What I’m Watching This Week – 28 May 2019

The Markets (as of market close May 24, 2019)

With last week’s loss, the Dow suffered its longest weekly losing streak since 2011. Trade tensions between the United States and China seem to be taking a toll on investors’ patience. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here also posted weekly losses. Money moved to bonds, pushing prices higher and yields lower. Tech stocks were particularly hard-hit last week, as were energy stocks. Year-to-date, each of the benchmarks are still comfortably ahead of their 2018 closing values, but the gap is narrowing for some indexes, particularly the Global Dow and the Dow, which are now less than 10% ahead of their respective year-end closing marks.

Oil prices fell last week, closing at $59.04 per barrel by late Friday, down from the prior week’s closing price of $62.71 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) jumped last week, closing at $1,284.20 by Friday evening, up from the prior week’s price of $1,277.40. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.852 per gallon on May 20, 2019, $0.014 lower than the prior week’s price and $0.071 less than a year ago.

Market/Index 2018 Close Prior Week As of 5/24 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 23327.46 25764.00 25585.69 -0.69% 9.68%
Nasdaq 6635.28 7816.28 7637.01 -2.29% 15.10%
S&P 500 2506.85 2859.53 2826.06 -1.17% 12.73%
Russell 2000 1348.56 1535.76 1514.11 -1.41% 12.28%
Global Dow 2736.74 2977.45 2951.46 -0.87% 7.85%
Fed. Funds target rate 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 2.68% 2.46% 2.37% -9 bps -31 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Economic Headlines

  • Sales of existing homes continued to lag in April. According to the National Association of Realtors®, existing home sales fell 0.4% from their March total and are down 4.4% from a year ago. The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $267,300, up from the prior month’s price ($259,400) and ahead of the median price from a year ago ($257,900). Total housing inventory increased from 1.67 million in March to 1.83 million in April. First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in April, down from the 33% reported last month and one year ago. Sales for single-family existing homes fell about 1.1% in April and are down 4.0% from April 2018. The median existing single-family home price was $269,300 in April, up 3.7% from April 2018.
  • Sales of new single-family homes had been fairly strong through the first quarter of the year. However, April’s totals are definitely lagging. New home sales dipped 6.9% below March’s totals, although they’re 7.0% above sales from a year ago. The median sales price of new houses sold in April was $342,200 ($305,800 in March). The average sales price was $393,700 ($372,300 in March). There were about 332,000 new homes for sale in April, representing a supply of 5.9 months (5.6-month supply in March).
  • New orders for long-lasting goods fell 2.1% in April, after climbing 1.7% in March. Transportation equipment (primarily commercial aircraft and cars), down two of the last three months, drove the decrease, falling 5.9%. Shipments of manufactured durable goods in April, down three of the last four months, decreased 1.6%. Not surprisingly, inventories increased 0.4% in April.
  • According to the Department of Labor, there were 211,000 claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended May 18, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s level. The advance rate for insured unemployment claims remained at 1.2% for the week ended May 11. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended May 11 was 1,676,000, an increase of 12,000 from the prior week’s level, which was revised up by 4,000.

Eye on the Week Ahead

The second estimate of the first-quarter gross domestic product is available this week. The advance estimate, released last month, showed the economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.2%. It is expected that the latest estimate will closely mirror the initial report.

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What I’m Watching This Week – 20 May 2019

The Markets (as of market close May 17, 2019)

Investors were heading for the hills early last week as stocks suffered their worst day on Monday following China’s announcement that it would impose an additional $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports. Stocks for several companies with direct ties to China were hit particularly hard. The markets rebounded, but not enough to overcome the poor start early in the week. Helping to ease investors’ concerns over trade tensions, the Trump administration indicated that it would delay a decision on whether to impose tariffs on auto and parts imports. Then, last Friday afternoon, the administration announced that it had reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico that would end U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Nevertheless, each of the benchmark indexes listed here lost value by last week’s end, led by the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq. Year-to-date, the Nasdaq continues to lead the pack, ahead of its 2018 closing value by almost 18%.

Oil prices inched higher last week, closing at $62.71 per barrel by late Friday, up from the prior week’s closing price of $61.73 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) dropped again last week, closing at $1,277.40 by Friday evening, down from the prior week’s price of $1,286.50. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.866 per gallon on May 13, 2019, $0.031 lower than the prior week’s price and $0.007 less than a year ago.

