July stock markets managed to hang on to early gains and closed the month strongly. International stocks joined U.S. large company stocks in a month that moved stocks forward. Nearly all sectors of the market gained in July. Municipal bonds began trending up in July, although corporate and treasury bonds still feel the pressure of a strong stock market and rising interest rates. The benefits of diversified investing shine when stocks are volatile as they were earlier this year.
With the beginning of the new Fed era under Chairman Powell in February, a divergence has grown between the U.S. economy and the rest of the world. The U.S. economy is strengthening and other economies have weakened in recent months. This can come across as the U.S. being a bully when the Fed is just doing the right thing for our economy. The trade skirmishes have had little effect on world economies so far. Stock prices may yet continue to peak before we tip into a major correction.
Long summer days shrink imperceptibly at first. We can ignore the locusts when they begin to hum their scratchy song. Soon enough nights will offer cool respite from hot days. Lilies and bee balm, phlox and echinacea color the sweltering days in bright lights. A splashy shower in the fountain is as welcome as food for the birds. It is cooling just to watch them.