SUBDUED INFLATION IN APRIL
Consumer and producer prices retreated last month. The federal government’s Consumer Price Index fell 0.4%, a monthly descent unseen since December 2008; the Producer Price Index declined 0.7%, its biggest monthly drop in three years. Consumer prices also fell for a second straight month; the last time that happened was in late 2008. The core CPI did rise 0.1% in April; the yearly gain in the overall CPI was just 1.1%.
THREE MORE POSITIVE SIGNS FOR THE ECONOMY
The University of Michigan’s initial May consumer sentiment survey came in at 83.7 – its highest level since July 2007, 7.3 points above the final April mark. After falling 0.2% for March, the Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading indicators rose 0.6% for April. Census Bureau data showed retail sales ticking up 0.1% in April and 3.7% in the past year.
HOUSING STARTS PLUNGE, BUILDING PERMITS SOAR
While the year-over-year increase was 13.1%, housing starts plummeted 16.5% in April, largely due to a 37.8% drop in apartment starts. On the other hand, last month brought a 14.3% rise in building permits … marked by a 40.6% jump in permits for apartment construction.
BULLS KEEP RUNNING
The S&P 500 is now on a 4-week winning streak. It rose another 1.98% last week to settle at 1,666.12 Friday. Complementing that 5-day gain, the NASDAQ went +1.82% last week while the DJIA went +1.56%; at Friday’s closing bell, the NASDAQ settled at 3,498.97 and the Dow at 15,354.40. A truly impressive factoid: the NASDAQ and S&P have gained 1% or more in each of the past four weeks.
THIS WEEK: Monday brings earnings from Campbell Soup, TiVo and Urban Outfitters. On Tuesday, Best Buy, Home Depot, Medtronic, Vodafone, Saks, TJX and NetApp announce quarterly results. Wednesday, NAR releases its report on April existing home sales, the Federal Reserve releases the May 1 FOMC minutes, and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before Congress; Staples, L Brands, PetSmart, Toll Brothers, Target, Lowe’s and Hewlett-Packard post earnings. The Census Bureau report on April new home sales appears Thursday, along with the March FHFA housing price index and earnings from Dollar Tree, Gamestop, Ralph Lauren, Sears Holdings, Gap, Ross Stores, Aeropostale and Pandora. Friday offers the April durable goods orders report and Q1 results from Abercrombie & Fitch.
About the Independent Financial Advisor
Robert Pagliarini, PhD, CFP®, EA has helped clients across the United States manage, grow, and preserve their wealth for the past 25 years. His goal is to provide comprehensive financial, investment, and tax advice in a way that was honest and ethical. In addition, he is a CFP® Board Ambassador, one of only 50 in the country, and a real fiduciary. In his spare time, he writes personal finance books, finance articles for Forbes and develops email and video financial courses to help educate others. With decades of experience as a financial advisor, the media often calls on him for his expertise. Contact Robert today to learn more about his financial planning services.