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 third and final estimate of the first-quarter gross domestic product showed the economy expanded at a rate of 2.0%. Fourth-quarter growth was 2.9%. Gross domestic income (the net sum of income earned in the production of GDP) increased 3.6% in the first quarter, compared with a 1.0% bump in the fourth quarter. In the first quarter, consumer spending grew at the relatively low rate of 0.9%, while business spending rose 7.5%.
· Both pre-tax and after-tax consumer income increased by 0.4% in May. Overall, consumer spending climbed 0.2% in the month, while core expenditures (excluding food and energy) also accelerated at 0.2%. Prices for consumer goods and services, overall and excluding food and energy, also increased 0.2%. Of note, consumer prices are up 2.3%, and core prices, an inflation indicator of importance to the Federal Open Market Committee, is up 2.0% over the past 12 months — right at the target inflation rate set by the Committee. Look for more interest rate increases intended to keep the reins on inflation.
· New home sales soared in May, up 6.7% over April’s figures and 14.1% ahead of the May 2017 estimate. Weakening sales prices may have helped boost sales in May. The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2018 was $313,000 ($318,500 in April). The average sales price was $368,500 ($394,600 in April). The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 299,000. This represents a supply of 5.2 months at the current sales rate.
· New orders for durable goods fell 0.6% in May following a 1.0% drop in April. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.3%. Shipments were down 0.1% after increasing nine consecutive months. Unfilled orders rose 0.5% in May after advancing 0.6% in April. Lastly, inventories increased 0.3% — the same increase as in April.
· Despite tariffs and trade wars, exports surged 2.1% in May, pulling down the trade deficit from $67.3 billion in April to $64.8 billion in May. Imports of goods for May were $208.4 billion, $0.4 billion (or 0.2%) more than April imports.
· In the week ended June 23, there were 227,000 initial claims for unemployment insurance, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week’s level. The advance insured unemployment rate remained at 1.2%. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended June 16 was 1,705,000, a decrease of 21,000 from the prior week’s level, which was revised up by 3,000.
Eye on the Week Ahead
Trading is usually subdued during the holiday-shortened week. Nevertheless, the following week could start off with a bang based on Friday’s employment data for June.
Data sources: News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. Market data: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.
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