Market/Index 2018 Close Prior Week As of 5/17 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 23327.46 25942.37 25764.00 -0.69% 10.44%
Nasdaq 6635.28 7916.94 7816.28 -1.27% 17.80%
S&P 500 2506.85 2881.40 2859.53 -0.76% 14.07%
Russell 2000 1348.56 1572.99 1535.76 -2.37% 13.88%
Global Dow 2736.74 2998.45 2977.45 -0.70% 8.80%
Fed. Funds target rate 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 2.68% 2.46% 2.39% -7 bps -29 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Economic Headlines

  • U.S. import prices advanced 0.2% in April, after increasing 0.6% in March. The April advance was driven by higher fuel prices, which more than offset decreasing prices for nonfuel imports. Despite the recent monthly advances, import prices declined 0.2% for the 12-month period ended in April, driven by lower nonfuel prices. Prices for U.S. exports rose 0.2% in April after a 0.6% rise in March, as nonagricultural exports outpaced declining agricultural exports. U.S. export prices rose 0.3% over the 12-month period ended in April. Of particular note, prices for imports from China declined 0.2% in April, and have decreased 1.1% since April 2018 — the largest over-the-year drop since May 2017. On the other hand, prices for exports to China rose 0.6% in April, but have otherwise declined 2.7% over the past 12 months. Increased U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports this month will likely change this scenario in May.
  • Retail sales fell 0.2% in April, but are still 3.1% above April 2018. Food and beverage store sales rose 0.2% in April, and gas station sales jumped 1.8%. However, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers saw sales drop 1.9% last month, electronics and appliance store sales fell 1.3%, and sales for motor vehicle and parts dealers decreased 1.1%. Nonstore (online) retail sales lost 0.2% in April, but are up 9.0% from April 2018.
  • According to the Federal Reserve, the manufacturing sector slowed considerably in April. Overall, industrial production fell 0.5% last month, as did manufacturing. Not surprisingly, capacity utilization, which estimates sustainable potential output, dropped 0.6 percentage point from its March rate.
  • New home sales should continue to gain traction in May if April’s report on housing starts is any indication. According to the Census Bureau, issued building permits increased by 0.6% in April, while housing starts jumped 5.7% over March’s total. Home completions lagged (down 1.4%), but that could be attributable to April’s inclement weather across much of the country.
  • According to the Department of Labor, there were 212,000 claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended May 11, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s level. The advance rate for insured unemployment claims remained at 1.2% for the week ended May 4. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended May 4 was 1,660,000, a decrease of 28,000 from the prior week’s level, which was revised up by 4,000.

Eye on the Week Ahead

The housing sector is in the news this week with the April figures for sales of both new and existing homes on tap. New home sales have picked up the past few months, but sales of existing properties have dragged, primarily due to scant inventory and rising prices.

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What I’m Watching This Week – 13 May 2019

The Markets (as of market close May 10, 2019)

Only a late rally last Friday saved the benchmark indexes from their worst week of the year. As it was, each of the indexes listed here fell at least 2.12%, with the Global Dow and the Nasdaq falling more than 3.0%. During the week, the small-cap Russell 2000 temporarily sank into correction territory as it drifted more than 10% below its August 2018 high. Once again it appears trade fears stoked investor concerns following President Trump’s 25% tariff rate hike on some Chinese imports. Not surprisingly, bond yields fell as prices rose following increased investor demand. Also notable last week was the initial public offering of Uber, which raised more than $8.1 billion, making it the largest IPO since Alibaba Group’s 2014 public launching.

Oil prices inched lower last week, closing at $61.73 per barrel by late Friday, down from the prior week’s closing price of $61.87 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) dropped last week, closing at $1,286.50 by Friday evening, down from the prior week’s price of $1,288.40. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.897 per gallon on May 6, 2019, $0.010 higher than the prior week’s price and $0.052 more than a year ago.

Market/Index 2018 Close Prior Week As of 5/10 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 23327.46 26504.95 25942.37 -2.12% 11.21%
Nasdaq 6635.28 8164.00 7916.94 -3.03% 19.32%
S&P 500 2506.85 2945.64 2881.40 -2.18% 14.94%
Russell 2000 1348.56 1614.02 1572.99 -2.54% 16.64%
Global Dow 2736.74 3097.28 2998.45 -3.19% 9.56%
Fed. Funds target rate 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 2.68% 2.52% 2.46% -6 bps -22 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Economic Headlines

