2016 Charts of the Week

5 Investment Resolutions for 2017

Posted December 30, 2016

It's a popular time of the year to start thinking about New Year's resolutions. Here at ICMA-RC, we offer you 5 investment ideas to consider for 2017 resolutions.

Quarterly U.S. State Tax Revenue Change

Posted December 23, 2016

On a quarterly basis, the U.S. Census Bureau publishes an estimate of aggregate state tax revenues at the national level. There are four major categories in the data; sales taxes, personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, and taxes on natural resource extraction.

Odds of Positive Monthly Returns in the S&P 500

Posted December 16, 2016

December is the month with the highest percentage of positive equity monthly returns at 75% and September is the lowest month with 44%. December 2016 is off to a good start as equities are up 3.31% for month through December 13th. For the quarter through December 13th, equites have returned 4.77%. Generally improving economic conditions and a positive reaction to the November election results have been two drivers of the recent strong equity performance. Interestingly, the average month has a 60% chance of earning a positive monthly return in equities.

The True Cost of the "Twelve Days of Christmas"

Posted December 9, 2016

Since 1984, PNC Wealth Management ("PNC") has tracked the cost of the goods and services given as gifts in the classic "Twelve Days of Christmas" holiday song. For 2016, many prices were unchanged. The Turtle Doves had the largest price increase at $85 (29.3% increase) due to a shortage of doves and the Pipers Piping and Drummers Drumming each increased 2.8% due to higher wages. The only price decrease was the Partridge, which declined $5 (20%), the cost of the Pear Tree was unchanged. The overall 2016 cost was $155,508 for the gifts detailed in the verses of the song, including every repetition, which is a 0.7% increase from 2015. The increase was less than the U.S. Consumer Price Index year-over-year increase, which stood at 1.6 % through October 2016.

S&P/Case Shiller U.S. National Home Index

Posted December 2, 2016

A "yield curve" plots yields of similar-quality bonds against their maturities, ranging from shortest to longest. By showing the relationship between the yields and the time to maturity, investors are able to compare the yields offered by short-term, medium-term, and long-term bonds. The yield curve may also suggest insights into investors' expectations for inflation and economic growth across different time periods. The closely watched U.S. Treasury yield curve is shown above.

U.S. Treasury Yield Curve

Posted November 25, 2016

A "yield curve" plots yields of similar-quality bonds against their maturities, ranging from shortest to longest. By showing the relationship between the yields and the time to maturity, investors are able to compare the yields offered by short-term, medium-term, and long-term bonds. The yield curve may also suggest insights into investors' expectations for inflation and economic growth across different time periods. The closely watched U.S. Treasury yield curve is shown above.

CBOE Volatility Index

Posted November 18, 2016

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index ("VIX") is a key measure of investor expectations for equity market volatility risk over the forward 30-day period. It is considered a good barometer of investor sentiment and is often referred to as the "fear" index. A high VIX level is generally associated with a period of increased volatility and uncertainty in the market, while a lower level corresponds to less volatility and less stress in the market.

U.S. Consumer Credit

Posted November 11, 2016

On a monthly basis, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board publishes data on consumer credit based on a survey of commercial banks, consumer finance companies, credit unions, and retailers. The report represents loans for households, for financing purchases of goods and services as well as refinancing existing consumer debt. The two categories of debt recorded are revolving and non-revolving. The chart above shows the monthly change in the amount of credit (in billions) from October 2015 through September 2016.

U.S. Personal Income and Spending

Posted November 4, 2016

On a monthly basis the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes data on U.S. consumers' income and spending. The Income Report measures household income received from employment and investments. The Spending Report measures expenditures on durable and non-durable goods and services. The chart above shows the monthly percentage change after inflation for each measure from October 2015 through September 2016.

Fixed Income Sector Performance (Total Return as of 9/30/16)

Posted October 28, 2016

The fixed income market includes many different types of securities and performance can vary substantially among them. The chart above compares the performance of 11 major fixed income sectors for the 1-year periods ended September 30, 2016 (“current year” — dark blue bars above) and September 30, 2015 (“prior year” — light blue bars above). All 11 fixed income sectors shown produced positive returns for the current year while eight of the 11 sectors produced positive returns in the prior year.

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