Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through March 3rd

Global markets fell over the week over concerns of a global trade war and the potential for a faster pace of interest rate increases by the Fed.  The S&P 500 fell 2.0% and the Dow sank 3.0% for the week.  Internationally, Japan % and Europe % for the week.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury ended the week down slightly at 2.86%.   Article

Auto sales eased in February falling 2.4%. 

US household income rose 0.9% in January driven higher by the tax changes.  It’s the largest monthly jump since December 2012.

New jobless claims fell to their lowest level in 50 years last week. 

Trump announced that the US would apply a 25% tariff to steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports in hopes of reviving domestic manufacturing.  Article

New home sales dropped 7.8% in January after a step decline in December, while economists had expected a 4.0% increase.  Poor weather is being blamed for the drop. 

Home prices rose 6.3% in December over the past year.

Consumer confidence reached its highest level since 2000 in February. 

In Powell’s first appearance on Capitol Hill he struck an optimistic tone about the US economy saying the Fed remained on pace to continue to gradually raise interest rates.  Some of his comments spurred investors to think 4 interest rate increases were possible this year.   Article

The US economy rose at a 2.5% clip in the fourth quarter, down slightly from the first estimate of 2.6%.

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