Blog Post

The Past Week in the Markets

US Stocks had modest losses with developed market stocks faring worse and emerging markets having sharp losses for the week.  Interest rates were higher with the 10-year treasury going above 3.1% mid-week, creating a steeper yield curve.  Energy and agricultural commodity prices were higher for the week with West Texas Intermediate oil touching on $72 per barrel during the week.  The dollar strengthened against a basket of currencies.   Geopolitical events weighed on the markets with vacillation in North Korea about the pace of nuclear disarmament and upset in Palestine over of the movement of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

In the numbers this week:

  • Eurozone growth slowed in the first quarter to 0.4% down from 0.7% in in the fourth quarter.  On an annual basis this would be about 1.6%.
  • The Commerce Department reported
    • U.S. Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in April.  Gasoline station sales rose 0.8% in higher gasoline prices.  Excluding gasoline and autos retail sales also grew 0.3% in April.
    • Housing starts fell 3.7% in April due to a lack of skilled trades workers and increases in building supplies.
    • Building permits, an indicator of future housing starts fell 0.8%.
  • The Federal Reserve reported that industrial output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in April and 3.5% over the past year.   The increase was attributed to increase consumer spending and business investment.
  • Japan’s economy shrank 0.6% in the first quarter, the first quarterly contraction since Q4 2015.
  • The Center for Disease Control reported that the fertility rate for women aged 15 to 44 fell to 60.2 births per 1000 women, the lowest since records were kept over 100 years ago.  This is significant with the aging U.S. population and fewer young people entering the work force.
  • The Labor department reported:
    • First time claims for unemployment rose 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 in the prior week.  The four week moving average of claims fell 2500 to 213,500.
  • The Energy Information Administration weekly report is here wpsrsummary (9).  Also the EIA reported:
    • Weekly field production of crude oil rose 20 thousand barrels per day.
    • Storage of Natural Gas rose 106BN cubic feet.
  • According to Baker Hughes, In the past week the number of active oil rigs was unchanged at 844 and the number of active gas rigs rose 1 to 200.
  • Factset reported that in the 1st quarter with 93% of S&P 500 companies reporting the blended earnings growth rate is 24.5% from a year ago.

Please call us if you have any questions.

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

President                                                                                                 Managing Partner

Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management             269-441-4143

77 E. Michigan Ave, Suite 140

Battle Creek, MI  49017

Tel  269-441-4090

Carrie Fuce, Assistant 269-441-4091

Toll Free: 800-513-8180

Fax  866-381-2301

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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.



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