Blog Post

Weekly Market Update – Southwest Michigan

Dear ,

U.S. Stocks saw their biggest one day decline of 2017 on Wednesday after reports of a letter from former FBI director James Comey indicated that president Trump had asked him to curtail the investigation of Michael Flynn.  U.S. stocks ended the week modestly lower.  Foreign stocks rose and longer dates treasury yields fell.  Oil prices rose due to a drawdown of inventories.  Precious metals also finished the week higher.

In the numbers this week:

  • The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales rose 1.4% in the first quarter to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.62 million, the highest since Q1 2007.
  • The Eurozone reported its largest ever trade surplus as exports in March were 13% above a year ago.
  • The Federal Reserve reported
    • Industrial production rose 1.0% in April, the largest gain in over three years.  The food and auto industries were the biggest contributors to the gain.
    • Capacity use rose 0.6% to 76.7% below the long-term average of 79.9%.
    • American household debt hit a record in the first quarter this year.  However, this data is not adjusted for inflation.  Household debt fell 12% from Q3 2008 to Q2 2013 but has since risen 14.1%.  The growth rate of new debt appeared to slow in the first quarter.  Mortgage balances rose 1.7%, home-equity lines of credit fell 3.6%, auto loans rose 0.9%, student loans rose 2.6%, credit card debt fell 1.9% and all other types of loans fell 2.7% from the fourth quarter of 2016.

    • The Labor Department reported first time claims for unemployment fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 232,000 in the prior week.   The four-week moving average of claims fell 2750 to 240,750.
  • The Energy Information Administration’s Weekly Petroleum Data report is here: wpsrsummary .
  • The Energy Information Administration reported
    • Weekly field production of crude oil fell 9,000 barrels per day in the prior week.
    • Natural gas in storage rose 68 Bcf from the prior week.
  • Baker Hughes reported that oil drilling rigs increased by 8 to 720.  Gas drilling rigs rose 8 to 180.
  • The Commerce Department reported
    • Retail sales rose 0.4% in April from the prior month.
    • Housing starts fell 2.6%in April.  Single family homes rose 0.4% while multifamily starts fell 9.6%.
    • Housing permits also fell 2.5%.  The lack of increase in starts and permits is largely due to skilled labor shortages.

Please call us if you have any questions.

Best Regards,

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

President                                                                                                      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.


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