Is the US economy breaking out of its short-term data tailspin? Maybe. This week has seen some improved news, none more so than new hiring data released this morning. US hiring in March was much better, with the economy creating 196,000 jobs, significantly higher than forecasted and up hugely from February’s barely positive numbers. Wage growth decreased slightly in pace, but was solid at 3.2%. The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.8%.
FINSUM: This could mean the weak data recently was just a blip and things are still on course. The data is lining up to show this might have been a big bond market overreaction…
In what is looking like a big win for broker-dealers and the entire anti-fiduciary rule countermovement, one of the big pro-Fiduciary states just had its plan resoundingly rejected. Maryland, who has made a splash in the wealth management world recently by announcing a new fiduciary rule push, just had its efforts all but obliterated by its own Senate Finance Committee. 10 out of 11 members on the committee voted against the rule (the eleventh person was excused from needing to vote), effectively ending the push for now.
FINSUM: What we are really hoping for is that the SEC is able to come up with a rule that makes states happy so that we do not end up with different rules in every part of the country, further fragmenting our financial landscape.
JP Morgan is telling investors to get ready for a “new normal” of volatility. The bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon is warning investors that global headwinds and liquidity constraints because of tighter regulations will mean there are bigger price swings in markets from now on. Dimon cited the Fed’s policy change, Germany’s slowdown, Brexit, and the US-China trade war.
FINSUM: We are so tired of this argument that tighter bank regulation hurts liquidity and leads to bigger market swings. Bank-provided liquidity is the great myth of the post-Dodd-Frank era. When markets get tough, bank trading desks often step away from the market, meaning liquidity vanishes just when you need it most.
The whole market has been on recession watch mode lately. The Fed has gone seriously dovish and weak economic data seems to be emerging by the day. However, some good news, at last: US jobless data just clocked in at the lowest level in 50 years, showing that the labor market is still tight. The numbers were in contrast to economists’ estimates for higher claims. Claims have fallen this far recently, but been revised higher later.
FINSUM: This is good news but it may not be indicative of much as this data could be slightly behind the hiring numbers, which have been weak recently.
The press has a complicated relationship with annuities. On the one hand, some investors love them and the relative predictability they offer, while on the other, there are loads of stories of abuse. That said, they still have utility for investors, and with that in mind, here is a list of some of the best across six different categories. For immediate income, Minnesota Life has some well rated products with good payouts. Penn Mutual Life and Lincoln National Life also have strong offerings. For deferred income annuities there are some other providers to check out, including Symetra Life, CUNA Mutual, Principal Financial, and Guardian Life.
FINSUM: Guaranteed income at certain life thresholds is a valuable proposition for clients, it is the irresponsible way in which they have sometimes been sold that raises issues. This article lists some good candidates.