Weekly Economic Update: May 29, 2018

The Markets (as of market close May 25, 2018)

Domestic indexes rose last week despite sinking energy stocks and geopolitical uncertainties. Oil prices plunged, pulling energy shares down following indications that OPEC was planning to increase production. The United States’ cancellation of the summit with North Korea coincided with a sharp drop in stocks earlier in the week. Uncertainty over the course of trade negotiations between the United States and China may have added to a lukewarm response to U.S. equities from investors. In any case, the large caps of the S&P 500 and the Dow posted marginal gains. The Nasdaq recorded the largest weekly gains, while continuing to lead the year-to-date tally.


  • New home sales fell a bit in April from a downward revised March total. Inventory of available new homes for sale increased slightly during that same period.
  • Sales of existing homes, like new home sales, fell in April and are 1.4% below their pace a year ago. Total housing inventory at the end of April increased but is still lower than a year ago and has fallen year-over-year for 35 consecutive months.
  • Orders for manufactured durable goods fell in April following a jump in March. But excluding transportation, which drove the April decrease, new orders increased last month.
  • In the week ended May 19, there were 234,000 initial claims for unemployment insurance, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s level, with the advance insured unemployment rate remaining at 1.2%.


The final week of May brings with it the second release of the first-quarter gross domestic product, which grew at an annualized rate of 2.3% following the initial report in April. The personal income and outlays report for April should show continued gains in consumer income and spending, but only marginal increase in prices. The week closes with the May employment figures. Job growth has been steady, but not so much for wages.