This week we saw a reprieve from the extreme volatility the markets have been in since December. Stocks rose, treasury bonds fell as yields rose; commodities rose and the dollar fell.
In particular this week:
- The growth rate in the 18 country Euro zone rose 0.3% in the fourth quarter better than the 0.2% forecast.
- China’s exports fell 3.3% in January from a year ago. This came after a sharp rise of 9.7% in December and a forecast for a 4% rise.
- The Labor department reported that initial jobless claims in the prior week rose 25,000 to 304,000. It’s believed that the severe winter weather in the Northeast contributed to this.
- The Commerce Department reported that retail sales fell 0.8% in January. Excluding gasoline, retail sales were unchanged from December. Excluding autos, retail sales were down 0.9% in January. From a year ago retails sales were up 3.3%.
- The Labor Department reported that import prices fell 2.8% in January a smaller decrease than expected. Year over year import prices fell 8%.