Blog Post

The Past Week in the Markets

Stocks rose this week helped by the anticipation of a trade deal with China and a rebound in jobs creation in March.  The U.S. dollar rose and gold prices fell slightly.  Oil prices rose to a five month high on economic optimism and a decline in OPEC production.

In the numbers this week:

  • The China Caixin/Markit purchasing managers index rose to 50.8 in March up from 49.9 in February.
  • The Institute for Supply Management reported
    • U.S. Manufacturing PMI index rose from 54.2 in February to 55.3 in March, indicating an acceleration of growth in U.S. manufacturing.
    • U.S. Services PMI index fell from 59.7 in February to 56.1 in March.  Still expanding, just at a slower acceleration.
  • The Commerce Department reported for the U.S.:
    • Retail sales fell 0.2% in February.  However, January retail sales were revised up from 0.2% gain to 0.7% gain.  The February drop was mainly due to department store sales.  Online sales, car and truck sales, gas stations and restaurants were all up in February.
    • Durable goods order fell 1.6% in February.  This follows a revised 0.1% increase in January.  The drop was attributed to a 31% drop in nondefense aircraft orders which is very volatile from month to month.  Compared to the first two months of last year durable goods orders were up 4.4%.
  • The Labor Department reported
    • First time claims for unemployment fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000.  The four week moving average of claims fell to 213,500.  This is the lowest level of claims since December 6, 1969 when the workforce was much smaller.
    • The U.S. added 196,000 jobs in March.  January was revised up to 312,000 jobs and February was revised up to 33,000 jobs a net increase of 14,000.
    • The unemployment rate remained at 3.8%.
    • Average hourly wages were up 3.2% from a year earlier.
  • The Energy Information Administration weekly report is here: wpsrsummary.  Also, the EIA reported in the prior week:
    • U.S. Crude oil production rose from 12.1MM barrels per day to 12.2MM.
    • Storage of natural gas rose 23BN cubic feet.

    • Baker Hughes reported in the past week that the number of active oil rigs rose 15 to 831 and the number of active gas rigs rose 4 to 195.


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Best Regards,

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

President                                                                                                 Managing Partner

Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management             269-441-4143

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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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