Weekly Economic Update: April 1, 2024

The Markets (as of market close March 29, 2024)

Stocks finished the month of March in solid fashion. The major benchmark stock indexes posted gains, except for the Nasdaq. Bond yields dipped lower. Crude oil prices advanced, with energy shares ending up being a top performer. The dollar inched higher, while gold prices continued to climb.


Last Week’s Economic News

  • Personal income rose, and disposable personal income also advanced in February, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Over the last 12 months, prices increased 2.5%.
  • Gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 3.4% in the fourth quarter, according to the third and final estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • The advance report on international trade in goods showed the deficit rose 1.5% in February. Exports increased 2.8%, while imports rose 2.3%. Since February 2023, exports are up 3.6% and imports climbed 2.8%.
  • Sales of new single-family homes dipped slightly in February but were 5.9% above the February 2023 estimate. The median sales price in February was $400,500, while the average sales price was $485,000. February inventory of new single-family homes for sale sat at a supply of 8.4 months at the current sales pace.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods in February rose 1.4%, marking the first monthly increase since November 2023.
  • The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.523 per gallon on March 25, greater than the prior week’s price and more than a year ago.
  • For the week ended March 23, there were 210,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s level.


Eye on the Week Ahead

The March employment data is available this week. Employment rose by 275,000 in February as the labor sector continued to show strength. The March surveys of purchasing managers for the manufacturing and services industries are also out this week. February saw both sectors expand.

Have a nice week!





Robert G. Carpenter

President & CEO
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors