US Stock prices rose this past week despite a sharp selloff midday Friday as the markets shifted attention away from geopolitical tensions and towards economic growth. This was interrupted Friday by reports of a Russian military incursion into Ukraine witnessed by news reporters. Russia said they didn’t do it and Ukraine said they partially destroyed the convoy. Treasury prices rose and yields fell as foreigners bought treasuries as a safe haven from geopolitical tensions. Commodity prices were lower. Mixed economic news this week included:
- According to the National Association of Realtors, home prices grew 4.4% in the second quarter from a year ago. This is the slowest appreciation since 2012.
- The Labor Department reported that the US has 4.7 million job openings, the highest since February 2001.
- The Department of Agriculture forecast that Corn production in the US will hit a record of 14.032 billion bushels.
- The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose 0.1% in July from June less than expected. Retail sales in July were 3.7% higher than the previous year.
- Japan’s economy contracted 6.8% in the second quarter in-line with expectations mainly due to higher sales taxes. Consumers spent heavily before the increase therefore distorting the number.
- The Gross Domestic Product in the 18 nation Eurozone rose at an annualized rate of only 0.2% in the second quarter.
- The Labor Department reported that Initial jobless claims in the prior week rose by 21,000 to 311,000 more than forecast. The previous week was revised up to 290,000. The four week moving average rose 2,000 to 295,750 still near eight year lows.
- The Labor department reported that producer prices rose only 0.1% in July less than the 0.2% expected. Year over year producer prices rose only 1.7%. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories producer prices rose 1.2% in July mainly due to a decline in gasoline prices.
- The Federal Reserve reported that US Industrial Production rose 0.4% in July more than the 0.2% forecast. Capacity utilization rose to 79.1%. The gain was attributed largely to increased capital spending.