U.S. markets ended the week down slightly and foreign markets were up slightly. The 10-year treasury yield poked above 3% mid-week but ended at 2.96%. Other than that, the market’s took their cue from earnings announcements each day. The European Central Bank left monetary policy unchanged with its key interest rate at 0%, The ECB noted there was a moderation in growth that could be due to cold weather and the timing of public holidays. Its quantitative easing program of bond purchases is scheduled to run through September but could be extended depending on growth and inflation numbers. U.S. gross domestic product was released on Friday and also moderated from the prior three quarters. Still the reading of 2.3% was better than the first quarters of 2015, 2016 and 2017. Commodity prices including oil and gold fell and the U.S. dollar rose sharply likely due to higher interest rates.
In the numbers this week:
- According to the National Association of Realtors existing-home sales rose 1.1% in March. However March sales were 1.2% below last year. A lack of inventory on lower priced homes has been a limiting factor in existing-home sales.
- The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 6.3% in February from a year ago.
- The Commerce Department reported:
- Sales of new homes rose 4.0% in March from February. This follows a 3.6% increase in February. From a year earlier new home prices were up 4.03%.
- Durable goods order rose 2.6% in March. Just looking at non-defense goods, excluding aircraft, orders (a measure of business investment) declined 0.1% in March.
- The gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, grew at a 2.3% annual pace in the first quarter. This is a decrease from 2.9% in the fourth quarter and 3.2% in the third quarter. However, first quarter GDP has been running weaker for a number of years. While seasonal adjustments are in place, the seasonal trends have been running with a weaker first quarter.
- According to Factset with 53% of the S&P 500 companies reporting, the blended earnings increase in the first quarter is 23.2%.
- The Labor department reported first time claims for unemployment fell 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 209,000, the lowest since 1969 when the population and the workforce was much smaller. The four week moving average of claims fell 2250 to 229,250.
- The Energy Information Administration weekly report is here wpsrsummary (6). Also the EIA reported:
- Weekly field production of crude oil rose 46 thousand barrels per day.
- Storage of Natural Gas fell 18BN cubic feet.
- According to Baker Hughes, In the past week the number of active oil rigs rose 5 to 825 and the number of active gas rigs rose 3 to 195.
Please call us if you have any questions.
Loren C. Rex, CFP®, AIF®, MA Erik A Smith
President Managing Partner
Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management 269-441-4143
77 E. Michigan Ave, Suite 140
Battle Creek, MI 49017
Carrie Fuce, Assistant 269-441-4091
Toll Free: 800-513-8180
Visit our Website: www.genfinplan.com
Registered Representative of and securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge and Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management are separate companies and are not affiliated.
These are the opinions of Loren Rex and Erik Smith and are not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.