U.S. and World News
- The United States and the European Union have agreed to work towards “zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies for the non-auto industrial goods.” Additionally, the European Union will import more soybeans and liquefied natural gas from the United States. Earlier in June, a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum imported from the European Union was put in place by the United States, and soon after, the European Union imposed retaliatory tariffs on the United States. The planned 20% tariff on cars imported from Europe was put on hold this week as the two sides work towards zero tariffs.
- Tensions with Iran continue to rise as Iran struggles with sanctions imposed by the United States. The United States will sanction any country that purchases Persian crude oil. Iran has threatened to halt all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the United States continues to pressure its oil exports. The Strait of Hormuz is an area where 30% of all seaborne-traded crude oil is carried and blocking it could send oil prices up near $90 per barrel.
- In a city just northeast of Athens, Greece, a fire broke out that has killed at least 82 people and is said to be the worst in decades for the country. Public Order Minister Nikos Toskas stated “We have serious indications and significant findings of criminal activity concerning arson.” Satellite image analysis indicated that the fire broke out in multiple places within a short time frame. The fire tore through seaside resorts and vacation residences in an area popular for tourism.
- Stocks rose higher this week. The S&P 500 increased by 0.61% and closed at 2,819. The Dow Jones rose 1.57% and closed at 25,451. Year to date, the S&P is up 6.51% and the Dow Jones is up 4.20%.
- Yields also spiked this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are yielding 2.84% and 2.96%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose this week amidst higher tensions in the Mideast, gaining 1.07% and closing at $68.99 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are up 14.77%.
- The spot price of Gold decreased 0.51% this week, closing at $1,223.24 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are down 6.11%.
- Initial jobless claims rose by 9,000 to 217,000 this week. The four-week moving average of claims moved down by 3,000 to 218,000. Jobless claims rose by 4,000 in Kentucky, and 3,000 in Michigan.
- Durable goods orders increased by 1.0% in June versus consensus expectations of a 3.0% increase, reflecting a decline in defense orders.
- Durable goods ex-transports rose 0.4% in June versus expectations of a 0.5% increase.
- Wholesale inventories were flat in June versus expectations of a 0.3% increase.
- Existing home sales fell 0.6% month-over-month in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.38 million units. Expectations were for a 0.2% increase.
- Sales of new single-family homes fell 5.3% in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 631k units, below expectations of 668k units. The decline was led by the Midwest region.
- Real GDP rose by 4.1% in the second quarter, the fastest pace since 2014. Consensus expectations were for 4.2%. The strong quarter was led by stronger-than-expected growth in consumption and business investment.
- Q1 GDP was revised up by 0.2% to 2.2%
- The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment increased by 0.8 points to 97.9 in July against expectations of a flat reading.
Fact of the Week
- In a recently conducted British survey, 42% of respondents admit that they are not sure whether you can put an electric car through a car wash. (Source: Go Ultra Low)
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