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Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Laif Meidell

Economy picking up, but hiring remains slow

Economy picking up, but hiring remains slow

By Laif Meidell, CMT, president of American Wealth Management, and portfolio manager of the AdvisorShares Meidell Tactical Advantage ETF (MATH)

Economic reports on Monday indicated there was accelerated growth in the nonmanufacturing sector during the month of April, with the Institute for Supply Management Non-Manufacturing index for April coming in at 55.2, nearly two points above the prior month. (Any reading above 50 indicates expansion) The nonmanufacturing ISM surveys more than 375 firms from numerous sectors across the United States.

Notable portions of the report indicated an increase in new orders, as well as export growth, particularly in the information and management services. However, despite the rise in orders and business activity, ISM’s nonmanufacturing sample did not hire this past month, or at least not very much. This indicates the economy is picking up steam but not enough to force business to add new employees.

Palladium and agricultural commodities remain at or near the top of our commodity list for another week, with the S&P GSCI Palladium index gaining 1.97 percent over the past five trading days and the S&P GSCI Softs index higher by 1.07 percent over the same time period. For comparison purposes, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.81 percent over the past five trading days.

The strong performance of gold over the past week is drawing some attention, while putting it also near the top of our list. The recent escalating conflict in the Ukraine is lifting safe harbor investments like gold. Over the past five trading days, the S&P GSCI Gold index is up by 0.79 percent, particularly due to pro-Russian separatists conducting disruptive military operations across the Ukrainian countryside, in addition to taking control of several Ukrainian government buildings. The Ukrainian military has responded in force, with some casualties and numerous injuries.

This commentary originally published in the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Performance numbers used in this article were obtained through eSignal and are not guaranteed to be accurate.

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