The Markets (as of market close June 22, 2018)
The benchmark indexes closed flat to lower last week amid fears that trade penalties will hurt domestic companies’ exports. Only the Russell 2000 closed the week ahead of its prior week’s value. The Dow was hit particularly hard as investors fled stocks of companies that could suffer due to the impending trade wars. The United States may be targeting an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports and European-made automobiles for higher tariffs. A smaller-than-expected increase in production from OPEC sent oil prices up at the end of last week, pushing the price of some energy stocks higher..
LAST WEEK’S ECONOMIC HEADLINES
- The May report on new residential construction was a mixed bag of good and not-so-good news. On the plus side, housing starts and housing completions each expanded over their April totals. That should get more homes on the market, which should increase inventory. On the other hand, building permits were down in May from the prior month, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for future construction.
- Existing home sales, which had been a strong segment of the housing sector earlier in the year, have fallen back for the second consecutive month.
- In the week ended June 16, there were 218,000 initial claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s level. The advance insured unemployment rate remained at 1.2%. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended June 9 was 1,723,000, an increase of 22,000 from the prior week’s level.
EYE ON THE WEEK AHEAD
The last week of June brings with it some notable economic reports, led by the final estimate of the first-quarter gross domestic product. The report on personal income will show whether wage inflation is mirroring consumer price increases.