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In the Markets – Week-Ending April 1

by Peter J. Creedon

Newsletter: In the Markets – Week-Ending April 1
Crystal Brook Advisors
We Make Financial Planning Crystal Clear™

United States: The Pending Home Sales Index rose 3.5 percent in February, recovering all of January’s 3.0 percent loss. With the gain, pending home sales are now 5.1 percent above their year-ago level.(1) Although personal income and spending data beat expectations for February, revisions to January’s data were decisively negative. That said, a higher savings rate and solid fundamentals are encouraging.(2)

Europe: Fears that Britain might vote to leave the European Union helped keep consumer confidence at the lowest level in more than a year, according to GfK’s consumer-confidence index.

Asia: JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and Wells Fargo & Co. have been asked by U.S. authorities to retain and turn over records that may be related to improper transfers from an embattled Malaysian state fund.(3)

Monday 03/28

• Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a set of updated projections of the federal budget deficit over the next decade. Budget deficits are still set to rise, leading to a higher debt to GDP ratio.(4)
• Gold futures finished at their lowest level in a month on Monday, after suffering from their worst weekly loss of the year.(5)

Tuesday 03/29

• U.S. home prices rose in line with expectation in January, with all three S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (HPI) rising modestly during the month. Nationally, home prices are up 5.4 percent from their year-ago level.(6)
• Consumer Confidence rose 2.2 points in March to 96.6 and February’s data were revised up. The headline looks better than the underlying details, however, as consumers remain frustrated by sluggish income growth.(7)

Wednesday 03/30

• Household net worth continues to rise and debt-service ratios are near all-time lows. Despite our outlook for debt-service ratios to rise, it appears that continued tightening by the Fed should not derail consumption .(8)
• The private sector added 200,000 jobs in March, ADP reported Wednesday, a modest deceleration from the prior month’s revised 205,000.(9)

Thursday 03/31

• With a 0.9 percent year-over-year rate of growth in Q4, Argentina managed to grow 2.1 percent in 2015. However, expect revisions when first quarter 2016 results are released in June.(10)
• Extra working days in Q4-2015 helped to boost the year-over-year rate of GDP growth, but the details still show that growth was solid.(11)

Friday 04/01

• March job gains came in at 215,000 with improvement across many sectors. Meanwhile, labor costs continue to rise, consistent with a tightening labor market. However, structural unemployment persists.(12)


Market Close
U.S. stocks closed higher Friday as investors bet that a spate of economic data, including the March jobs report, wouldn’t speed up the pace of interest-rate increases. The S&P 500 gained 13.05 points, or 0.6%, to 2,072.79 — bolstered by health-care and consumer-staples shares like Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA, +2.92% The index gained 1.8% on the week, its strongest performance in a month. The Dow industrials gained 107.73 points, or 0.6%, to 17,792.82, led higher by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, -0.67% and Visa Inc. V, -0.06% The blue-chip gauge rose 1.6%, its strongest gain in two weeks. The Nasdaq Composite gained 44.69 points, or 0.9%, to 4,914.54 for a weekly gain of 3% — its best performance in six weeks.(13)

Contributor: Felipe Vargas-Zúñiga

(1) Source: National Association of Realtors and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
(2) Source: U.S. Department of Commerce and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
(3) Source: Bloomberg
(4) Source: Congressional Budget Office, U.S. Dept. of the Treasury and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
(5) Source: MarketWatch
(6) Source: S&P, FHFA, National Association of Realtors and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
(7) Source: The Conference Board, U.S. Department of Labor and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
(8) Source: Federal Reserve Board and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
(9) Source: MarketWatch
(10) Source: IHS Global Insight and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
(11) Source: IHS Global Insight and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
(12) Source: IHS Global Insight and Wells Fargo Securities
(13) Source: MarketWarch

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