Weekly Economic Update: February 26, 2024

The Markets (as of market close February 23, 2024)

Stocks advanced last week, driven higher by tech shares that were bolstered by favorable corporate earnings reports. The Dow, the Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 posted weekly gains for the 16th time out of the last 18 trading weeks. Of the major stock benchmark indexes, only the small caps of the Russell 2000 closed the week in the red. Each of the 11 market sectors ended the week higher, led by consumer staples, materials, and health care. Bond prices ticked higher, pulling yields lower, with 10-year Treasuries slipping 3.0 basis points. The dollar slipped lower, while gold prices advanced. Crude oil prices fell over $3.00 per barrel.


Last Week’s Economic News

  • Existing-home sales grew by in January, with sales. Despite the recent increase, sales were under the January 2023 pace.
  • The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.269 per gallon on February 19, $0.077 per gallon higher than the prior week’s price.
  • For the week ended February 17, there were 201,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s level.


Eye on the Week Ahead

This week is loaded with important, potential market-moving economic information. The second estimate of the fourth-quarter gross domestic product is available. The initial release had the economy accelerating at an annualized rate of 3.3%. The January report on personal income and outlays is also out at the end of this week. Most traders will be focused on the personal consumption expenditures price index, a measure of inflation favored by the Federal Reserve. Prices advanced 0.2% in December. However, January has seen other inflation indicators accelerate at a rate higher than expected, so it is likely the same will hold true for the PCE price index.

Have a nice week!





Robert G. Carpenter

President & CEO
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors