Who We Are

What We Do

We provide investment banking, research, sales and trading, asset and wealth management, public finance, insurance, private capital, and family office services.

About Us

We are a family-owned financial services firm that values client relationships, long-term stability, and supporting the communities where we live and work.

The Stephens Story

The idea of family defines our culture, because each of us knows that our reputation is on the line as if our own name was on the door.

Leadership

Our reputation as a leading independent financial services firm is built on the stability of our longstanding and highly experienced senior executives.

Impact Initiatives

We are committed to corporate philanthropy; economic and financial literacy advocacy; and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Our Brand Ambassadors

Stephens is proud to sponsor the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, and PGA TOUR Champions careers, as well as applaud the philanthropic endeavors, of our Brand Ambassadors.

Making Connections

We host many highly informative meetings each year with clients, industry decision makers, and thought leaders across the U.S. and in Europe.

Our Businesses

Capital Management

We provide fiduciary investment strategies to public-and private-sector institutional clients through asset allocation, consulting, and retirement services.

Fixed Income Sales & Trading

Decades of proven performance and experience in providing tailored fixed income trading and underwriting services to major municipal and corporate issuers.

Institutional Equities and Research

Proven industry-leading research, global market insights, and client-focused execution.

Insurance

Customized risk management, property & casualty, executive strategies and employee benefits solutions that protect our clients over the long term.

Investment Banking

We assist companies with accessing capital through innovative advisory and execution services that help firms achieve their strategic goals.

Private Capital

We have been a trusted and reliable source of capital for private companies for over 70 years.

Private Wealth Management

Our experienced Private Client Group professionals develop customized investment strategies to help clients achieve their financial goals.

Public Finance

We are a trusted municipal advisor with proven expertise in public financings. We also work with clients in negotiated and competitive municipal underwritings.

Market Trends

Weekly Economic Review | August 22, 2022

Aug 22, 2022

Economic Review

The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims declined for the first time in three weeks, signaling that companies continue to retain workers. While the labor market is solid, firms are getting more successful in hiring and retaining workers and under less pressure to raise wages. Claims in regular state programs decreased 2,000 to 250,000 for the week ending August 13th, after reporting a downwardly revised 252,000 initial claims the prior week. The four-week moving average fell to 246,750 from 249,500 the prior week. The total number of people continuing to receive regular ongoing state benefits, a report which is lagged one week, increased 7,000 to 1.437 million for the week ending August 6th.

The New York Federal Reserve reported the Empire State Manufacturing Index, which is one of the first signals for factory sector activity, plunged to near the lowest level on record in August. New orders, an indicator of future demand, and shipments tumbled. The index recorded a negative 31.3 in August after a positive 11.1 reading in July. Readings below zero signal contraction in New York, northern New Jersey, and southern Connecticut.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo reported housing sentiment declined for the eighth straight month. The loss in builder confidence reflects a drop in new construction activity as high mortgage rates, costs of materials and labor and elevated home affordability challenge the housing market. The index of builder sentiment fell to 49 in August from 55 last month.

The Commerce Department reported that housing starts continued to decline in July, falling to its lowest level since early 2021. The combination of high mortgage rates, a weakening economy and high inflation has pushed many potential homebuyers out of the market, leaving builders with a growing number of unsold properties. Housing starts fell 9.6% in July to a 1,446,000 annualized rate following June’s 1,599,000 pace. Single-family starts retreated 10.1% in July with multi-family starts decreasing 8.6%. Building permits, a gauge of future construction, fell 1.3% in July to a 1,674,000 pace.

The Federal Reserve reported industrial production, which includes factory production, mines and utilities, rose in July. The biggest driver of strength in manufacturing was an increase in auto production. Auto production has been volatile due to semiconductor shortages. Industrial production jumped 0.6% in July after remaining unchanged in June. Production at factories, which make up 74.3% of output, rose 0.7% in July after declining 0.4% the previous month. Utilities declined 0.8% after falling 0.3% in June and mining gained 0.7%. Capacity utilization, which measures the amount of a plant that is in use, increased to 80.3% in July from 79.9% the prior month.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales were unchanged in July, but a quick dig in the details shows retail spending is solid. The sharp decline in gasoline prices and a decline in auto sales offset gains in online shopping and a shift in spending towards services. The data showed department stores were starting to discount prices to shed bloated inventories. While consumer sentiment is now firmly in recession territory, consumers are not following through on their feelings. They are spending based on their finances, which are still very healthy. Retail sales remained unchanged in July after a downwardly revised gain of 0.8% in June. July retail sales are up 8.6% year-on-year. Retail sales ex autos and gas climbed 0.7% in July after increasing 0.7% in June.

The Commerce Department reported business inventories increased 1.4% in June after gaining 1.6% in May. Business sales increased 1.3% in June after climbing 1.0% the prior month. The ratio of business inventories to sales remained unchanged at 1.30 in June.

The FOMC Minutes for the July 26-27th meeting showed inflation concerns remain the primary concern to the Fed. As for the economy, the members noted that spending and production had softened, but that employment continues to be robust. The minutes stated that inflation remains elevated, reflecting supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher food and energy prices and broader prices pressures. The FOMC report also stated that inflation remains unacceptably high and was well above the committee’s long run goal of 2.00%.

The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales fell in July for the sixth straight month, a new cycle low. Sales are now 26% below the cycle peak set in January. Fed policy tightening is clearly having an impact on the housing sector. Housing inventories are rising slowly and housing price inflation is cooling, but homes are still selling in record time. Contract closings, which usually occur a month or two after a contract is signed, decreased 5.9% in July to a 4.81 million pace after dropping 5.5% in June. The median selling price decreased to $403,800 from $413,800 in June.

The Conference Board reported the index of leading economic indicators declined 0.4% in July, the fifth straight drop. The loss was led by a decline in consumer expectations, a drop in new orders and increasing jobless claims. The index of U.S. leading indicators is a gauge of the economic outlook for the next three to six months. The coincident index, a gauge of current economic activity, climbed 0.4% in July after gaining 0.7% in June.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the MBA index of mortgage applications fell last week after two weeks of gains. The index decreased 2.3% for the week ending August 12th, after climbing 0.2% the previous week. Refinancing applications decreased 5.4% to 627.1 from 662.9 the prior week. Home purchase mortgage applications decreased 0.8% to 203.8. Refinancing made up 31.2% of applications with an average loan size of $271,600, while purchases average loan size was $410,900. The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged lower to 5.45% from 5.47% last week.

BOND MARKET REVIEW

Friday’s yields for the 2-, 5-, 10- & 30-year Treasury benchmarks securities were 3.23%, 3.09%, 2.97% and 3.21%. The 2yr/5yr, 5yr/10yr, 10yr/30yr and 2yr/30yr spreads closed at -14, -12, 24, and -2 basis points respectively.

Economic/Events Calendar

Monday

August 22

Jul Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index (-0.25)

7:30 Central

Tuesday

August 23

Jul New Home Sales (575k)

7:30 Central

Wednesday

August 24

Aug 19th MBA Mortgage Applications

6:00 Central

Jul Durable Goods Orders (0.8%)

7:30 Central

Jul Durables Ex Transportation (0.2%)

7:30 Central

Jul Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air (0.3%)

7:30 Central

Jul Pending Home Sales (-2.5%)

9:00 Central

Thursday

August 25

Aug 20th Initial Jobless Claims (252k)

7:30 Central

2nd Qtr GDP-2nd Est (-0.7%)

7:30 Central

2nd Qtr GDP Price Index-2nd Est (8.7%)

7:30 Central

2nd Qtr Personal Consumption-2nd Est (1.5%)

7:30 Central

Friday

August 26

Jul Goods Trade Balance (-$98.5b)

7:30 Central

Jul Personal Income (0.6%)

7:30 Central

Jul Personal Spending (0.4%)

7:30 Central

Jul PCE Deflator-YOY (6.4%)

7:30 Central

Jul Wholesale Inventories (1.3%)

7:30 Central

Jul Retail Inventories (1.3%)

7:30 Central

Aug University of Michigan Sentiment (55.3)

9:00 Central

About the Expert

Troy Clark

Senior Vice President, Fixed Income Strategist, Fixed Income Sales & Trading

Mr. Clark has been in investment banking since 1983. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He has been a fixed income strategist at Stephens Inc. since 1996, developing investment strategies, policies and procedures for institutions consistent with overall asset/liability management.

Read full bio
Source: Bloomberg L.P.
  1. This report has been prepared solely for informative purposes as of its stated date and is not a solicitation, or an offer, to buy or sell any security. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the individual expressing the opinion and are subject to change. This report does not purport to be a complete description of the markets or developments referred to in the material. Information included in the report was obtained from internal and external sources which we consider reliable, but we have not independently verified such information and do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Prices, yields, and availability are subject to change with the market. There is no assurance any forward looking statements will be realized or any of the trends mentioned will continue. Nothing in this report is intended, or should be construed, as legal, accounting, regulatory or tax advice. Additional information available upon request. 2022 Stephens Inc., Member NYSE/SIPC.