THE WEEK THAT WAS
Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans was reported saying that he can see the central bank keeping rates at their current level until late 2020. He also stated that he was comfortable with inflation running at 2.5 percent, “as long as there is no obvious upward momentum and the path back toward 2 percent can be well managed.” Markets drifted on Monday with no real events to generate trading impetus.
Bank of America announced record profits on Tuesday morning. CEO Brian Moynihan said in a statement that “economic growth and consumer activity in the U.S. continue to be solid.”
Healthcare stocks extended recent losses on Wednesday as the S&P 500 Managed Health Care Index fell 5.5 percent. Concerns continued to grow about the prospects of the 2019 Medicare for All Act being touted by Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders. The Federal Reserve (the Fed) also released its Beige Book for the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee Meeting (FOMC) on May 1, but it did not move the markets as expected due to the text being identical to the Beige Book prepared for the March meeting.
Retail sales for March expanded much more than expected when numbers were reported Thursday morning. While analysts only expected sales to be at 1 percent for the previous month, a 1.6 percent increase in retail sales was reported. The Ex-Auto and Gas component was also up 0.9 percent versus the 0.4 percent expected. In another sign of economic strength, the U.S. Labor Department reported that jobless claims fell again to 192,000. The lowest level since 1969.
On Good Friday, the markets were closed. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan was reported reiterating his stance that short-term interest rates will be steady throughout the rest of the year despite the improving U.S. economic growth. Currently, Fed officials maintain their projected benchmark interest rate between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent. The Fed predicts that this range will hold its place regardless of muted inflation pressure and a slowing global economy throughout the year.
Banking & Economic News
Health Stocks Crumble as Fears of ‘Medicare for All’ Snowball
Learn more (April 16, 2019; bloomberg.com)
Netflix Earnings Were Superb. This Is Why the Stock is Falling
Learn more (April 16, 2019; barrons.com)
China Says its First-Quarter GDP Grew by 6.4 Percent, Topping Expectations
Learn more (April 17, 2019; cnbc.com)
Best Retail Sales Since 2007 Brighten U.S. Growth Outlook
Learn more (April 18, 2019; bloomberg.com)