Weekly Economic Update: March 18, 2024

The Markets (as of market close March 15, 2024)

Equities closed lower for the second straight week, with the Russell 2000 losing nearly 2.0%. A sell-off in tech shares pulled the Nasdaq down 0.7%, marking the first back-to-back weekly losses since last October. Higher-than-expected inflation data may have raised traders’ concerns that the Federal Reserve may keep interest rates elevated for longer than hoped for. Information technology, consumer discretionary, health care, industrials, real estate, and utilities underperformed, while energy jumped more than 4.0%. Long-term bond prices slipped, driving yields higher. The dollar ended the week higher. Crude oil prices rose 4.0%. Gold prices declined, ending a three-week rally.


Last Week’s Economic News

  • Inflation rose for the second straight month in February and over the last 12 months.
  • The Producer Price Index rose a higher-than-expected 0.6% in February, following a 0.3% increase in January.
  • Retail and food services sales rose 0.6% last month and 1.5% over the February 2023 rate.
  • Prices for both imports and exports advanced in February.
  • The Treasury budget deficit was $296.0 billion in February, up from $22.0 billion in January.
  • Industrial production edged up in February after declining in January.
  • The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.376 per gallon on March 11, $0.026 per gallon more than the prior week’s price.
  • For the week ended March 9, there were 209,000 new claims for unemployment insurance.


Eye on the Week Ahead

The Federal Open Market Committee meets this week. It is not expected that the Committee will lower interest rates at this time, however, it may give some more discernible indication as to when rates may be decreased. The FOMC does not meet again until the beginning of May.

Have a nice week!





Robert G. Carpenter

President & CEO
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors