Weekly Economic Update: April 29, 2024

The Markets (as of market close April 26, 2024)

Stocks closed last week higher, driven up by tech and communication shares. All the major stock benchmark indexes climbed higher, led by the Nasdaq, which rose more than 4.0%. With nearly 50.0% of S&P 500 companies reporting first-quarter earnings, 77.0% reported positive earnings per share and 60.0% reported positive revenue according to the latest information from FactSet). Each of the market sectors closed last week ahead, with consumer staples and information technology leading the way. Ten-year Treasury yields rose 5.0 basis points. The dollar was relatively flat. Crude oil prices gained 0.5%, while gold prices fell 2.2%.


Last Week’s Economic News

  • Gross domestic product increased 1.6% in the first quarter of 2024, according to the advance estimate. The personal consumption expenditures price index increased 3.4% in the first quarter, compared with a fourth-quarter increase of 1.8%.
  • Consumer prices rose 0.3% in March and 2.7% over the last 12 months. The annual rates are above expectations. Consumer spending rose 0.8% last month, while personal income increased 0.5%.
  • Sales of new single-family homes in March were 8.8% above the February estimate and 8.3% over a year ago.
  • Orders for durable goods rose 2.6% in March after rising 0.7% in February.
  • The advance report on the international trade in goods deficit was $91.8 billion in March, up $1.5 billion, or 1.7%, from $90.3 billion in February.
  • The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.668 per gallon on April 22, $0.040 per gallon above the prior week’s price and $0.012 per gallon more than a year ago.
  • For the week ended April 20, there were 207,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s level. According to the Department of Labor, the advance rate for insured unemployment claims for the week ended April 13 was 1.2%, unchanged from the previous week’s rate.


Eye on the Week Ahead

The Federal Open Market Committee meets this week. It is unlikely that interest rates will be lowered following this meeting. However, it will be interesting to see if the Committee changes its projections for interest rate reductions going forward. Following their last meeting, the Fed projected three interest rate reductions during 2024. Also out this week is the jobs data for April. Over 300,000 new jobs were added in March as the labor sector continued to show strength.

Have a nice week!





Robert G. Carpenter

President & CEO
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors