friday. June nonfarm payrolls easily topped economists forecast. Factory orders also topped estimates and consumer confidence hit its highest level since February 2020, before the pandemic.

Digits & Did You Knows

FEWER BABIES — Despite a year of lockdowns with our spouses/partners, the number of US births fell in 2020 to 3.6 million, the 12th decline in the last 13 years (source: CDC).
TRAVEL — When travel for vacations slowed in the summer of 2020, rental car companies sold off more than 500,000 rental cars just to survive, leading to a shortage of rental cars and higher prices in 2021 (source: CNN, BTN Research).
(POOL) HELP WANTED — U.S. cities don’t have enough lifeguards, e.g., Austin, TX is short 80% of its 750‐lifeguard goal for the summer of 2021. The pandemic shutdown put a freeze on training and certification programs for lifeguards (source: American Lifeguard Association, BTN Research).

Click here to see the full review.

Source: Bloomberg. Asset‐class performance is presented by using market returns from an exchange‐traded fund (ETF) proxy that best represents its respective broad asset class. Returns shown are net of fund fees for and do not necessarily represent performance of specific mutual funds and/or exchange‐traded funds recommended by the Prime Capital Investment Advisors. The performance of those funds may be substantially different than the performance of the broad asset classes and to proxy ETFs represented here. U.S. Bonds (iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF); High‐YieldBond(iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF); Intl Bonds (SPDR® Bloomberg Barclays International Corporate Bond ETF); Large Growth (iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF); Large Value (iShares Russell 1000 ValueETF);MidGrowth(iSharesRussell Mid‐CapGrowthETF);MidValue (iSharesRussell Mid‐Cap Value ETF); Small Growth (iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF); Small Value (iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF); Intl Equity (iShares MSCI EAFE ETF); Emg Markets (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF); and Real Estate (iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF). The return displayed as “Allocation” is a weighted average of the ETF proxies shown as represented by: 30% U.S. Bonds, 5% International Bonds, 5% High Yield Bonds, 10% Large Growth, 10% Large Value, 4% Mid Growth, 4%Mid Value, 2% Small Growth, 2% Small Value, 18% International Stock, 7% Emerging Markets, 3% Real Estate.

Advisory services offered through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC. (“PCIA”), a Registered Investment Adviser. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management (“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”).

© 2021 Prime Capital Investment Advisors, 6201 College Blvd., 7th Floor, Overland Park, KS 66211.

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Inflation: Transitory, Sustained, or Runaway?

 

The buzz word of the year in the financial industry has without a doubt been “transitory.” This is the label that Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, and many leading economists have placed upon the recent surge in inflationary pressure sweeping across the country. While inflation has been somewhat dormant coming out of the financial crisis in ’08-’09, it’s been painfully visible for anyone who has tried to build a deck, buy a used car, or hire new employees in recent months. Inflation can also have major implications for financial markets, as analysts and investors obsess over every word from the Federal Reserve trying to understand exactly when this unprecedented level of “easy” monetary policy will start winding down.

The argument from those in the “transitory” camp would suggest that this bump in prices was inevitable due to the massive disruption in the supply chain from the COVID-related shutdowns, coupled with a surge in demand from consumers as the economy springs back to life. The Federal Reserve sagely began preparing for this scenario almost a year ago, when they shifted their “inflation control” policy to seek an average rate of 2% over the long run, rather than a fixed target, giving themselves the flexibility to keep policy loose (interest rates low) even if inflations should spike for a few months or even a few years.

Those that fear runaway inflation would argue that this new approach could be dangerous. They are concerned that the massive amount of stimulus money sent directly to consumers in the last 12 months, funded by an ever-increasing mountain of debt, will cause prices to spin out of control. The consequence of this, they fear, would be a need for a more drastic movement upward in interest rates, as was seen in the 1980’s. This could indeed cause a severe recession and potentially a sharp decline in real estate prices as affordability would drop overnight.

So which side is correct? We will take a deeper dive into this topic in our quarterly newsletter, but in short, we fall somewhere in the middle. We’ve already seen evidence of cooling in some of the hottest commodities from a few months ago (lumber, copper, etc.). But it’s quite possible that other areas that have seen price increases, such as the cost of labor, might be more sustained. This “elevated” but not “runaway” level of inflation shouldn’t spell disaster for investors, but does require careful consideration in the portfolio construction process. As I mentioned above, stay tuned for more on this topic in the coming weeks, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you would like to discuss your personal thoughts and concerns in more detail.

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Week-in-Review: Week of 06.25.21

The Bottom Line

● Trading remains choppy but volatility dropped as stocks rallied to new record highs and rebounded nicely from last week’s pullback. Gains were broad based with both U.S. and overseas stocks rising across styles and sectors.
● The yield on the 10‐year U.S. Treasury turned higher this week, following Fed Chair Powell’s dovish Capitol Hill testimony, in contrast to the Fed’s hawkish tone the prior week. As a result, the yield curve returned to steepening.
● Economic data continued to suggest solid expansion with stronger than expected growth in the preliminary June manufacturing and services purchase managers indices which hit a new record high of 62.6.

Stocks rebound from last week’s fall

Stocks posted solid weekly gains and set more fresh record highs along the way. The S&P 500 finished at an all‐time high on Friday, capping its best week since February with a +2.7%advance to rebound from last week’s Federal Reserve‐induced pullback. The giant cap Dow Jones Industrial Average rose +3.4%, the small cap Russell 2000 Index popped +4.3%, and the tech‐heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed +2.4%, after hitting an all‐time high on Thursday. As stocks rallied, Treasuries were choppy after last week’s hawkish monetary policy comments by the Fed, while Fed Chairman Jerome Powell was more dovish this week in his Congressional testimony stating the central bank sees no risk of runaway inflation and will support the economy for as long as it takes to complete its recovery. The yield on the 10‐year note rose +8 basis points (bps) over the week to 1.52%. The Treasury yield curve steepened after last week’s unexpected flattening. On Thursday a group of bipartisan Senators and President Biden agreed on a nearly $1 trillion spending package over five years for core infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and mass transit. Economic data continues to suggest solid expansion.

Digits & Did You Knows

STOCKS AND INFLATION — In the last 70 years (1951‐2020), inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been at least +5% in 12 different years, most recently in 1990. The total return for the S&P 500 has been split over those 12 high‐inflation years, rising in 6 and falling in 6. The average total return for the S&P 500 over all 12 years is just+3.2% (source: BTN Research).
FEWER CHOICES — There were 1.16 million existing homes for sale in the U.S. as of 4/30/21, up a bit from the 1.03 million for sale as of 2/28/21, which was the lowest level ever reported for data tracked since 1999 (source: National Association of Realtors, BTN Research).

Click here to see the full review.

Source: Bloomberg. Asset‐class performance is presented by using market returns from an exchange‐traded fund (ETF) proxy that best represents its respective broad asset class. Returns shown are net of fund fees for and do not necessarily represent performance of specific mutual funds and/or exchange‐traded funds recommended by the Prime Capital Investment Advisors. The performance of those funds may be substantially different than the performance of the broad asset classes and to proxy ETFs represented here. U.S. Bonds (iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF); High‐YieldBond(iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF); Intl Bonds (SPDR® Bloomberg Barclays International Corporate Bond ETF); Large Growth (iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF); Large Value (iShares Russell 1000 ValueETF);MidGrowth(iSharesRussell Mid‐CapGrowthETF);MidValue (iSharesRussell Mid‐Cap Value ETF); Small Growth (iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF); Small Value (iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF); Intl Equity (iShares MSCI EAFE ETF); Emg Markets (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF); and Real Estate (iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF). The return displayed as “Allocation” is a weighted average of the ETF proxies shown as represented by: 30% U.S. Bonds, 5% International Bonds, 5% High Yield Bonds, 10% Large Growth, 10% Large Value, 4% Mid Growth, 4%Mid Value, 2% Small Growth, 2% Small Value, 18% International Stock, 7% Emerging Markets, 3% Real Estate.

Advisory services offered through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC. (“PCIA”), a Registered Investment Adviser. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management (“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”).

© 2021 Prime Capital Investment Advisors, 6201 College Blvd., 7th Floor, Overland Park, KS 66211.

Blog

Week-in-Review: Week ending in 06.11.21

The Bottom Line

● U.S. stocks rallied again late in the week, this time enough to set new record highs. The S&P 500 gained + 0.4%, and the small cap Russell 2000 led for the third straight week with a gain of +2.1%.
● On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that consumer inflation jumped +5.0% from last year, the most since August 2008. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, jumped +3.8% ‐‐ the most since 1992.
● Used Vehicle prices are surging, up +4.6% from the previous month, and up +48.2% from a year ago. Prices in all major market segments were significantly higher than a year ago, with pickup trucks leading the price gains.

Stocks start soft, but rise to new highs

U.S. stocks finished mixed in another choppy week of trading following a pattern that has persisted for several weeks in which weakness in the beginning of the week subsides to strength at the end of the week. The S&P 500 posted fresh records on Thursday and Friday. In a counterintuitive market reaction to May Consumer Price Index (CPI) data that was well above expectations, bond yields fell. The yield on the 10‐year U.S. Treasury note dropped ‐10 basis points to 1.45%, its lowest level in a month. Normally one would expect bonds to struggle after such a strong inflation report, but investors must be taking the Fed at its word that they are not close to tapering. One asset that did behave as anticipated given the unexpectedly strong inflation data, was Oil, which ended the week above $70 a barrel for the first time since October 2018, up +95% in the last year. With stocks hitting all‐time highs, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) fell to 15.65, its lowest level since February 20 of 2020. Stocks were up overseas as well, buoyed by eurozone economic growth that contracted less than expected. Plus the WorldBank provided a boost, increasing their Global GDP growth forecast to 5.6% this year, revised up from 4.1%.

Digits & Did You Knows

DISAPPEARING ACT — If you bought a 5‐year U.S. Treasury note this week in June of 2020 (at a yield of around 0.33% at the time), the rise in Consumer Price Index (CPI) – a prominently used gauge of inflation – in one year already outpaced all five years of the interest payments you will receive (source: Bloomberg).
COME FLY WITH ME — There were over 1.8 million airline travelers per day over the last week in the U.S., the highest amount since March 13, 2020. This time in June of 2020 the U.S. was averaging 400,000 per day and at the COVID‐19 low last April, U.S. airline travelers averaged below 100,000 per day (source: TSA.gov, Compound Capital).

Click here to see the full review.

Source: Bloomberg. Asset‐class performance is presented by using market returns from an exchange‐traded fund (ETF) proxy that best represents its respective broad asset class. Returns shown are net of fund fees for and do not necessarily represent performance of specific mutual funds and/or exchange‐traded funds recommended by the Prime Capital Investment Advisors. The performance of those funds may be substantially different than the performance of the broad asset classes and to proxy ETFs represented here. U.S. Bonds (iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF); High‐YieldBond(iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF); Intl Bonds (SPDR® Bloomberg Barclays International Corporate Bond ETF); Large Growth (iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF); Large Value (iShares Russell 1000 ValueETF);MidGrowth(iSharesRussell Mid‐CapGrowthETF);MidValue (iSharesRussell Mid‐Cap Value ETF); Small Growth (iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF); Small Value (iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF); Intl Equity (iShares MSCI EAFE ETF); Emg Markets (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF); and Real Estate (iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF). The return displayed as “Allocation” is a weighted average of the ETF proxies shown as represented by: 30% U.S. Bonds, 5% International Bonds, 5% High Yield Bonds, 10% Large Growth, 10% Large Value, 4% Mid Growth, 4%Mid Value, 2% Small Growth, 2% Small Value, 18% International Stock, 7% Emerging Markets, 3% Real Estate.

Advisory services offered through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC. (“PCIA”), a
Registered Investment Adviser. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management
(“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”).
© 2021 Prime Capital Investment Advisors, 6201 College Blvd., 7th Floor, Overland Park, KS 66211.

Blog

Week-in-Review: Week ending in 06.04.21

The Bottom Line

● U.S. stocks rallied on the week but still couldn’t close above their May 7th all‐time high. The S&P 500 gained + 0.6%, but the small cap Russell 2000 led for the second straight week with an advance of +0.8%.
● On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Nonfarm Payrolls grew by +559,000, but missed expectations for a +675,000 gain. Still, the unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%, better than forecasts of 5.9%.
● Gauges of U.S. manufacturing and services growth from ISM and Markit both showed better‐than‐expected growth, with records from the services sector. The OECD forecasts global growth of +5.8% this year.

Stocks up, but not quite enough…

U.S. stocks were up for the Memorial Day shortened week, with the S&P 500 gaining +0.6%, leaving it just 2.71 points from its May 7th all‐time high. The Russell 2000 small cap index was up +0.8%, while the tech‐heavy Nasdaq Composite gained +0.5%. Friday’s May Employment Report showed a solid acceleration in job growth, but at a pace that was below forecasts. Still the unemployment rate fell to 5.8%from 6.1%, better than expectations of 5.9%. The employment report seemed to cool concerns about the Fed reining in its extremely‐accommodative monetary policy. U.S. Treasuries rose following the employment report, with the yield on 10‐year note falling ‐7 basis points (bps) to 1.55%, down ‐4bps for the week. A Goldilocks economy might be in the making with employment improving, but at a cool enough pace to keep the Fed with its loose monetary policy, but allow economic growth at a hotter pace, like with the May manufacturing and services growth as reported by the ISM and Markit (detailed on the following page). Overseas growth looks good too, as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that the global economy is set to grow +5.8% this year and +4.4% next year.

Digits & Did You Knows

NOT A BIG NUMBER — At its peak, 3.7 million home mortgages (out of 52.4 million nationwide) had requested and received forbearance protection afforded through the CARES Act that was signed into law by President Trump on 3/27/20. As of March 2021, the forbearance mortgage total had fallen to 2.2 million, or just 4.2% of all mortgages (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, BTN Research).
DID YOU NEED IT? — 40.3% of college graduates aged 22 to 27 are working in jobs in which they are “underemployed,” i.e., a job that typically does not require a college degree. Historically, 33.5% of college grads are “underemployed” (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, BTN Research).

Click here to see the full review.

Source: Bloomberg. Asset‐class performance is presented by using market returns from an exchange‐traded fund (ETF) proxy that best represents its respective broad asset class. Returns shown are net of fund fees for and do not necessarily represent performance of specific mutual funds and/or exchange‐traded funds recommended by the Prime Capital Investment Advisors. The performance of those funds may be substantially different than the performance of the broad asset classes and to proxy ETFs represented here. U.S. Bonds (iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF); High‐YieldBond(iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF); Intl Bonds (SPDR® Bloomberg Barclays International Corporate Bond ETF); Large Growth (iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF); Large Value (iShares Russell 1000 ValueETF);MidGrowth(iSharesRussell Mid‐CapGrowthETF);MidValue (iSharesRussell Mid‐Cap Value ETF); Small Growth (iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF); Small Value (iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF); Intl Equity (iShares MSCI EAFE ETF); Emg Markets (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF); and Real Estate (iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF). The return displayed as “Allocation” is a weighted average of the ETF proxies shown as represented by: 30% U.S. Bonds, 5% International Bonds, 5% High Yield Bonds, 10% Large Growth, 10% Large Value, 4% Mid Growth, 4%Mid Value, 2% Small Growth, 2% Small Value, 18% International Stock, 7% Emerging Markets, 3% Real Estate.

Advisory services offered through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC. (“PCIA”), a
Registered Investment Adviser. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management
(“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”).
© 2021 Prime Capital Investment Advisors, 6201 College Blvd., 7th Floor, Overland Park, KS 66211.

Blog COVID-19 Month in Reveiw

Month in Review: May 2021

Quick Takes

● Heavyweight bout. Much of May was a battle between rising inflation fears and growing optimism from the U.S. economic recovery. Overall, though, the data points to an economy, and corporate earnings picture, that remains in an upswing.
● All’s well that ends well? There were no corrections in May, but trading was choppy. In both the second and third weeks of the month the S&P 500 traded more than ‐4% below the May 7th all‐time high, yet closed May just ‐0.7% off the record. In 11 of May’s 20 trading days, VIX was above 20 but ended at 16.8.
● Everybody’s still a winner. For the second straight month all major asset classes had positive returns, although May’s gains were more modest. Both U.S. and developed international equities are up double digits in 2021, and U.S. real estate is up +18.1%.
● Fixed income was flat. Bonds rose in May, but just barely. The best performers were Treasury‐inflation protected securities (TIPS) and investment‐grade bonds. After a rapid rise in Q1, the 10‐year Treasury yield spent April and May almost entirely in a range between 1.5% and 1.75%, closing May at 1.58%.

Asset Class Performance

May was defined by positive, yet modest, gains for all major asset classes. International developed and emerging market equities led in May. International bonds also finished ahead of U.S. bonds as the U.S. dollar fell further.

Vaccinations & Improving Economy Have Investors Smiling

COVID‐19 trends continue to make material improvements on virtually all fronts. The U.S. has administered over 295 million vaccines, with more than 40% of the population now fully vaccinated. The 7‐day average of new positive cases has declined to the lowest levels since the start of the pandemic and are now down ‐94% from their January highs. The 7‐day average of deaths per day is now under 400, ‐88% from their January highs. The percentage of positive COVID‐19 tests in the U.S. fell below 2% for the first time, a new pandemic low. With all the progress on the vaccination and COVID‐19 case fronts states and businesses began to fully reopen. That has resulted in a U.S. economic recovery unlike any in recent history. Consumers have trillions in extra savings and stimulus funds, banks have amassed capital, business are eager to hire and restock inventories, and new businesses are being established at the fastest pace on record. That all has investors in an optimistic mood. Rather than “Sell in May and Go Away”, investors sent the S&P 500 to new all‐time highs on May 7th while the Cboe VIX volatility index fell to 16.7, near its lowest levels since early 2020. But the remainder of May was a battle between the bulls and bears as the speed of the recovery led to bouts of inflationary scares and shortages of goods, raw materials, and workers. Private sector wages and salaries are up a staggering +19.4%in the past year and are now +5.5% above pre‐COVID levels. Consumer spending was the biggest driver of real GDP growth in Q1, including spending increases for motor vehicles and parts that increased +66.2%, durable goods that rose +48.7%, and food services and accommodations

that jumped +26.6%. Gains like those, even off the extraordinarily low bases from the depths of last year’s COVID lockdowns, are bound to create inflation concerns. U.S. stocks pulled back more than ‐4% from the May 7th all‐time highs in both the second and third weeks of the month, and VIX volatility spiked to about 28 and 26 on each of those declines. But in the end the bulls took the victory as investors pushed aside the inflation fears in favor of recovery optimism. The S&P 500 rose +0.7% to post its fourth consecutive positive month, and sixth of the past seven. The small‐cap Russell 2000 index, which is more leveraged to the economic reopening, posted its eighth straight positive month for the first time since 1995.

Importantly, vaccination rates in Europe have picked up after a relatively slow start. That has helped Eurozone economic sentiment improve for four straight months and hit its highest level since 2018.The COVID crisis in India has also made much needed progress with over 190 million vaccines so far administered–only behind the totals of US and China. As a result, those economies are also rebounding nicely. As seen in the chart above, both developed and emerging international PMIs are rising and are well into expansion levels (above 50). The MSCI EAFE Index gained +3.3% in May, outperforming U.S. stocks for the first time in 2021.

Bottom Line: Global equities rallied for the sixth time in seven months as vaccinations helped accelerate the recovery for most countries. Ongoing fiscal stimulus and improving earnings also boosted investor confidence.

Click here to see the full review.

©2021 Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC. The views and information contained herein are (1) for informational purposes only, (2) are not to be taken as a recommendation to buy or sell any investment, and (3) should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice. The information contained herein was obtained from sources we believe to be reliable but is not guaranteed as to its accuracy or completeness. Investing involves risk. Investors should be prepared to bear loss, including total loss of principal. Diversification does not guarantee investment returns and does not eliminate the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of comparable future results.

Source: Bloomberg. Asset‐class performance is presented by using market returns from an exchange‐traded fund (ETF) proxy that best represents its respective broad asset class. Returns shown are net of fund fees for and do not necessarily represent performance of specific mutual funds and/or exchange‐traded funds recommended by the Prime Capital Investment Advisors. The performance of those funds may be substantially different than the performance of the broad asset classes and to proxy ETFs represented here. U.S. Bonds (iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF); High‐YieldBond(iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF); Intl Bonds (SPDR® Bloomberg Barclays International Corporate Bond ETF); Large Growth (iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF); Large Value (iShares Russell 1000 ValueETF);MidGrowth(iSharesRussell Mid‐CapGrowthETF);MidValue (iSharesRussell Mid‐Cap Value ETF); Small Growth (iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF); Small Value (iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF); Intl Equity (iShares MSCI EAFE ETF); Emg Markets (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF); and Real Estate (iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF). The return displayed as “Allocation” is a weighted average of the ETF proxies shown as represented by: 30% U.S. Bonds, 5% International Bonds, 5% High Yield Bonds, 10% Large Growth, 10% Large Value, 4% Mid Growth, 4%Mid Value, 2% Small Growth, 2% Small Value, 18% International Stock, 7% Emerging Markets, 3% Real Estate.

Advisory services offered through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC. (“PCIA”), a
Registered Investment Adviser. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management
(“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”).
© 2021 Prime Capital Investment Advisors, 6201 College Blvd., 7th Floor, Overland Park, KS 66211.

 

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