Tariffs Take Center Stage, U.S. data signals solid growth
QUARTER IN BRIEF
At the end of 2018, economists and journalists may look back on the second quarter and see the moment when a global trade war began. Whether one is truly underway or not, the fact is that Q2 was a good quarter for equities. The S&P 500 gained 2.93% in three months, and while the blue chips had their struggles, tech shares ascended once again. Many foreign benchmarks also had a good quarter, even as the Trump administration’s planned import taxes on U.S. trading partners drew tariffs in kind and bred pessimism overseas. Our labor market and manufacturing and service industries continued to look healthy, and consumer confidence and spending reports were largely encouraging. Existing home sales tailed off. Oil made quite a comeback, aided by supply concerns. It was a quarter in which relatively strong economic data was overshadowed by a shift in the playing field for global trade.