Blog Post

Weekly Market Commentary – Southwest Michigan

U.S. Stocks ended the week with modest gains.  The FED raised short term interest rates .25% and signaled that it would likely have two more rate increases this year.  The markets responded positively that the FED comments were not a hawkish as expected.   Despite the FED raising short term rates, the 10-year treasury yield ended the week lower than last week.   Commodities were slightly higher and the dollar fell due to the dovish comments from the FED.

In the numbers this week:

  • The Commerce Department reported:
    • Retail sales increased only 0.1% in February.  Excluding motor vehicles and automotive parts, retail sales rose 0.2%.  The weak numbers are attributed to delayed tax refunds this year.
    • Housing starts rose 3% in February to the highest level since October 2007.  Housing permits, a measure of future housing starts, fell 6.2% in February.  The February increase was attributed to warmer than normal weather.
  • The Energy Information Administration’s Weekly Petroleum Data report wpsrsummary.
  • The Energy Information Administration reported
    • Weekly field production of crude oil increase 21,000 barrels per day in the prior week.
    • Natural gas in storage fell 53 Bcf from the prior week but is still above the five-year average.
  • Baker Hughes reported that oil drilling rigs rose 14 to 631.  Gas drilling rigs rose 6 to 157.
  • The Labor Department reported
    • Initial claims for unemployment fell 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 241,000.  The four-week moving average of claims, designed to smooth out weekly fluctuations, rose 750 to 237,200.
    • Producer prices rose 0.3% in February following a 0.6% rise in January.  For the 12 months ending in February producer prices rose 2.2%.
    • Consumer prices rose only 0.1% in February.  However, from a year ago, consumer prices have risen 2.7%.  Excluding volatile food and energy prices have risen 2.2% from a year ago.
  • China reported that industrial production in rose 6.3 percent from the prior year in February.  This is up from a 6 percent rise in December.
  • The Swiss National Bank decided to leave its key policy rate at negative 0.75% despite its strong economy.  The SNB stated the Swiss currency is too strong despite its trade surplus.  The SNB has also spent hundreds of billions of francs in foreign asset purchases to decrease the value of the franc and said it would continue to do so.  Such actions are a divergence from the U.S. policy of normalizing rates and may eventually cause Switzerland to be named a currency manipulator.

Please call us if you have any questions.

Best Regards,

Loren C. Rex, CFP®, AIF®, MA                                                          Erik 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.  Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.


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