U.S. and World News
- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa has outlined her plan to reshape the British economy for a post-Brexit world. Her goal is to revive industrial productivity growth in the country by encouraging innovation and focusing on sectors and technologies that will give Britain a competitive advantage. Meanwhile, the Bank of England announced more easing measures in a continued effort to spur growth. Benchmark interest rates were cut and the central bank’s bond buying program was expanded and will now include corporate bonds.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a fresh stimulus package that ranks among the country’s largest since the global financial crisis. The package totals ¥28 trillion ($274 billion) and was approved in response to growing consensus that monetary policy alone won’t be able to revive Japan’s economy. Included in the package that’s expected to lift GDP 1.4% are childcare benefits, $150 handouts to 22 million low income citizens, a loan of ¥10.7 trillion for infrastructure projects and ¥7.5 trillion for direct fiscal spending.
- India’s upper house of parliament unanimously approved the creation of a national sales tax, nearly a decade after the move was first proposed. This is considered to be the biggest legislative victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he took office in 2014. The tax bill seeks to streamline the country’s fragmented tax system by imposing a single national tax, something businesses have been lobbying for as it would reduce costs and could boost economic growth by 2%. The bill now must be ratified by at least half of all states in India, a process projected to be concluded before the end of the year.
- This week the S&P 500 was up 0.49% and closed at an All-Time High of 2,183. The Dow Jones rose 0.65% and closed at 18,544. So far in 2016, the S&P is up 8.08% and the Dow is up 7.94%.
- Interest rates popped up this week, particularly following the strong July employment report. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.13% and 1.59%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil gained 0.91% this week to close at $41.98 per barrel. WTI Crude is up 4.77% in 2016.
- The spot price of Gold fell 1.13% this week, closing at $1,336.00 per ounce. Year to date, gold prices are up 25.91%.
- Initial jobless claims came in at 269,000 which is higher than last week’s reading of 266,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 260,000.
- The July employment report showed an increase of 255,000 non-farm payrolls, beating expectations of 180,000. The prior two months’ figures were revised up a total of 18,000, bringing the three month average for job gains to 190,000.
- The headline unemployment rate remained at 4.9%, narrowly missing estimates of 4.8%. The small miss was due to the labor force participation rate rising by 0.1% to 62.8%.
- Average hourly earnings rose by 0.3% in July, beating expectations of 0.2%. Over the last 12 months, wages are up 2.6%.
- The PCE Price index (measure of inflation) rose 0.1% in June, lower than expectations of 0.2%. Over the last 12 months, the PCE index is up 0.9%.
- The Core PCE Price Index (excludes food and energy, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation) rose 0.1% in June, in line with expectations. Over the last year, core prices are up 1.6%.
Fact of the Week
- At $25,000, George Washington’s presidential salary represented 2% of the U.S. budget in 1789. If that percentage of pay held today, Barrack Obama would be paid over $67 billion a year. (Source: USA Today)
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