Blog Post

Stocks Mixed as Global Trade Impacted by Suez Fiasco

Stocks ended the week mixed, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrials up and the Nasdaq, Foreign Stock Indices and Russell 2000 lower.   The weakness was caused in part by increases in Covid cases despite more of the population becoming vaccinated. 

FED Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen testified to Congress that there will be a strong economic recovery this year but it will not completely restore the economy to pre-Covid levels.  Mr. Powell also stated that he does not believe the stimulus will result in an unwelcome increase in inflation but, if it does, the FED has tools to deal with that. 

The Suez canal was blocked by a large cargo ship that ran aground during a sandstorm.  Freeing the ship and reopening the canal may take a week.  As 10% of global shipping passes through the canal, this is a significant impact to global supply chains as ships are delayed or rerouted around the horn of Africa.

Treasury yields fell with the 30-year bond yield closing at 2.387% and the 10-Year note closing at 1.685%.  Crude oil fell to $60.80 a barrel while natural gas rose to $2.624 per MMBTUs.  The U.S. dollar index rose to 92.72 and gold fell to $1731.80 an ounce. 

In the economic numbers this week: 

  • The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales fell 6.6% in February from January due to low inventories and severe winter weather.  February sales were up 9.1% from a year earlier.
  • The Commerce Department reported:
    • Durable goods orders fell 1.1% in February, the first decline since last April.  This follows a revised 3.5% gain in January.  The decline was attributed to harsh winter weather and supply chain disruptions due to Covid. 
      • Unfilled durable goods order rose 0.8%.
      • Commercial aircraft orders surged 103% in February as Boeing saw 82 new orders.
      • Non-defense capital goods minus aircraft fell 1.0% in February.
      • Orders for motor vehicles and parts fell 8.7% largely due to semi-conductor shortages.
    • Household spending fell 1.0% in February.  This follows a 3.4% increase in January following the $600 stimulus payments.
    • Household income fell 7.1% in February following a 10.1% rise in January.
    • The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index rose 0.2% in February.  Excluding volatile food and energy, prices rose only 0.1%.  From a year earlier the PCE index was up 1.6% and 1.4% excluding food and energy.
  • The Labor Department reported: 
    • A seasonally adjusted 684,000 workers filed initial claims for unemployment in the week ending March 20th.  This was an large decrease from  a revised 781,000 the week before and the lowest since the pandemic started.
    • The 4-week moving average, designed to smooth out volatility, fell to 736,000, also the lowest since the pandemic started.
    • Continuing claims fell from 4.1MM to 3.9MM in the week ending March 13th.
    • A broader measure of claims including extended benefits, pandemic assistance and other programs rose from 18.2MM to 19.0MM in the week ending March 6th.
    • 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 increased from 10.9MM BPD to 11.0MM BPD.
    • Natural gas storage fell 36BN cubic feet and is below the average level at this time of year during the past five years.
    • Utilities have increased spending on electric transmission lines from $9.1BN in 2000 to $40BN in 2019.  Such spending is required to support renewable energy.
  • Baker Hughes reported the number of active oil rigs rose 6 to 324.  The number of active natural gas rigs was unchanged at 92.

Please call us if you have any questions.

Best Regards,

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

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

Visit our Website:

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.