US stocks were modestly lower this past week. Foreign stocks, treasury bonds and commodities also fell for the week and the dollar rose. This was mainly due to concerns increasing as to how soon the FED will start raising short term rates. The FED will be meeting this coming week. Personally, I believe the FED can gradually move to normalize rates without hurting growth and the long term prospects for stocks. Bonds, on the other hand will be more at risk. In particular economic news this week included:
- The Commerce Department reported that wholesale inventories rose only 0.1% in July from the previous month, less than expected. Generally, falling inventories are positive as that precedes higher production but flat or slight increases are o.k. A sharp rise would be negative as businesses may cut production.
- The Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment in the previous week rose 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 315,000, well above forecasts. The previous week was revised up to 304,000 and the four week moving average also increased to 304,000.
- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported that the global growth rate was 0.8% for the second quarter. Year over year growth was 3.2%.
- The Commerce Department reported that Retail and Food sales rose 0.6% in August. July sales were revised up to a 0.3% gain. Excluding the robust auto sales August Retail and Food sales were up 0.3%. Gasoline sales fell due to lower prices. Excluding both Gasoline and Autos retail sales rose 0.5%.