Americans are passionate about taxes. We have reason to be. In recent years, Americans have spent more on taxes than on food, clothing, and housing combined.1
Trade tensions reached a new pitch Friday when the Trump administration announced a 25% tariff on all exports from Mexico by October, shares Washington Policy Analyst Ed Mills. Further, China released a white paper over the weekend that Mills and his team view as a signal toward a prolonged U.S.-China trade war. This follows President Trump raising the 10% tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% and his threats to impose further tariffs on an additional $300 billion or so in Chinese goods, explains Raymond James Chief Economist Scott Brown. It doesn’t appear that trade tensions will abate soon, he adds, as the U.S. has begun to restrict access for specific companies, such as Huawei, while China has threatened to cut off access to its market for rare earth minerals. These are critical to the production of technology goods, and China controls 80% of the world’s supply.
On the back of solid first-quarter earnings results and healthy economic data releases, the S&P 500 continued its remarkable move higher and closed at a record high for the first time since September 2018, shares Chief Investment Officer Larry Adam. To put the strength of the rally into perspective, the S&P 500 is now up 17.5% year-to-date through April 30, which marks the best start to a year since 1975 and the second best over the last 75 years, he said.
Economic reports that were delayed due to the government shutdown have trickled in to reveal the economy slowed a bit more than expected in early 2019, reports Raymond James Chief Economist Scott Brown. However, the recent conclusion of the Mueller investigation with no pending indictments should serve as a market positive, according to Ed Mills, Raymond James managing director and Washington policy analyst.