Stock market volatility belies strength of U.S. economy, experts say

The stock market roller-coaster ride of the past month may not be fun for investors, but it doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience either, financial advisers across the region said.

Investor worries about stock market volatility are understandable, advisers told the Tribune-Review, but those should be balanced against the multiple signs of a growing U.S. economy.

“The stock market is not really a good predictor of the economy at all. The economy is doing quite well and has been for the past year or two,” said Kurt Rankin, PNC Financial Services Group economist.

Rankin pointed to positive indicators such as a low unemployment rate, low inflation, wage growth, business investment, consumer confidence and a robust holiday shopping season.

On Friday, the National Retail Federation said retail jobs in December grew by 37,600 compared with the same month in 2017, even as the nation added 312,000 jobs overall. Average hourly earnings rose by 84 cents over the previous year.

“Consumers may not feel that great about the economy, but they’re still spending money,” Rankin said.

After Apple reported Thursday that iPhone sales in China are slumping, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 660 points and the broader S&P 500 index fell 2.5 percent.

The stock market saw its highest-ever closing of 26,828.39 on Oct. 3. On Friday, the Dow closed at 23,433.16.

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s comments echoed the concerns that have pushed investors to flee the stock market over the last three months. Many overseas indexes posted their worst year in a decade amid concerns about the global economy and the prospect of further U.S. interest rate increases.

Brad Roth, president of Kattan Ferretti Financial LP in Greensburg, agreed that the stock market is a poor measure of economic health, but its performance is a “leading indicator of future

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