Blog Post

Weekly Market Commentary – Southwest Michigan

U.S. Stocks gained this week after declining the previous two weeks based on corporate earnings and administration comments about tax cuts.  Foreign stocks had smaller gains after a mid-week dip due to concerns about the French elections.  Existing home sales rose to their highest level since February 2007.  Treasury yields rose slightly for the week.  Commodities were mostly down with oil prices having the greatest weakness.  The U.S. Dollar ended the week lower against a basket of foreign currencies.

In the numbers this week:

  • China reported a 6.9% annual growth rate in the first quarter.  The improved growth rate was attributed to easy lending and infrastructure spending.
  • The Federal Reserve reported that manufacturing production fell 0.4% in March after gaining a revised 0.3% in February.  Overall industrial production rose due to a record 8.6% rise in utility output due to colder weather following the February thaw.
  • The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales rose 4.4% in the month of March.  This follows a 3.9% decline in February.  From a year ago, March sales were up 5.9%.
  • IHS Markit reported that the purchasing managers index for eurozone manufacturing rose to 56.7 in April from 56.4 in March indicating faster expansion.
  • The Commerce Department reported
    • Housing starts decreased 6.8% in March after hitting their highest level since October 2007 in February.  Mild winter weather was attributed for pulling forward some spring construction.
    • Permits for residential construction rose 3.6% in March and were up 17% from a year ago.  Permits are an indication of future construction.
  • The International Monetary fund:
    • Increased its forecast for world growth in 2017 from 3.4% to 3.5%.  Its U.S. growth estimate was unchanged at 2.3%.
    • Warned that U.S. Corporate debt levels were too high.  Corporate debt has expanded sharply due to low interest rates.
  • The Energy Information Administration’s Weekly Petroleum Data report is attached.
  • The Energy Information Administration reported
    • Weekly field production of crude oil increased 17,000 barrels per day in the prior week.
    • Natural gas in storage rose 54 Bcf from the prior week.
  • Baker Hughes reported that oil drilling rigs rose 5 to 688.  Gas drilling rigs rose 5 to 167.
  • The Labor Department reported Initial claims for unemployment rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000.  The four-week moving average of claims, designed to smooth out weekly fluctuations, fell 4,250 to 243,000.

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

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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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