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Markets: They were choppy last week.
The S&P roller coaster last week: up, flat, down, up, and down.
Durable goods: March expectations were for +2.0%. The number missed badly coming in at +0.5%. But YOY the number is still very good, coming in at +25%.
Biden: The President finally made his first appearance before a Joint Session of Congress (normally a State of the Union type address takes place in February). During that address the President made a case for a number of things. Economically he called for the investment in Infrastructure and a new Family initiative. Add in the Covid relief already past, the total requests within his first 100 days total over $6 Trillion. Yikes! Most of you know I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. Our two Senators were split: one democrat and one republican. Senator Everett Dirksen was known to have made the infamous quote: “A Billion here, and a Billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” Now that quote should start with a “T”.
Fed: The Fed’s Open Market Committee met for the third time of the year last week. Their emergency interest rate of 0 to 0.25% didn’t change. In fact, their dot plots show that rate remaining there thru 2023. And they will continue to add to their asset purchases to the tune of $120 Billion/month for the foreseeable future. When asked during his press conference when the Fed might start lowering the amount of asset purchases, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said, “We’re not even talking, about talking, about tapering.” The Fed’s balance sheet is now at $7.821 Trillion.
GDP: This comes in three prints… the advanced, the preliminary, and the final read. So last week we got the first one. Q4’s final was +4.3%. Expectations were for +6.5-6.7%. The actual number came in at +6.4%. A bit of a disappointment, but still a significant increase over the prior quarter.
Inflation: The Fed’s magic inflation number is 2%. Wholesale inflation (the PPI) is at 4.2%. Consumer inflation (the CPI) is at 2.6%. The metric the Fed watches is the PCE, and that number was updated last Friday… at 2.3%.
Jobless claims: The number was lower than expected (615,000) again, coming in at 547,000. The progression this year has been positive. The average claims in January were 875,000. In February claims averaged 791,000. In March claims averaged 728,000. And in April they averaged 628,000. But the last three weeks they have averaged 559,000. That’s good news.
Radio: Last week I shared four economic updates in my weekly “potpourri”. Here’s the link… https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-ttgnz-1022e51. You can also find this on my website: www.parker-wealth.com.
Focus of the week: The focus this week with be the new jobs and unemployment updates that come out on Friday morning. We’re expecting 938,000 jobs. And the U3 unemployment level is expected to drop from 6.0% down to 5.8%.
Earnings season has been going on for a few weeks now. Some of the companies reporting this week: CVS, DuPont, GM, Kellogg, Moderna, and Pfizer.
Indicator focus: ISM manufacturing index (Mon); international trade (Tue); ADP employment report, ISM services index (Wed); jobless claims (Thu), and the new jobs and unemployment reports (Fri).