  • The trade deficit was $50.0 billion in March, up $0.7 billion from February’s revised total. March exports were $2.1 billion more than February exports. Imports in March were $2.8 billion more than February imports. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit decreased $5.8 billion, or 3.7%, from the same period in 2018. Exports increased $14.0 billion, or 2.3%. Imports increased $8.2 billion, or 1.1%.
  • Consumer prices continued to surge in April. The CPI increased 0.3% for the month following a 0.4% jump in March. Over the last 12 months, the CPI has increased 2.0% — right at the target inflation rate set by the Federal Reserve. As in March, the primary driver of the price increase was attributable to gasoline prices, which rose 5.7% in April, accounting for over two-thirds of the monthly price increase. Consumer prices less food and energy rose a more modest 0.1% for the third consecutive month.
  • The Producer Price Index rose 0.2% in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Producer prices rose 0.6% in March and 0.1% in February. For the 12 months ended in April, producer prices have risen 2.2%. Producer prices less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 0.4% in April — the largest increase since rising 0.5% in January 2018. Most of the April price increase is attributed to prices for gasoline, which increased 5.9%. Prices for services inched up 0.1% in April after climbing 0.3% in March.
  • The federal government deficit increased to $160,305 billion in April after reaching $146,945 billion in March. Through the first seven months of the fiscal year the deficit sits at $530,870 billion, up from the $385,445 billion deficit over the same period last year.
  • According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report, the number of job openings increased by 346,000 in March. Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest increases in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (87,000), construction (73,000), and real estate and rental and leasing (57,000). Job openings decreased in federal government (15,000). Over the 12 months ended in March, hires totaled 69.3 million and separations totaled 66.6 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.7 million.
  • According to the Department of Labor, there were 228,000 claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended May 4, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s level. The advance rate for insured unemployment claims remained at 1.2% for the week ended April 27. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended April 27 was 1,684,000, an increase of 13,000 from the prior week’s level.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Retail sales, which got a boost in March, may see sales pull back a bit in April. The April report on industrial production is out this week. The manufacturing sector has been lagging despite a relatively strong economy over the past few months. Finally, the April report on import and export prices is likely to follow the trend of revealing export prices rising at a faster rate than import prices. The number of hires and separations in March remained relatively the same as in the prior month.

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What I’m Watching This Week – 6 May 2019

The Markets (as of market close May 3, 2019)

Stocks “labored” for much of last week only to rally following a strong employment report. That report, coupled with the Fed holding interest rates steady, gave investors the confidence to stay in the “game” a little longer. Other than the Dow, each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted moderate gains by week’s end, led by the Russell 2000. While the Nasdaq bumped up a little less than a quarter of a point last week, it was enough to push that index to another record high. Equally impressive is the year-to-date performance of the stock market. The Nasdaq is more than 23.0% above its 2018 closing value, while the Russell 2000 is close to 20.0% higher.

Oil prices fell slightly last week, closing at $61.87 per barrel by late Friday, down from the prior week’s closing price of $62.80 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) fell last week, closing at $1,280.10 by Friday evening, down from the prior week’s price of $1,288.40. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.887 per gallon on April 29, 2019, $0.046 higher than the prior week’s price and $0.041 more than a year ago.

Market/Index 2018 Close Prior Week As of 5/3 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 23327.46 26543.33 26504.95 -0.14% 13.62%
Nasdaq 6635.28 8146.40 8164.00 0.22% 23.04%
S&P 500 2506.85 2939.88 2945.64 0.20% 17.50%
Russell 2000 1348.56 1591.82 1614.02 1.39% 19.68%
Global Dow 2736.74 3084.44 3097.28 0.42% 13.17%
Fed. Funds target rate 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 2.68% 2.49% 2.52% 3 bps -16 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Economic Headlines

