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May 1, 2019

The Dow 30, S&P 500 and NASDAQ all experienced a good month. At one point the S&P 500 and NASDAQ both reached record highs on the heels of an unexpectedly strong GDP report.

The nation's economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019, according to the initial, or "advance," estimate of the gross domestic product from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, the GDP expanded at an annualized rate of 2.2%. Increases in government spending, private inventory investment, and exports helped drive the growth in the first quarter. A couple of points to note from this report are that consumers spent less, particularly on big-ticket items such as motor vehicles, and net exports increased as exports accelerated while purchases of imports slowed.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased $6.8 billion, or 2.7%, according to the Census Bureau. This increase, up four of the last five months, followed a 1.1% February decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.4%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.3%. Transportation equipment, also up four of the last five months, led the March increase, up 7.0% over February's figures. Shipments of durable goods increased 0.3% following a similar jump in February. New orders for capital goods, used by businesses to produce goods or services, surged 6.5% in March over February.

Several important economic and market moving reports are out this week. Information on consumer income and spending as well as the employment figures for March will be released. The unemployment rate has remained 3.8% for quite some time, while hourly earnings nudged up 0.1% in February. The Federal Open Market Committee meets next week. It is not expected that the Committee will increase interest rates, however its statement on economic conditions will be closely watched.

Year to date the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ are all up at 14.00, 17.51 and 22.19 percent, respectively, while the 10-year Treasury is yielding 2.51percent.