Investment Review – October 2018

October 17, 2018 Investment Review

  1. U.S. stocks rose for the sixth straight month in September, ending near all-time highs and helping the benchmark index post the biggest quarterly gain (7.2%) in five years. Strong earnings growth and a range of positive economic data in the U.S. helped investors tune out political risk. This fueled the outperformance of domestic stocks over global markets in recent months.

  2. The S&P 500 finished 0.44% higher for September. The Dow Jones 30 rose 2.45% while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.7%, having already climbed over 17% year-to-date.

  3. Stock market buybacks and dividends have posted record numbers so far this year. S&P 500 Index companies spent a record $191 billion on buybacks in Q2 18, up 58% year-over-year. Dividends also increased, but not to the same extent. Total buybacks and dividends for the year ending June 2018 jumped 19.1% to a record $1 trillion, with nearly three-quarters of the increase from buybacks — a significant tailwind for EPS and stock prices in 2018.

Key Investment Statistics October 2018

Sources: Bloomberg LLC, FactSetU.S. Department of LaborDow Jones MarketWatch

Disclosure: This commentary reflects the opinions of Welch & Forbes based on information that we believe to be reliable. It is intended for informational purposes only, and not to suggest any specific performance or results, nor should it be considered investment, financial, tax or other professional advice. It is not an offer or solicitation.

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