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April 1, 2019

The major indices finished the quarter higher as investors gained confidence from signs of progress in the U.S. China trade talks, modestly higher fixed income yields, and as Wall Street ride-hailing company Lyft began trading.

The Fed's preferred inflation measure, cooled to 1.8%, and undershot the 1.9% forecast causing a more dovish stance on behalf of the committee. Personal consumption and personal income rose 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively, whereas the markets were anticipating 0.3% for both reports. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment report edged up to 98.4, from 93.8.

The Chicago PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) fell to 58.7, from 64.7. The economic updates today are likely to encourage the Fed to keep their monetary policy on hold for the foreseeable future, if not for the whole year. A combination of a strong labor market, better than expected earnings and a more accommodative Federal Reserve has supported a full recovery from December’s 9% loss on the S&P 500.

New home sales in the U.S. rose faster than expected in February, the Census Bureau said, in a sign that the housing market remains on a solid footing despite a slight slowdown in the economy. Sales rose 4.9% as some 667,000 new homes were sold during the month on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from a revised 636,000 sales in January.

For the year the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ are all ahead at 11.15, 13.07 and 16.49 percent, respectively, while the 10-year Treasury is yielding 2.41percent.