U.S. and World News
- Two years ago today, the United Kingdom asked the European Union for a divorce and today is the day that Brexit was finally supposed to transpire, however, many questions remain about how the whole thing will shake out. The new deadline is now two weeks away and lawmakers are left scrambling to pass a deal to avoid the “no-deal” Brexit, an outcome that no one wants. Theresa May also announced this week that she would resign if the deal was approved in a last ditch effort to save her deal, but was answered by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party promising to continue to reject her deal. The withdrawal agreement that was voted on today was rejected, as expected, meaning the hard deadline for Brexit is April 12th. Following the vote today, European Council President Donald Tusk announced a summit for April 10th, raising more questions about the possibility of another extension.
- Boeing held a briefing for about 200 pilots and representatives this week describing in detail the software changes that control a system designed to prevent a mid-flight stall. Boeing publically revealed the updates to the 737 MAX software and stated that the update would give pilots more control over the MCAS system and make it less likely to be set off by faulty data. FAA regulators were questioned by lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week about the oversight of the aviation industry and how the MCAS system was tested.
- Stocks jumped higher this week. The S&P 500 rose 1.23% and closed at 2,834. The Dow Jones gained 1.67% and closed at 25,929. Year to date, the S&P is up 13.63% and the Dow Jones is up 11.79%.
- Yields continued to fall this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are yielding 2.23% and 2.40%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil surged this week. Prices rose 2.24% and closed at $60.14 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are up 32.44%.
- The spot price of Gold lost 1.63% this week and closed at $1,292.23 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 0.76%.
- Initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 211,000 for the week. The four-week moving average of claims fell by 3,000 to 217,000. The decline in claims was broad based.
- The third estimate of Q4 GDP came in at 2.2% versus expectations for 2.6%
- Personal Consumption rose by 2.5% in Q4 versus expectations for a 2.6% increase
- Housing starts fell by 8.7% in February versus expectations for a decline of 0.8%
- Building permits fell by 1.6% versus expectations for a decline of 1.3%
- The Conference Board index of consumer confidence fell by 7.3 points to 124.1 in March versus expectations for a reading of 132.5
- The trade deficit fell by more than expected to $51.1 billion in January versus expectations for a reading of -$57.0 billion
- Pending home sales fell by 1% in February versus expectations for a decline of 0.5%
- The January core PCE index increased by 0.06% versus expectations for 0.2%
- Personal income increased 0.2% versus expectations for an increase of 0.3%
- Personal spending rose by 0.1% in January versus expectations for a 0.3%
- The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment rose by 0.6 points to 98.4 versus expectations for a reading of 97.8
Fact of the Week
- 3 of the top 4 occupations projected to create the greatest number of new jobs nationwide between 2016-2026 are in the health care industry–personal care aides(+777,600 new jobs), registered nurses(+438,100 new jobs) and home health aides(+431,200 new jobs) (source: Department of Labor).
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