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Market Week: April 20, 2015


Key Dates/Data Releases

4/22: Existing home sales

4/23: New home sales, jobless claims

4/24: Durable goods orders

The Markets

Investor fears returned with a vengeance on Friday, as markets tumbled across the globe. Domestic indexes were down 1% or more for the week, while the Global Dow fell nearly a quarter percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.87%. Observers attributed Friday’s stock market losses to a series of lackluster earnings reports in the United States, combined with jitters associated with a possible Greek debt default and China’s issuance of new stock trading regulations. Despite the drops, stocks are still in positive territory for the year.

Market/Index 2014 Close Prior Week As of 4/17 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 17823.07 18057.65 17826.30 -1.28% 0.02%
Nasdaq 4736.05 4995.98 4931.81 -1.28% 4.13%
S&P 500 2058.90 2102.06 2081.18 -0.99% 1.08%
Russell 2000 1204.70 1264.77 1251.86 -1.02% 3.91%
Global Dow 2501.66 2584.38 2578.82 -0.22% 3.08%
Fed. Funds .25% .25% .25% 0% 0%
10-year Treasuries 2.17% 1.96% 1.87% -9 bps -30 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • Retail sales saw a monthly gain of 0.9% in March, and were 1.3% higher than a year prior, the Commerce Department reported. Sales for the first quarter of 2015 were 2.2% higher than the same period a year ago. March’s largest jumps were seen in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+2.7%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+2.1%). Year-over-year, the biggest gainers were food services and drinking places (+7.7%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+6.3%).
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Producer Price Index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in March from February, the first monthly increase since October. The majority of the rise was due to a 0.3% gain in prices of final demand goods. Final demand services were up 0.1% for the month. In the 12 months ended in March, the PPI is down 0.8% on an unadjusted basis.
  • In its semiannual World Economic Outlook Report, the International Monetary Fund projected global economic growth to be 3.5% in 2015, up 0.1% from 2014’s 3.4%. The organization expects growth in advanced economies to be 2.4% in 2015 vs. 1.8% last year, while emerging markets would see lower growth in 2015 (4.3% vs. 4.6% in 2014). Calling expectations “moderate and uneven,” Olivier Blanchard, IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of Research, attributed these figures to a “complex set of forces shaping the world economy,” including lower oil prices, evolving exchange rates, lower potential growth (defined as the way at which the economy can grow if the factors of production are fully employed) and prolonged challenges from the financial crisis and the euro crisis (or “crisis legacies”).
  • Industrial production fell 0.6% in March, the largest monthly decline since October. The index also marked the first quarterly drop since Q2 2009, falling 1% for the three months ended in March. The quarterly result was attributed to a 60% (annualized) decrease in oil and gas well drilling and servicing, as well as a 1.2% decline in manufacturing production.
  • The Philly Fed reported modest manufacturing growth in April. By contrast, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey reported that business activity in New York was flat for the month.
  • The Commerce Department reported that housing starts rose at a tepid 2% rate in March to 926,000 units–2.5% lower than the March 2014 figure. While the number of structures that broke ground in the Northeast more than doubled, and the figure in the Midwest also grew by a healthy margin, starts in the South and West fell during the month.
  • Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), ticked up 0.2% in March, matching February’s rise, reported the BLS. The increase was driven by rises in the energy and shelter indexes, which offset a dip in the food index. Excluding food and energy, the CPI rose 0.2% for the third consecutive month.
  • Meanwhile, consumers seem to be getting more confident in their buying power, as the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 3.1% between March and April–14% higher than the same period a year ago and the second highest reading since 2007. Moreover, the average over the past five months was higher than at any time since May 2004.
  • By midweek, oil prices reached their highest level so far in 2015, after the International Energy Agency forecast increasing demand for oil worldwide. The IEA attributed its revised figures to a cold winter and a “steadily improving global economic backdrop.”

Eye on the Week Ahead

Investors will keep a close eye on proceedings in Europe as Greece continues to negotiate with its creditors, particularly during a key meeting at week’s end. On the domestic front, reports on existing and new home sales and orders for durable goods are on tap.

Data sources: News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. Market data: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/ Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.