U.S. and World News
- United States and Chinese trade officials are set to have two more face-to-face meetings in the next few weeks that could lead to a trade deal being signed in late May. On April 4th, President Trump stated that it might be four weeks before a deal is made and then two more weeks to finalize it. The “trade truce” that was put in place at the beginning of the year, when the United States canceled a planned increase in the tariff rate on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, negotiations have made significant headway. One issue that the United States has struggled with is the demand for China to implement major change to the level of power that the state has in the economy, and China’s denial of any wrongdoing. Protection of intellectual property is another issue that the United States continues to battle for, as currently any foreign company to China must provide their technology. Meanwhile, the European Union has agreed to start trade talks with the United States on industrial goods, however, France will remain on the sidelines after a French official stated that “France is opposed to the initiation of any trade negotiations with countries outside the Paris climate agreement.” At the heart of the issue of trade between the United States and Europe are subsidies for Airbus and Boeing by their respective governments and the fact that Airbus has received $18 billion in subsidies that the World Trade Organization had deemed illegal.
- Markets rose higher again this week. The S&P 500 rose 0.60% and closed at 2,905. The Dow Jones rose 1.63% and closed at 26,560. Year to date, the S&P is up 16.55% and the Dow Jones is up 14.61%.
- Yields did not change from last week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are yielding 2.37% and 2.56%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose this week. Prices rose 0.17% and closed at $64.00 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are up 40.94%.
- The spot price of Gold fell 1.13% this week and closed at $1,275.82 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are down 0.65%.
- Initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 192,000 for the week. The four-week moving average of claims fell by 6,000 to 201,000. Claims fell by 4,000 in New York, 3,000 in California, and by 2,000 in Tennessee.
- Retail sales rose by 1.6% versus expectations for a 1.0% increase
- Retail sales ex-auto & gas rose by 0.9% versus expectations for a 0.4% increase
- Industrial production fell by 0.1% versus expectations for a 0.2% increase
- The trade deficit fell to -$49.4 billion versus expectations for a level of -$53.4 billion
- Wholesale inventories rose by 0.2% versus expectations for a 0.3% increase
- Business inventories rose by 0.3%, in-line with expectations
- Housing starts fell by 0.3% versus expectations for a 5.4% increase
- Building permits fell by 1.7% versus expectations for a 0.7% increase
Fact of the Week
- The average cost of 1-year of college at an average 4-year public institution(including tuition, fees, room and board) has tripled over the last 22 years, rising from $7,142 for academic year 1996-97 to $21,370 during academic year 2018-19 (source: College Board).
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