Climbing a Wall of Worry
The second quarter of 2019 started with a strong April, followed by a weak May and ended with the best June since 1997. Overall, the market ended up 3.79% for the quarter. In contrast, the Chinese market, as measured by the Shanghai Composite, was down 3.62%. The export market in China was down $20 billion for the first four months of the year and is cause for concern in the Chinese economy.
On the energy front, both the West Texas Intermediate Index (WTI) and Brent were down 2.78% and 2.69%, respectively, for the quarter. U.S. Natural Gas declined 13.30% and is solidly down for the year. Our oil & gas rig count continues to decline but efficiency gains through technology have helped to increase production. In the latter part of May, oil production increased to 12.4 million barrels per day, a new U.S. record.