  • As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee maintained interest rates at their present level. The Committee noted that the labor market remains strong and that economic activity rose at a solid rate. However, growth of household spending and business fixed investment slowed in the first quarter. As to the prospect of future rate increases, the FOMC determined that it would be patient in light of global economic and financial developments and inflation running below its 2% objective.
  • April saw a whopping 263,000 new jobs added, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage point to 3.6% — the lowest rate since December 1969. The April tally far exceeded the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months of 213,000. Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services (76,000), construction (33,000), health care (27,000), and social assistance (26,000). Employment in manufacturing changed little for the third month in a row, evidencing a stagnant manufacturing sector. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 387,000 to 5.8 million. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8% in April but was unchanged from a year earlier. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 60.6% in April and has been either 60.6% or 60.7% since October 2018. In April, average hourly earnings rose by $0.06 to $27.77. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2%. The average workweek decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in April.
  • Personal income grew marginally in March, increasing 0.1% over February, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable (after-tax) income was effectively unchanged in March. On the income side of the report, wages and salaries grew 0.4%, and rental income increased 1.0%. Consumer costs for goods and services rose 0.2% in March. However, excluding food and energy, prices increased less than 0.1%. Consumer spending, as measured by personal consumption expenditures, increased 0.9% in March following a 0.1% bump in February. Of all the household expenditures for March, consumer spending on goods rose 1.7%, while spending on services increased 0.5%.
  • The international trade in goods (not including services) deficit for March was $71.3 billion, up $0.5 billion from February. Exports of goods in March were $1.4 billion more than February exports. Imports of goods were $2.0 billion more than February imports.
  • The IHS Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) posted 52.6, up slightly from March’s recent low of 52.4. Manufacturing increased moderately in April as new orders increased from March’s dreary totals. Although new business grew at a faster pace, the rate of job creation eased in April.
  • The Institute for Supply Management® also conducts a survey of purchasing managers. According to the report, survey respondents were not bullish on their assessment of the manufacturing sector in April. The PMI® fell 2.5 percentage points from its March reading. New orders, production expansion, prices, and employment all fell behind their March ratings. Only supplier deliveries and inventories advanced in April.
  • In the services sector, purchasing and supply executives indicated that business activity increased in April. However, new orders, employment, and prices fell off from the prior month.
  • For the week ended April 27, there were 230,000 claims for unemployment insurance, unchanged from the previous week’s level. According to the Department of Labor, the advance rate for insured unemployment claims remained at 1.2% for the week ended April 20. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended April 20 was 1,671,000, an increase of 17,000 from the prior week’s level, which was revised down by 1,000.

Eye on the Week Ahead

The trade deficit has been shrinking through February. Out this week is the international trade report for March. A further narrowing of the trade deficit would be good news for investors.

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Monthly Market Review – April 2019

The Markets (as of market close April 30, 2019)

As April came to a close, each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted strong monthly returns. In fact, for several of the indexes, April brought to a close the best four-month stretch in many years. Both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 reached new highs during the month, as investors were encouraged by a shrinking trade deficit, favorable economic projections, low inflation, and stable interest rates. The Nasdaq led the way, nearing a monthly gain of almost 5.0%, followed by the large caps of the S&P 500, the small caps of the Russell 2000, the Global Dow, and the Dow, which gained over 2.5% for the month. During April, consumers saw gas prices climb as oil prices continued to soar.

By the close of trading on April 30, the price of crude oil (WTI) was $63.42 per barrel, up from the March 29 price of $60.19 per barrel. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.887 per gallon on April 29, up from the March 25 selling price of $2.623, and $0.041 more than a year ago. The price of gold dipped by the end of April, falling to $1,285.10 by close of business on the 30th, down from $1,325.70 at the end of March.

Market/Index 2018 Close Prior Month As of April 30 Month Change YTD Change
DJIA 23327.46 25928.68 26592.91 2.56% 14.00%
NASDAQ 6635.28 7729.32 8095.39 4.74% 22.01%
S&P 500 2506.85 2834.40 2945.83 3.93% 17.51%
Russell 2000 1348.56 1539.74 1591.21 3.34% 17.99%
Global Dow 2736.74 3000.81 3099.65 3.29% 13.26%
Fed. Funds 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 2.68% 2.40% 2.50% 10 bps -18 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Latest Economic Reports

