The US stock market ended September in the green amid signs of ease in trade tensions with China and monetary policy moves from the Fed in line with expectations. At the beginning of the month, China and the US agreed to hold a fresh round of negotiations in early October and China extended an olive branch by first exempting 16 American products from higher tariffs and then adding some agricultural products to the list, including soybeans and pork.
At the same time, on September 18, the Fed reduced the Federal Funds target rate by 25 basis points to 1.75% – 2.00%, marking the second cut in a row. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank expects the economy to continue moderate growth, but uncertainty over trade and Brexit remains. On the other side of the Atlantic, the European Central Bank also cut its deposit rate by 10 basis points to -0.50% last month. It also announced a restart of Quantitative Easing from November 1.
Amid these two main developments, the S&P 500 gained 2.42% in September, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average appreciated by 3.06%. At the same time, the NASDAQ Composite lagged with 1.59% growth.
The US stock market was also impacted by economic data. The August ISM Manufacturing Index fell into contraction at 49.1 versus expectations of 51.3 and previous month’s figure of 51.2. Non-farm payrolls showed the addition of just 130,000 jobs in the previous month, lower than the consensus estimate of 160,000 and the unemployment rate was 3.7%, in line with estimates.
Financial Advisors continued to focus on large-cap stocks. According to TrackStar, InvestingChannel’s official newsletter capturing and analyzing the trends of Financial Advisors, the second most-searched ticker last month was Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). The company captured the attention of Financial Advisors as it released a new iPhone and announced other products. The iPhone 11 went on sale with many analysts anticipating soft demand for the smartphone. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) landed on the third spot amid reports that the company is considering spinning off DirecTV.
However, the stock that gained the most attention from Financial Advisors last month is Ignite International Brands Ltd. (OTC: BILZF). Ignite is a $186 million cannabis company co-founded by Dan Bilzerian, an Internet personality known for Instagram posts that show off his lavish lifestyle. In September, Ignite International Brands gained 31% and saw a significant increase in trading volume. On September 19, the stock was upgraded to the highest tier of the Over-the-Counter market, the OTCQX, which also prompted an increase in momentum. Other pieces of news released by the company last month involved the appointment of John Schaefer as Senior Vice President of Operations, Sam Sarullo as Chief Digital Officer, Linda Menzel as General Counsel, and Gene Bernaudo as Global Head of Cannabis.