- The U.S. economy expanded in the fourth quarter, alongside more recent gains in employment and consumer prices. In the U.K., consumer prices remained flat and year-over-year inflation reached a historical low, while eurozone consumer confidence reflects sustained growth.
- New and existing home sales increased in February and on an annualized basis. For the month, existing home sales were boosted by single-family units as prices increased. New home sales reached record back-to-back months not seen since 2008, although median prices declined.
- U.S. consumer prices bounced back in February, as anticipated, edging into positive territory. Energy and gasoline, which rose for the first time since June, were up the most, while apparel, vehicle and tobacco prices also increased.
- Initial jobless claims for the week ending March 21 fell by 9,000, to 282,000, resulting in a decline in the four-week moving average (which evens out weekly volatility). Continuing claims dropped for the week ending March 14.
- Preliminary data from the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) reflected greater manufacturing activity in March. New orders, output and employment reached multi-month highs, while domestic sales offset declining exports. However, input prices were down and output prices remained sluggish.
- The services sector expanded to reach a six-month peak in March, according to advance PMI data. Economic conditions improved, new orders and backlogs reached multi-month highs, and employment was up. However, business expectations fell to their lowest point since 2012.
- Durable goods orders decelerated by more than expected in February, offsetting January’s advance. Defense and civilian aircraft orders plunged along with the broader transportation sector. Orders for electronics, computers and machinery also decreased, while electrical equipment and primary metals improved.
- Consumer sentiment strengthened in late March, according to the University of Michigan. Both readings—confidence in current economic conditions and consumer expectations—increased following a drop earlier in the month.
- The U.S. economy grew by a less-than-projected 2.2% in the fourth quarter, in line with the previous estimate and less than half of the pace seen in the third-quarter.
- Consumer prices in the U.K. rose during February, moving into positive territory from the prior month. However, year-over-year consumer prices were flat, a 55-year low. Unchanged monthly prices for recreation weighed most on the annual figure.
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