Blog Post

First Quarter Comes to an End on a Mixed Week

The first quarter ended with all major stock indices down, the first down quarter since the beginning of the pandemic.  For the week, stocks were little changed with major indices ending mixed.

Stocks rose Tuesday on talks between Ukraine and Russia in Turkey and Russia’s announcement that it would withdraw forces around Kyiv.  While the potential de-escalation is promising, Russia is focusing on the eastern parts of Ukraine which have raised concerns about a partitioning of the country.  The humanitarian crisis is extreme with estimates now that 5000 civilians just in the city of Mariupol have been killed and some are being forcefully removed to Russia.  Humanitarian corridors, long promised by Russia to allow civilians to leave Mariupol, have frequently been blocked.

The Pentagon announced an additional $300 million in military supplies to Ukraine.

OPEC+ met and stuck with their gradual monthly production increase for May which will increase production by 432,000 barrels per day.  OPEC+ includes Russia and no effort was made to adjust the country allocation for Russian oil sanctions.  Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which could increase production faster to alleviate spiking prices, declined to do so. 

President Biden announced Thursday the release of  1MM barrels per day from the strategic petroleum reserve for up to six months to combat inflation.  The SPR currently holds 568MM barrels of oil, down from 727MM barrels at the end of 2009.

The U.S. added Russian tech companies to it’s sanctions as it is believed these companies supply the military and help Russia evade other sanctions.

Treasury yields fell with the 30-year bond yield at 2.421% and the 10-Year note at 2.373%.  U.S. crude oil fell to $99.49 a barrel and natural gas rose to $5.709 per MMBTUs.  The U.S. dollar index fell to 98.56 and gold fell to $1926.50 an ounce.

In the economic numbers:

  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rose 19.2% in the 12 months ending in January, up from 18.9% in December.  The rise came as the inventory of homes for sale fell to the lowest level since the index was created in 1999.
  • Germany reported inflation was 7.6% from a year earlier in March. 
  • The U.K. revised its fourth quarter growth from 1.0% to 1.3%.   
  • The Commerce Department reported:
    • The personal spending expenditure price index rose 0.6% in February. 
      • From a year ago the PCE index, the FEDs preferred measure of inflation, rose 6.4%.
      • Core PCE inflation, excluding volatile food and energy were up 5.4% from a year earlier.
    • Consumer spending rose 0.2% in February, down from a 2.1% increase in January.  Adjusted for inflation, spending fell 0.4% in February.
    • Personal income rose 0.5% in February.  Adjusted for inflation personal incomes fell 0.1%.
  • The Labor Department reported:
    • There were 11.3MM job openings in February, slightly below the record of 11.4MM openings in December.
    • The U.S. added 431,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6%.
    • First time claims for unemployment to 202,000 up from a revised 188,000 in the prior week.
    • The 4-week moving average of claims, designed to smooth out volatility, fell to 208,500.
    • Continuing claims fell from 1.35MM to 1.34MM in the week ending March 19th .  
    • For the full unemployment report go here: .
  • The EIA weekly oil report is here: .  Also, the EIA reported in the prior week:
    • Field production of crude oil rose from 11.6MM BPD to 11.7MM BPD.
    • Natural gas storage fell 26BN cubic feet and is below the 5-year average at this time of year.
  • Baker Hughes reported the number of active oil rigs rose 2 to 533.  The number of active natural gas rigs rose 1 to 138.

Please call us if you have any questions.

Loren C. Rex, CFP®, MA                                                                     Erik A Smith, AIF®

Founder / Emeritus                                                                            President & C.E.O.                                                       

269-441-4143                                                                                    517-795-2025

Registered Representative of and securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.  Cambridge and Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management are separate companies and are not affiliated.

 These are the opinions of Loren Rex and Erik Smith and are not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.  The Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.


If you are serious about planning for your future, we want to meet with you. We ask that you provide us with some basic information so we can assess your needs and schedule a meeting. Please follow the link below to complete our survey.