Kudlow, Japan/EU: Wealth Economic Update Mar. 19, 2018

U.S. and World News

  • economics_telescope-687981332_360CNBC Commentator Larry Kudlow has accepted the role of Chief Economic Advisor to President Trump after the departure of Gary Cohn amidst conflicting opinions on steel and aluminum tariffs. Larry Kudlow will first be tasked with negotiating the issue on tariffs while being particularly tough on China and he stated on Wednesday, “China can expect the U.S. to take a tough stance when it comes to international trade.” Larry Kudlow has been known to dislike tariffs and disagree with the President on this issue, however, after learning of the Canada and Mexico exemptions he has softened his view stating “I must say as somebody who doesn’t like tariffs, I think that China has earned a tough response not only from the United States.”
  • Japan and the European Union have pressured the United States to exempt them from the new steel and aluminum tariffs during a meeting in Brussels on Saturday. This was expected to come up as the United States has left further exemptions up for discussion after signing into law the new tariffs last week. The three countries agreed to take joint steps to combat steel overcapacity and attempt to regulate market prices with stronger subsidy rules.


  • Markets ended the week lower. The S&P 500 lost 20% and closed at 2,752.01. The Dow Jones also fell by 1.51% and closed at 24,946.51. Year to date, the S&P is up 3.37% and the Dow Jones is up 1.46%.
  • Yields were once again relatively unchanged this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 64% and 2.84%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose 24% this week, closing at $62.19 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are up 3.48%.
  • The spot price of Gold was down for the week losing 77%, closing at $1,313.70 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 0.84%.

Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 from last week, coming in at 226,000. The four-week moving average was unchanged at 222,000. Layoffs remain at a very low pace and continue to fall further.
  • The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.15% in February, slightly below expectations of 0.2%. The rise in February was mostly influenced by rising energy prices and the year-over-year rate remained at 1.8%.
  • The Producer Price Index rose by 0.2% in the month of February driven by core producer price inflation. This was higher than expectations of a 0.1% increase and the year-over-year rate stands at 2.9%.
  • Retail Sales declined by 0.1% in February coming in short of expectations of a 0.3% increase and the previous two months were revised down slightly.
  • Housing starts declined by -7% in February to 1,236, below consensus expectations of a -2.7% decrease. The decline of housing starts in the west largely contributed to the February figure.


Fact of the Week

  • Just 2.2% of the banks and savings institutions in the United States hold 83% of the deposits maintained in FDIC-insured institutions nationwide as of 12/31/17. There are a total of 5,670 banks and savings institutions holdings $17.4 trillion of deposits as of the end of last year (Source: FDIC).

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730 rgartelmann@oldsecond.com
Steve Meves, CFA® – (630) 801-2217 – smeves@oldsecond.com
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 bjohnson@oldsecond.com
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462 jrunnberg@oldsecond.com
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467 ejgorenz@oldsecond.com

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

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