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Farmers & Merchants Bank is pleased to announce that two employees have been promoted to officer positions in the Western Market. Leslie Self now serves as Vice President, Credit Administration Officer and Kathleen Miller has been named to the role of Consumer Loan Officer.
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Bank Term Lending Program
Investor focus this week has been on actions taken by regulatory authorities to assure safety of deposits at U.S. banks. On Sunday, regulators put into place a new Bank Term Lending Program that provides an additional safety net under all U.S. banks. The new borrowing program increased a bank’s borrowing capacity with the Federal Reserve in case a bank experiences liquidity needs because of depositor withdrawals. Under this program those banks that were closed last week opened again allowing depositors to withdraw funds regardless of amount. A ripple effect regarding the banking system has also been seen overseas as European authorities took actions to pair a stronger balance sheet bank with a weaker one to assure liquidity is in place to address depositor concerns.
STUTTGART, AR – Farmers & Merchants Bank Mountain Home Market President Sally Gilbert has been named to the Arkansas Money & Politics 50 Over 50 class for 2023. Each year the publication recognizes professionals across Arkansas for commitment to their work and community. Gilbert has been recognized by the publication for the past two years for excellence in banking.
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Bond Market now Favors a 50 Basis Point Hike after Powell Opens the Door
The S&P 500 was volatile on the week but managed to gain 1.1% amid a fair amount of dispersion under the surface. The NASDAQ was up 1.8% while small caps were down 1%. Small caps have been weak of late following strong performance to begin the year. Foreign developed has also lost relative strength in recent weeks. Core fixed income was unchanged.
The second estimate of fourth quarter GDP was front and center this week as a slew of economic data releases took place. The revised result was weaker than expected with a reading of 2.7% compared to an expectation of 2.9%. One of the factors contributing to the weaker result relative to the initial estimate was a downward revision of consumer spending during the period. The revision took the original estimate down from 2.1% for the quarter to 1.4%. Other positive contributors included inventory investment and government spending. Housing continued to be a detractor.
Equities Fall as Rising Yields Finally Take a Toll
The S&P 500 was down 3.8% on the week. Small caps fared slightly better and the NASDAQ slightly worse. As has been customary in recent market corrections, foreign developed markets exhibited a smaller downside move. The MSCI EAFE Index was down 0.9% on the week.
This past week saw the release of several economic reports geared toward the consumer. On Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January. CPI rose 0.5%, in-line with expectations while above its 0.1% increase in December.
STUTTGART, AR – Farmers & Merchants Bank announced today that David Erstine of Fayetteville has joined the bank’s board of directors.
Erstine, SIOR, CCIM, is a Senior Vice President at CBRE, a global brokerage and commercial real estate management firm with local offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville. He brings more than 20 years of commercial real estate (CRE) market research and brokerage experience to his position on the bank’s board of directors.
Equities Whipsaw Around Conflicting Economic Data and Powell Comments
The S&P 500 was flat on the week but showed noticeable volatility intraday. A slight uptick in NASDAQ- related names was offset by slight weakness in value equities. This is a good sign that large January gains are holding. A modest rebound in the dollar sent emerging markets down 2.1%. Fixed income was down 1.4% on the week as a strong jobs report pushed yields higher.
STUTTGART, AR –The Board of Directors of Farmers & Merchants Bank and The Bank of Fayetteville announces the promotion of three employees to the role of Community President, where they will oversee retail and lending operations in growing markets across the state.
STUTTGART, AR – Farmers and Merchants Bank is pleased to welcome Nesha Guest to the role of Community Development Officer for the Jonesboro market. In her new role, Nesha will build customer relationships, work with strategic partners to support the Northeast Arkansas business and nonprofit community and oversee local charitable donations for the bank.
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U.S. equity markets as measured by the MSCI USA Index gained 0.6% this week finishing out January up 5.5%. This past month bond markets climbed 3.1% as interest rates continued to drop across the yield curve. This positive kickoff to 2023 comes as a relief after 2022 was the worst combined bond/stock return for several generations of investors.
STUTTGART, AR – The Board of Directors of Farmers & Merchants Bank and The Bank of Fayetteville has welcomed Matt Mason back to The Bank of Fayetteville as the Northwest Arkansas Market President, where he will oversee retail and lending operations for eight bank locations. This announcement follows the promotion of longtime employees Jennifer Hardin, who will now serve as Chief Operations Officer, and Tyler Morgan, who will serve as Chief Risk Officer for the financial institution.
Read More about Mason Tapped to Lead The Bank of Fayetteville: Hardin, Morgan Promoted to Chief Officer
The NASDAQ Index Surges to Best Calendar Start Since 2000
Positive equity momentum continued this week as the S&P 500 gained 2.2%. Despite yields moving higher, the NASDAQ fared even better with a 3.3% advance, which is a little bit of a character change. Fixed income indices were down as yields moved slightly higher. The NASDAQ is up 8.9% this month, its fastest start to a year since 2000.
Equities continued to rise last week as virtually all major market indices moved higher. For domestic markets, small cap stocks led the way as the Russell 2000 Index returned 1.8%. Large-cap and mid-cap stocks also moved higher with weekly returns of 0.5% and 0.8%, respectively. Developed foreign markets matched U.S. small-cap stocks with a return of 1.8%.
Equities Begin the Year with Strong Gains
After a weak ending in 2022, equity markets are off to a good start in 2023. The S&P 500 is up 3.4% to begin the year while the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 are both up about 4.5%. Emerging markets are up an even stronger 6.3% as a lower U.S. dollar and falling yields are viewed in a favorable fashion. Core bonds begin the year with a gain of 2.3%.
Happy New Year!
Asset class returns have exhibited a welcome respite from that of 2022. Bonds have rallied 1.1% over the last week as interest rates have declined. U.S. and foreign equities have also exhibited positive returns of 2.1% and 2.0%, respectively. Value continues to outperform growth. While some may attribute this to the Santa Claus rally, investor sentiment may reflect the opinion that peak inflation is in the past and the Fed may need to pivot
As traders turn off their screens and head for the doors for a long weekend, market data was full of mixed signals. Mister Market was more Krampus than Santa Claus this week sending both bonds and stocks lower -1.2% and -2.9% respectively. This drawback follows strong gains for the quarter that still list bonds ahead +2.9% return and stocks up +8.6%.
Read More about Wealth Management Weekly Insight December 21, 2022
STUTTGART, AR –The Board of Directors of Farmers & Merchants Bank and The Bank of Fayetteville announces the promotion of three long-time employees to the role of Executive Vice President. Kelly Houghton will serve as EVP, Chief Operating Officer, Greg Connell will serve as EVP, Chief Revenue Officer and Christy Malahy will serve as EVP, Chief Financial Officer.
Inflation Drops – And Sets a Trap for the Bulls
Equities rallied on the week in anticipation of a better-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) report and a dovish pivot from the Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 finished the week up 1.6% with core bonds flat. However, it was likely a more painful ride for investors than the return numbers would suggest.
Employment data was at the forefront of this week’s economic calendar. Despite concerns regarding an impending recession the employment picture continues to be resilient as the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%. Non-farm payrolls rose by 263,000, higher than the forecasted increase of 200,000. In addition to the above expected level of job growth, hourly earnings also surpassed expectations registering 5.1% for November compared to an anticipated increase of 4.6%.
Stocks Surge on Lower Inflation
Equities surged last Thursday when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in lower than expected. The S&P 500 jumped 5.55% on the day, the largest single day gain since March 2020. The NASDAQ’s 7.4% gain was the 14th largest in the 50-year series history. The 13 larger daily moves all occurred during recessions and only one (March 24, 2020) did not result in new lows before the bear market was over. Yields plunged lower on the week with core bonds returning more than 3%. It was the largest five-day gain for core fixed income since 1988.
Consumer Focused Data Week
With consumers representing almost 70% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S., this week’s economic news gave us a picture of how they are doing. A
reading on the job outlook showed mixed signals. While headline nonfarm payroll (Current Employment Statistics) increased by 261,000 in October (vs. 315,000 in
September), the household survey (Current Population Survey) painted a vastly different picture.
Read More about Wealth Management Weekly Insight - November 9, 2022
The Fed Fails to Pivot, Sparking Reversal in Equities
The S&P 500 ended the week down 1.8% thanks to a 3.6% drop in the last 90 minutes of trading as Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Chair Jerome Powell extinguished hopes of a bullish Fed pivot. It was the largest percentage drop for the S&P 500 in the last 90 minutes of a FOMC press conference since they began in 1994. The NASDAQ was hit the hardest this week with a drop of 4.1% while small caps had a milder retreat. Fixed income returns were roughly flat.
Read More about Wealth Management Weekly Insight November 2, 2022
Equities Stage Huge Reversal Off the Lows, But Will it Hold?
