The Markets (as of market close August 17, 2018)
The large caps of the Dow and S&P 500 got a boost from a tentative agreement between the United States and China to settle their trade dispute by November. Strong corporate earnings reports also helped push stocks higher, particularly for the Dow, which rose close to 1.50% by last week’s end. The Nasdaq dipped more than a quarter of a percent while the Russell 2000 climbed higher. Long-term bond yields sank as increasing demand pushed prices higher (bond yields and prices move in opposite directions).
The price of crude oil (WTI) fell again last week and the price of gold (COMEX) also dropped during that time period as well.
LAST WEEK’S ECONOMIC HEADLINES
- Prices for U.S. imports recorded no change in July after edging down 0.1% in June.
- In July, retail sales increased from June, and are up 6.4% over July 2017.
- According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production edged up slightly in July continuing the rise over the previous five months. Overall, total industrial production was 4.2% higher in July than it was a year earlier.
- The number of building permits and housing starts increased in July, while housing completions lagged these two other leading indicators.
EYE ON THE WEEK AHEAD
The latest information on the housing sector is available this week with reports on sales of existing and new homes in July. Housing prices have been rising and inventory is advancing at a snail’s pace making for a very slow-moving housing market.