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04/29/2015
Market Update

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The U.S. housing market expanded in some areas and contracted in others, while manufacturing growth eased. Overseas, U.K. retail sales decelerated, while eurozone manufacturing and consumer sentiment moderated.
This Week
  • The U.S. housing market expanded in some areas and contracted in others, while manufacturing growth eased. Overseas, U.K. retail sales decelerated, while eurozone manufacturing and consumer sentiment moderated.
  • Initial jobless claims edged higher, to 295,000 from 294,000, for the week ending April 18; this contributed to an increase in the four-week moving average (which evens out volatility). Continuing claims (reflecting delayed data) rose by 50,000 for the week ending April 11, yet the corresponding four-week average declined to a 15-year low.
  • Manufacturing strengthened at a slower-than-anticipated pace, according to preliminary Markit survey results for April. New export orders declined for the first time since November, and output prices increased at the slowest rate in 11 months. Employment continues to rise given confidence in the economic outlook.
  • Durable goods orders rebounded in March, due to an unexpected surge in transportation, resulting in improved year-over-year growth. Conversely, most non-transportation and non-capital goods industries deteriorated in March, which is expected to detract from first-quarter manufacturing results.
  • The number of existing-home sales in March spiked on both a monthly and annualized basis, reaching peaks not seen since 2010 and 2013, respectively. Single-family home and condominium sales contributed most.
  • New-home sales remained weak in March, coming in below projections despite a reduction in median prices; supply relative to sales increased. Sales decelerated in all regions but the Midwest, with the South contracting most. Year-on-year sales increased as prices declined.
  • U.S. home prices appreciated in February at twice the rate of the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Year-over-year prices also increased, reflecting gains in all census regions.
  • U.K. retail sales contracted in March, detracting from year-over-year performance, against projections for gains. However, when excluding plummeting petrol, sales ticked higher. Monthly retail prices surged to a level not seen since 2014.
  • Eurozone manufacturing and services growth unexpectedly slowed in April, according to provisional data. Output prices continued to fall despite rising input prices. Job creation nevertheless inched to the highest point in nearly 14 years, with new services orders growing at a near-record pace.
  • Japan had its first international trade balance surplus in 33 months, thanks to the weak yen and low oil prices. Exports climbed for the seventh consecutive month. Year-over-year exports, while higher than in February, were slower.

 

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