The U.S. stock market finished the week mixed as quarterly earnings reports continue to roll out.  Interest rates were unchanged as the 10-year treasury yield was held steady at 2.56%.  Meanwhile the spread between the 10-year treasury yield and the 2-year treasury yield widened by 2 basis points to 0.19%.  The price of gold fell 1.24% to $1,277.90 an ounce while the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) increased from 96.97 to 97.40 amid better than expected retail sales data.  The price of crude oil rose a slight 0.34% to $64.00 a barrel.

Index               Started Week         Ended Week         Change         Change %         YTD %
DJIA 24,815.0425,983.941,168.904.71%11.39%
Nasdaq 7,453.157,742.10288.953.88%16.68%
S&P 500 2,752.062,873.34121.284.41%14.62%
Russell 2000 1,465.491,514.3948.903.34%12.30%

This Week’s Economic Highlights

  • Industrial production fell by 0.1% in March after rising 0.1% in February and falling 0.3% in January.  That said, industrial production has been weaker than normal for the first quarter of 2019.
  • The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services shrank by 3.4% in February to $49.4 billion.  More specifically, exports rose 1.1% to $209.7 billion while imports only rose 0.2% to $259.1 billion.
  • Initial unemployment claims continue to trend downwards as they drop by 5,000 to 192,000 for the week ending April 13th.  The less volatile four-week average of initial claims fell a slightly greater 6,000 to 201,250.  Continuing unemployment claims, which lag initial claims by a week, fell by 63,000 to 1.65 million.  Both initial and continuing unemployment claims are historically very low.
  • Retail sales recognized its largest one month increase in a year and a half as it rose 1.6% in March.  Driving retail sales higher was a 3.5% increase in the sales of automobiles and a 10% increase in the sales price of gasoline.  Excluding gas and automobiles, retail sales still increased by a strong 0.9%.
  • U.S. housing starts fell by 0.35% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million units in March, its lowest level in nearly two years.  U.S. building permits, a more forward-looking indication of housing starts, dropped by a larger 1.7% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.27 million units.

Quote

“We must be careful in praising or condemning because the future may hold surprises for us.”

– Neil Postman

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