Stocks rose this past week with small company stocks having the largest gains. Muted inflation increased expectations of the FED continuing to keep interest rate hikes on hold.
The U.S. Dollar rose against a basket of currencies, while gold prices fell. Crude oil rose, closing at $60.18. The 10-year treasury yield fell to 2.407% and 30-year mortgages dropped to 4.06%.
In the numbers this week:
- The Commerce Department reported
- U.S. housing starts fell 8.7% in February. Keep in mind that starts are volatile and come with a margin of error of 10.3%. However, for the first two months of 2019 starts were down 8.2%. In January single family starts fell 17% while multi-family starts rose 23.5%. Rising costs of materials and skilled workers were cited has hindering housing.
- Building permits fell only 1.6% indicating a much smaller drop in future starts.
- The trade deficit shrank 15% in January from December. Exports rose while imports fell. The surge of imports in December was in anticipation of higher tariffs scheduled for March 1st which did not materialize.
- Estimate fourth quarter GDP was revised from an annualized 2.6% to 2.2%. The downward revision was based on lower consumer, government and business spending. At the same time foreign trade came in a bit more favorable.
- Personal-consumption expenditures, a gauge of household spending, rose 0.1% in January. This follows a 0.6% decline in December.
- Personal income rose 0.2% in February.
- The price index for personal-consumption expenditures fell 0.06% in January and was up only 1.37% from a year earlier. This is the FED’s preferred measure of inflation and is running well below it’s target of 2%. Subtracting volatile food and energy prices the index rose 0.06% in January and is up 1.79% from last January.
- The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rose 4.3% over the 12 months ending in January. This is down from 4.6% year over year at the end of December.
- The Labor Department reported first time claims for unemployment fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 211,000. The four week moving average of claims fell to 217,250.
- The Energy Information Administration weekly report is here wpsrsummary. Also, the EIA reported in the prior week:
- U.S. Crude oil production was unchanged at 12.1MM barrels per day.
- Storage of natural gas fell 36BN cubic feet.
- Baker Hughes reported in the past week that the number of active oil rigs fell 8 to 816 and the number of active gas rigs fell 2 to 191.
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. The Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.