Blog Post

Modest Stock Gains as Progress on a Debt Deal Uncertain

Most major stock indices had modest gains last week with the exception of emerging markets.  Debt limit talks had appeared to be progressing towards a deal until talks hit a snag Friday.  Comments from several FED members indicated that it will likely be a close call on raising interest rates in June depending on incoming data.

Treasury bond yields rose with the 30-year bond yield at 3.944% and the 10-Year note at 3.697%.  Freddie Mac reported that 30-year mortgage rates rose to 6.39%.  Crude oil rose to $71.81 a barrel and natural gas rose to $2.722 per MMBTUs.  The U.S. dollar index rose to 103.24 and gold fell to $1978.10 an ounce.

  • Japan reported gross domestic product rose 0.4% in the first quarter, an annualized rate of 1.6%, boosted by increased tourism after relaxing Covid travel restrictions.
  • The National Association of Realtors reported:
    • Existing home sales fell 3.4% in April from March and are down 23.2% from a year ago.
    • The median sales price for an existing home was $388,800 and is down 1.7% from a year ago, the largest annual drop in 11 years.
    • The inventory of homes for sale rose from 2.2 months’ supply in March to a 2.9 months’ supply in April.
  • The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in April following two months of declines.
    • March retail sales were revised to a 0.7% decline.
    • Seasonally adjusted April housing starts rose 2.2% from March but are down 22.3% from last April.
      • Single family starts rose 1.6%.
      • Multifamily starts fell 5.2%.
    • Seasonally adjusted home building permits, a sign of future housing starts, fell 1.5% in April and are down 21.1% from a year ago.
  • The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production rose 0.5% in April following little changes in February and March.  From a year ago industrial production has risen 0.2%.
    • Manufacturing increased 1.0% based on a strong gain in automobiles and parts.  Excluding autos and parts industrial production rose 0.4%.
    • Mining, including oil and gas production rose 0.6% and is up 5.6% from a year ago.
    • Utility production fell 3.1% in April and is down 0.4% from a year ago.
  • The Labor Department reported:
    • Seasonally adjusted first-time claims for unemployment were 242,000 down from 264,000 in the prior week.
      • The 4-week moving average of claims, designed to smooth out volatility, was 244,250 down from 245,250 in the prior week.
  • The EIA weekly oil report is here: .  Also, the EIA reported in the prior week:
    • Field production of crude oil fell from 12.3MM BPD 12.2MM BPD.
    • Natural gas storage rose 9BN cubic feet and is above the 5-year average at this time of year.
  • Baker Hughes reported the number of active oil rigs fell 11 to 575.  The number of active natural gas rigs was unchanged at 141.
  • Factset reported that with 95% of S&P 500 companies reporting earnings, the blended earnings decrease was 2.2% from a year ago.

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

Founder / Emeritus                                                                            President & C.E.O.                                  

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.



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