Weekly Economic Update: April 30, 2018

The Markets (as of market close April 27, 2018)

An avalanche of corporate earnings reports impacted the market last week. There were some lackluster corporate earnings statements to prompt investors to exercise caution, resulting in a relatively flat week for equities. As it stands, only the Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 are ahead of their year-end values. On the other hand, long-term bond yields soared as prices fell (bond prices and yields move in opposite directions). We remain fully invested in the growth portion of portfolios for BWFA clients and feel that even in 2018 calendar year, the overall stock market, and more specifically the companies that we invest in for clients can have a solid year of returns. Oil prices climbed last week, while gold prices fell. At BWFA we remain more bullish on stocks and neutral to bearish on bonds.


  • The first, or “advance,” estimate of the gross domestic product for the first quarter of 2018 showed economic growth at an annual rate of 2.3%. The fourth-quarter GDP increased at an annualized rate of 2.9%.
  • While not at the pace set last year, sales of existing homes grew for the second consecutive month in March. The median existing price for single family home sales was $252,100 in March, up 5.9% from March 2017.
  • New home sales also improved in March. The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2018 was $337,200.
  • New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased following a gain also in February.
  • The international trade deficit was $68.0 billion in March, down $7.8 billion from February. Exports of goods for March were $140.1 billion, $3.4 billion more than February exports. Imports of goods for March were $208.1 billion, $4.4 billion less than February imports.
  • Confidence in the economy picked up in April and according to The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, consumer confidence increased for present and future economic conditions.


Several potential market-moving reports are out this week. The release of the latest report on consumer income and spending is out, which is an inflation indicator relied upon by the Federal Open Market Committee. Speaking of which, the FOMC also meets this week. The Committee raised the federal funds target rate following its last meeting in March and hinted at more rate hikes by the end of the year. The week closes with the employment report for April.