Weekly Economic Update: April 22, 2024

The Markets (as of market close April 19, 2024)

Wall Street experienced a down week as tech shares, which had been the bellwether of the bull market, retreated from selloffs as traders worried about rising tensions in the Middle East and stubborn inflationary pressures. The Dow managed to essentially break even by week’s end, and that was the good news. The remaining benchmark indexes declined, with the Nasdaq losing more than 5.5%. Last week saw several Federal Reserve officials taking a more hawkish stance due to hotter-than-anticipated inflation data. Ten-year Treasury yields gained 12.0 basis points as bond values slid lower. Crude oil prices declined, while gold prices extended their streak of gains.


Last Week’s Economic News

  • Sales of existing homes fell 4.3% in March and 3.7% from a year earlier. Sales of existing single-family homes also declined in March, falling 4.9% from February and 11.4% from a year ago.
  • Industrial production rose in March but declined at an annual rate of 1.8% in the first quarter. Manufacturing output increased in March, boosted in part by a gain in motor vehicles and parts; factory output excluding motor vehicles and parts moved up 0.3%. Mining fell 1.4%, while utilities gained 2.0%. Total industrial production in March was unchanged compared with its year-earlier level.
  • The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.628 per gallon on April 15, $0.037 per gallon more than the prior week’s price.
  • For the week ended April 13, there were 212,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, unchanged from the previous week’s level.Retail sales rose in March from February and 4.0% from March 2023.
  • The number of issued residential building permits declined in March from the previous month’s estimate, but were 1.5% above the March 2023 rate. The number of housing starts fell 14.7% last month and 4.3% below the March 2023 estimate. Housing completions also declined in March, down 13.5% for the month and 3.9% from a year earlier.


Eye on the Week Ahead

There’s plenty of market-moving economic data available this week. Two important pieces of information that will garner much attention include the advance report on first-quarter gross domestic product. GDP grew at a rate of 3.4% in the fourth quarter but is expected to slow to 2.3% in the first quarter of 2024. Also out this week is the March report on personal income and outlays. Consumer spending rose 0.8% in February, while consumer prices increased 0.3%.

Have a nice week!





Robert G. Carpenter

President & CEO
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors