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04/28/2017
Market Update

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Manufacturing and services growth during April slowed to a seven-month low, according to preliminary readings of Markit’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI). Orders waned within both sectors, while hiring within services was particularly weak.
This Week
  • Manufacturing and services growth during April slowed to a seven-month low, according to preliminary readings of Markit’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI). Orders waned within both sectors, while hiring within services was particularly weak.
  • Housing starts dropped by a worse-than-expected 6.8% in March to the lowest level since November, due to adverse weather, labor shortages and rising materials prices. Permits, however, grew by 3.6% for the month — a possible indication of a future bounce back for homebuilders.
  • Existing-home sales surged by 4.4% in March to the best rate since February 2007, driven by condo sales. Single-family-home sales were also strong.
  • The Philadelphia Fed Survey showed slower, but continued manufacturing growth in the region during April. New orders decelerated most significantly, while employment expanded.
  • Industrial production rose by a better-than-expected 0.5% in March. Utilities gained a record 8.6%, but manufacturing fell by 0.4% after severe storms struck the Northeast. Motor vehicles and parts production, which shrank by 3%, also disappointed.
  • Initial jobless claims increased by 10,000 to 244,000 in the week ending April 15. The four-week moving average (considered a more reliable gauge of unemployment) dropped by 4,250 to 243,000. Continuing claims moved lower by 2,000 to 2.024 million for the week ending April 8, reaching a 17-year low.
  • The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators recorded a better-than-expected 0.4% in March — the third straight monthly increase — pointing to continued economic strengthening.
  • Mortgage purchase applications fell by 3.0% in the week ending April 14, despite mortgage rates falling to their lowest levels in five months. Refinancing applications rose by a slight 0.2%, but remain down 41.5% year over year.
  • U.K. retail sales slid by 1.8% in April as rising inflation caused consumers to rein in spending. Non-food sales, excluding auto fuel, narrowed by 2.4%. Almost all sectors declined for the month, with only non-specialized stores showing gains.
  • Industrial production in the eurozone was unchanged in April. Sustained strength in manufacturing due to new orders offset a slight drop in services, where new-business growth decelerated.
  • China’s gross domestic product rose by 1.3% in the first quarter and by 6.9% year over year. A combination of construction, retail sales and industrial production helped drive growth. Industrial production also edged up by 0.83% in March and by 7.6% year over year, on solid output growth in manufacturing.
  • Japanese manufacturing improved in April, according to preliminary PMI estimates, remaining at a level consistent with expansion for the eighth consecutive month. Output and new orders increased, while hiring within the sector nearly reached a three-year high.

 

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