Volatility remains elevated as equity indices posted three consecutive 2% change days. The action started last week with a hotter than expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) report that led the S&P 500 to drop more than 2% to start trading on Thursday. It would finish the day up more than 2%. The index would then lose more than 2% on Friday only to gain 2.5% on Monday. For the week the S&P 500 finished up 3.3% with the energy sector coming to life and posting a gain of 5.2%. Emerging markets and foreign developed equities were positive on the week but lagged domestic indices. Core fixed income was down 1.4% as yields moved higher.
STUTTGART, AR – Farmers & Merchants Bank President of Agriculture Division and Dewitt Market President Kirk Vansandt has been named to the Arkansas Money & Politics 2022 class of Top 100 Professionals.
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Equities Retreat to New Lows Amid Rising Bond Yields
Equities traded lower this week with the S&P 500 trading at its lowest level of the year. The index finished down 1.9% on the week and is down 21.1% on the year. Emerging markets were down 6% on the week as global currency and bond market volatility spiked.
MOUNTAIN HOME, AR – The Baxter Healthy Foundation will benefit from a $5,000 sponsorship donation for the upcoming Buck-a-Roo Ball from Farmers and Merchants Bank.Members of the Farmers & Merchants team recently presented the check.
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Farmers and Merchants Bank is proud to host a new Coffee Talk series at their main branch on Hickory Street in Mountain Home beginning Friday, September 2nd.
The free event series, which will provide an opportunity for Mountain Home neighbors to network, will feature community leaders and local projects. The first speaker will be Bomber Football Coach Steve Ary, who will forecast the upcoming season.
Read More about Farmers and Merchants Bank To Kickoff Coffee Talk Series with Coach Steve Ary
STUTTGART, AR – Farmers and Merchants Bank and The Bank of Fayetteville, a division of The Farmers and Merchants Bank, are pleased to announce the promotion of Marcus Seward to the role of Assistant Vice President, Loan & Bankruptcy Officer. In his new role Seward will maintain a diverse loan portfolio and develop commercial relationships in the Northwest Arkansas area.
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STUTTGART, AR – The Board of Directors of Farmers and Merchants Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Randy Bearce to the position of Market President. In his new role, Bearce will oversee the retail and lending operations of the expanding Jonesboro market. Most recently, he served as a commercial lender.
Market President Named to 2022 Women in Business From Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
FAYETTEVILLE, AR – Northwest Arkansas Market President Jennifer Hardin has been recognized by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal as one of the 2022 Women in Business. In her role, Hardin oversees the retail and lending operations of nine bank locations in Northwest Arkansas.
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Read More about POSTPONED: Farmers & Merchants Bank to Host Ribbon Cutting
STUTTGART, AR – Farmers and Merchants Bank and The Bank of Fayetteville are pleased to announce the promotion of Pepper Morrison to the role of Assistant Vice President, Treasury Management Manager. In her new position, Morrison will oversee specialized products and banking strategies for business and nonprofit customers statewide.
Read More about Morrison Named AVP, Treasury Management Manager
Mountain Home Native to Lead Community Development Efforts
Farmers and Merchants Bank is pleased to welcome Katie Shay Schneider to the role of Community Development Officer for the Mountain Home market. In her new role, Katie will build local relationships, work with strategic partners to support the business community and improve quality of life in the North Central Arkansas region while overseeing charitable donations for the bank.
Read More about Baker Named VP, Market Operations Coordinator
Sally Gilbert, long-time Mountain Home resident and community banking leader, has joined Farmers & Merchants Bank as the new market president for Mountain Home and the surrounding communities. Gilbert will lead Farmers and Merchants Bank operations in the region with a focus on true community banking, ensuring the highest quality professional service and guiding the bank’s long-term investments and commitment to the Mountain Home community.
Read More about Sally Gilbert Appointed as Mountain Home Market President
Farmers & Merchants Bank and The Bank of Fayetteville would like to introduce you to our new MVP Centers. These Integrated Teller Machines are a new and improved way to do banking on the go! Follow this link to see a quick video on how our MVP works.
January 9, 2021 (Stuttgart, Arkansas)- The Board of Directors of Farmers and Merchants Bank and the Bank of Fayetteville announces the appointment of Brad Chambless as Chief Executive Officer and President as of January 1, 2021.
Read More about Brad Chambless Named CEO and President of Farmers and Merchants Bank and Bank of Fayetteville
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