The U.S. stock market finished the week higher as U.S. and China trade talks regained optimism. Interest rates continued to fall as the 10-year treasury yield dropped 4 basis points to 2.59%. Meanwhile the spread between the 10-year treasury yield and the 2-year treasury yield was unchanged at 0.17%. The price of gold increased 0.28% to $1,302.30 an ounce while the U.S. dollar index (DXY) fell from 97.37 to 96.49 amid underwhelming economic data. The price of crude oil jumped 4.19% to $58.39 a barrel as the amount of U.S. oil rigs continue to fall.
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This Week’s Economic Highlights
- After suffering a relatively large decline in December, retail sales recognized a moderate rise of 0.2% in January. Weighing retail sales down was a 2.4% drop in automobile sales, however auto sales tend to be inconsistent and volatile from month-to-month. The “control group” of retail sales, which excludes automobile sales, rose a more significant 0.9% in January.
- The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of retail inflation, increased 0.2% in February after being relatively flat the past three months. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy prices, increased 0.1%. Over the past year CPI has risen 1.5% while core CPI has risen 2.1%.
- Durable goods orders rose for the third straight month after realizing a 0.4% increase in January. However, excluding the heavily dominated durable goods of transportation (i.e. planes, trains, and automobiles), orders actually realized 0.1% decrease in January.
- The Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of wholesale inflation, rose 0.1% in February. Over the past year PPI has risen a very tame 1.9%. Core PPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy prices, also rose 0.1% but has risen 2.3% over the past year.
- Initial unemployment claims increased by a marginal 36,000 to 229,000 for the week ending March 9th. However, the more stable four-week average of initial claims fell by 2,500 to 223,750. Continuing unemployment claims, which lag initial claims by a week, increased by 18,000 to 1.77 million.
- New home sales dropped 7.0% in January to an annualized rate of 607,000. Despite the relatively large drop in sales, overall home sales aren’t as bad as they appear since December and November saw large upward revisions of 5.0% and 4.8%, respectively.
- Industrial production rose a slim 0.1% in February, which came in well below consensus expectations of 0.4%. The underwhelming rise in industrial production was primarily dragged down by a 0.4% decrease in manufacturing production.
“To be a successful business owner and investor, you have to be emotionally neutral to winning and losing. Winning and losing are just part of the game.”
– Robert Kiyosaki