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Market Commentary: A Muddled Economic Picture, Volatile Markets and Rising Inflation

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: A Muddled Economic Picture, Volatile Markets and Rising Inflation

 The U.S. economic picture is looking more muddled than expected. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.8% last week. Used automobile prices rose quickly in response to the semiconductor shortage limiting new car production and demographic trends boosting demand. Retail sales were expected to build on last month’s stimulus-led surge but instead were flat. Industrial production remained a bright spot, adding 0.7% last month as manufacturing demand remained strong.

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Market Commentary: April Jobs Report Disappoints, Falling Short of Expectations

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: April Jobs Report Disappoints, Falling Short of Expectations

 The U.S. job market added only 266,000 jobs in April, missing expectations of nearly 1 million. March’s gain of more than 900,000 new jobs was revised down to 770,000. The data show the U.S. job market slowed rather than accelerated in April. The leisure and hospitality industry experienced the biggest gains, adding more than 331,000 jobs. Unemployment increased to 6.1% as more workers reentered the labor force and more people became fully vaccinated. The timelier initial jobless claims report fell below 500,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.

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Market Commentary: GDP Surges After Stimulus, Fed Reiterates Low Interest Rates

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: GDP Surges After Stimulus, Fed Reiterates Low Interest Rates

 U.S. GDP surged an annualized 6.4% in the first quarter (Figure 1). Two rounds of government stimulus helped the economy climb within 0.9% of its all-time high. If expected growth is included, the economy remains 3.7% below pre-COVID trends. Personal income jumped 21.1% from February as a second round of stimulus checks pushed money out to most Americans. Spending increased as well, but not as much as income. Personal consumption rose 4.2%, and services consumption, hindered by COVID concerns, rose only 2.2%.

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Market Commentary: S&P Shows Strong Growth as Housing Prices Continue to Climb

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: S&P Shows Strong Growth as Housing Prices Continue to Climb

 S&P 500 earnings are exceeding elevated expectations. Before earnings season began, S&P 500 earnings were expected to grow 23.6% as businesses rallied from lower earnings during the COVID shutdowns from one year ago. Based on the first quarter of companies reporting, earnings are now expected to grow more than 33.8%, and revenue is now expected to rise 7.5%.

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Market Commentary: Initial Jobless Claims at the Lowest in a Year, Retail Sales Surged

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Initial Jobless Claims at the Lowest in a Year, Retail Sales Surged

 The U.S. economy seems to be returning to firmer footing based on economic data released last week. Initial jobless claims fell to 576,000 and are the lowest they have been since mid-March 2020. The number of people receiving some form of government jobless support dropped from 18.2 million to 16.9 million, based on data from three weeks ago.

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Market Commentary: Inflation Could Be On the Horizon, Service Businesses Make a Comeback

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Inflation Could Be On the Horizon, Service Businesses Make a Comeback

 Producer prices climbed 4.2% last week (Figure 1). Energy prices contributed to the largest gain since the index rose 4.5% in September 2011. The jobs market continues to see a high level of initial jobless claims while steady progress is being made in reducing the number of unemployed receiving continuing benefits. Last week initial claims rose 16,000 to 744,000 and continuing claims dipped by 16,000 to 3.7 million.

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Market Commentary: Jobs Market Shatters Expectations, Housing Prices on the Rise

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Jobs Market Shatters Expectations, Housing Prices on the Rise

The U.S. jobs market roared back to life in March. The economy added or reclaimed 916,000 jobs, shattering expectations of a 150,000 increase. Workers being recalled or hired to fill openings at restaurants and bars contributed 176,000 jobs to March’s gains. Previous months were revised higher by 156,000.

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Market Commentary: Personal Income Fell in February, Stimulus Clouds Underlying Economic Health

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Personal Income Fell in February, Stimulus Clouds Underlying Economic Health

 Slow improvement in economic data is being masked by the surging nature of government support. The gush of personal income growth in January was followed by a 7.1% decline in February. March will likely surge again with the latest round of stimulus. Employee compensation, which excludes government payments, was flat last month and has increased 0.2% over the last year.

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Market Commentary: Retail Sales Fell After January Stimulus Surge, Don’t Expect Interest Rate Hike

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Retail Sales Fell After January Stimulus Surge, Don’t Expect Interest Rate Hike

Retail sales were unable to keep pace with a stimulus-induced surge. Retail and food service sales dropped 3% in February after spiking 7.6% in January. The January data was revised 2.3% higher than first reported. Core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, and restaurants, fell even farther, dropping 3.4%. Over the last year, core retail sales have increased 10.7%.

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Market Commentary: Biden Signs Stimulus Bill, U.S. Surpasses 100 Million Vaccine Doses, Recovery Continues

Market Commentary

Market Commentary: Biden Signs Stimulus Bill, U.S. Surpasses 100 Million Vaccine Doses, Recovery Continues

Events are aligning to give the U.S. economy a big boost. The Biden administration approved a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that will provide immediate relief to millions of American households. Last week the U.S. surpassed 100 million vaccine doses, and expectations are the U.S. will be vaccinating all age ranges by mid-late April.

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