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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

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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.

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

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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 | February 28, 2022

Feb 28, 2022
  • The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims fell last week, reversing the previous weeks increase and continuing the declining trend. Demand for labor remains strong and job openings are plentiful. Claims in regular state programs decreased 17,000 to 232,000 for the week ending February 19th, after reporting 249,000 initial claims the prior week. The four-week moving average declined to 236,250 from 243,500 the prior week. The total number of people continuing to receive regular ongoing state benefits, a report which is lagged one week, fell 112,000 to 1.476 million for the week ending February 12th.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported a gain of 1.2% in the house price index of purchaseonly homes in December after climbing 1.2% in November. The year-on-year change in the house price index was 17.6% in December. The HPI is estimated using repeated observations of housing values for single-family homes on which at least two mortgages were originated and subsequently sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. The use of repeat transactions on the same unit helps to control for differences in the quality of the houses.
  • The S&P CoreLogic CaseShiller home price index increased 1.46% in December after gaining 1.20% in November. We continue to see strong growth with limited housing inventory. The index climbed 18.56% in December from the same month in 2020. The index tracks changes in the value of homes in 20 metropolitan regions.
  • The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index declined in February to its lowest level since September as concerns about inflation and the impact of the Ukraine conflict more than offset the benefits of the fading impact of the Omicron variant. The index recorded a 110.5 in February from a downwardly revised 111.1 reading in January. The present situation index increased to 145.1 in February from a 144.5 reading in January. The expectations index dropped to 87.5 in February from 88.8 the prior month.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported the pace of U.S. economic activity improved in January. The Chicago Fed National index, which draws on 85 economic indicators, was positive 0.69 in January after reporting a positive 0.07 in December. A reading above zero indicates above trend-growth in the national economy.
  • The second estimate by the Commerce Department of the 4th quarter gross domestic product showed economic growth climbed slightly higher than the initial estimate, driven by a buildup in inventories. Much of the strength was concentrated at the start of the fourth quarter as consumers pulled forward their holiday shopping. Gross domestic product expanded at a 7.0% annualized rate in the 4th quarter, earlier reported as a gain of 6.9%. Personal consumption, which accounts for about 70% of the economy, gained 3.1% in the quarter, reported earlier as a gain of 3.3%. The GDP price index gained 7.1% in the 4th quarter, adjusting higher from the 6.9% initially reported.
  • The Commerce Department reported sales of new homes retreated in January after a surge in purchases at the end of 2021. Climbing mortgage rates, high prices and limited inventory may be starting to pressure strong housing demand. New home sales declined 4.5% to a 801,000 annualized pace in January after reporting an upwardly revised 839,000 pace the prior month. New home sales, which account for about 10% of the residential market, are accounted for when contracts are signed, which makes this data a more timely indicator than existing home transactions.
  • The Commerce Department reported personal income remained unchanged last month as most stimulus payments ended. Personal spending rebounded in January, after a plunge in December due to a spike in Omicron cases. Inflation will impact real spending this year after six-months of consecutive declines in real income. The savings rate hit the lowest level since 2013. Personal income remained unchanged in January after climbing 0.4% in December. Personal spending jumped by 2.1% after declining by 0.8% in December. The PCE Deflator, the preferred inflation gauge by the Federal Reserve, climbed 0.6% in January, bringing the year-on-year gain to 6.1%, above the central bank’s target of 2.0%. Disposable income, or the money left over after taxes, increased 0.1% in January after climbing 0.2% higher in December. The savings rate decreased to 6.4% in January from 8.2% the prior month.
  • The Commerce Department reported durable goods orders rose in January by the most in four months with strength in capital spending and steady manufacturing growth to start the year. Durable goods, which are bookings for goods and materials meant to last at least three years, rose 1.6% in January and December was upwardly revised to a gain of 1.2% from last month’s report of a 0.7% decline. The non-military capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a proxy for business investment, jumped 0.9% in January after gaining 0.4% in December. Excluding transportation, durable orders rose 0.7% in January after gaining 0.9% in December. The ratio of inventory to shipments declined to
    1.76 from 1.77 in December.
  • The National Association of Realtors reported the index of pending home re-sales declined for the third straight month as rising mortgage rates, high prices and low inventory pressure buyers. The number of contracts to purchase previously owned homes decreased 5.7% in January after dropping 2.3% in December. Pending home sales are down 9.1% on a seasonally adjusted year-on-year basis in January. Pending sales are a leading indicator in the housing sector as they reflect contracts signed, as opposed to actual closed and final sales.
  • The University of Michigan’s final index of consumer sentiment decreased in February to its lowest level in more than a decade as consumers became more concerned about inflation and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The gauge of consumer confidence increased to 62.8 from an earlier estimate of 61.7, although this is a decrease from the 67.2 reading in January. The index of current conditions dropped to 68.2 from 72.0 the prior month while the index of expectations fell to 59.4 from 64.1 the prior month.
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the MBA index of mortgage applications plunged 13.1% for the week ending February 18th after decreasing 5.4% the prior week. Refinancing applications decreased 15.6% to 1,678 from 1,989 the prior week. Home purchase mortgage applications fell 10.1% to 250.7. The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.06% from 4.05% the prior week for a 30-year fixed rate loan.

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.

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  1. Bloomberg Finance L.P. 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.