  • Employment: Total employment rose by 196,000 in March after adding only 33,000 (revised) in February. The average monthly job gain in the first quarter of 2019 was 180,000 per month (223,000 in 2018). Notable employment increases for March occurred in health care (49,000), professional and technical services (34,000), and food services and drinking places (27,000). The unemployment rate remained at 3.8% in March, and the number of unemployed persons also was effectively unchanged at approximately 6.2 million. The labor participation rate dropped 0.2 percentage point to 63.0% in March, while the employment-population ratio fell 0.1 percentage point to 60.6%. The average workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours for March. Average hourly earnings increased by $0.04 to $27.70. Over the last 12 months ended in March, average hourly earnings have risen 3.2%.
  • FOMC/interest rates: The Federal Open Market Committee meets at the end of April, with its report issued on May 1. The results of that meeting will be covered in the next monthly report. However, based on prior statements from the FOMC, rates are not expected to increase at this time.
  • GDP/budget: The initial estimate of the first-quarter gross domestic product showed the economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.2%. The GDP expanded at a rate of 2.2% for the fourth quarter of 2018. Driving the growth rate increase was a surge in business investment, growth in exports, and a decrease in imports. On the other hand, consumer spending, as measured by personal consumption expenditures, rose 1.2% — notably down from the fourth-quarter rate of 2.5%. Also of note, business investment increased 2.7% and government purchases were a strong 2.4%. The federal budget deficit was $147 billion in March ($234 billion in February), and sits at $691 billion through the first six months of the fiscal year. Over the same period for fiscal year 2018, the deficit was $600 billion.
  • Inflation/consumer spending: The report on personal income and outlays is one that is favored by the Federal Reserve as an inflation indicator. The prices consumers paid for goods and services climbed 0.2% in March following a 0.1% gain in February. Excluding food and energy, consumer prices were unchanged in March after nudging up 0.1% the prior month. In March, consumer spending rose 0.9% (0.1% in February). Personal income inched up 0.1% in March after increasing 0.2% in February. Disposable (after-tax) income did not change in March after climbing 0.1% in February.
  • The Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% in March after rising 0.2% in February. Over the previous 12 months ended in March, the CPI rose 1.9%. The energy index increased 3.5% in March, accounting for about 60% of the overall monthly increase. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, climbed 0.1% in March, the same increase as in February. Core prices were up 2.0% over the previous 12 months ended in March.
  • According to the Producer Price Index, the prices companies received for goods and services rose 0.6% in March after climbing 0.1% in February. The index increased 2.2% for the 12 months ended in March, the largest 12-month rise since a 2.5% advance in December 2018. Once again, soaring energy prices drove the PPI. Excluding food, energy, and trade services, producer prices were unchanged in March from February.
  • Housing: While new home sales have expanded, the market has been slower for existing home sales, which fell 4.9% in March after climbing 11.8% in February. Year-over-year, existing home sales remain down 5.4%. The March median price for existing homes was $259,400, up from $249,500 the prior month. Existing home prices were up 3.8% from March 2018. Total housing inventory for existing homes for sale in March increased to 1.68 million (3.9-month supply), up from 1.63 million existing homes available for sale in February. Sales of new homes continued to expand in March following a robust February. Sales of new single-family houses in March were 4.5% higher than in February, and 3.0% above the March 2018 estimate. Falling prices and a few more houses on the market have helped drive sales activity. The median sales price of new houses sold in March was $302,700 ($315,200 in February). The average sales price was $376,000 ($385,300 in February). Inventory was at a supply of 6.0 months in March (6.1 months in February).
  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector continues to sputter in March, as industrial production edged down 0.1% after inching up 0.1% in February. Manufacturing production was unchanged in March after declining in both January and February. Total industrial production was 2.8% higher in March than it was a year earlier. On a more positive note, durable goods orders increased 2.7% in March after falling 1.1% (revised) in February. Soaring commercial aircraft and motor vehicle orders drove much of the March gain. New orders for durable goods excluding transportation increased 0.4% in March.
  • Imports and exports: The latest information on international trade in goods and services, out April 17, is for February and shows that the trade deficit continues to shrink. For February, the goods and services deficit was $49.4 billion, down $1.8 billion from January’s figures, which were $8.8 billion lower than the prior month. February exports were up 1.1%, while imports rose only 0.2%.
  • International markets: Canada’s GDP fell 0.1% in February from the previous month, and is up 1.1% since February 2018. In light of this news, it is expected that the Bank of Canada will keep interest rates at their current level for what could be an extended period of time. Business surveys in China were not as positive as hoped for last month. Despite Beijing’s efforts to stimulate economic growth, manufacturing growth has been slower than anticipated. Eurozone inflation has been subdued for quite some time. However, Germany’s annual inflation rate, which grew to 2.1% in April, exceeded the European Central Bank’s target level. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempts to negotiate a Brexit deal with the Labour Party has not been fruitful so far. Presuming a stalemate with no internal agreement in place, Britain is likely to take part in next month’s European elections.
  • Consumer confidence: The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® jumped from 124.2 in March to 129.2 in April. Consumers’ opinion of current economic conditions improved in April, as did their short-term outlook. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue to grow at a solid pace into the summer months.

Eye on the Month Ahead

The economy grew at a rate exceeding 3.0% in the first quarter, according to the initial estimate of the GDP. May’s GDP report will have more complete information and may show that growth wasn’t quite so robust, as consumer spending appears to be slowing. Nevertheless, the stock market could get a boost if exports continue to outpace imports and progress is made toward a trade resolution with China. Looking ahead, investors may see the Fed hike interest rates if the economy picks up steam.

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