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Economic Update 03/30/15

Economic Update


Existing home sales accelerated 1.2% to an annual pace of 4.88 million in February, the National Association of Realtors announced. Sales had slowed markedly in January. February also brought a big jump in new home buying – a 7.8% increase according to the Census Bureau, taking the year-over-year gain to 24.8%.


The 0.2% gain represented the first monthly rise in consumer prices since October; a 2.4% increase in gasoline prices made a demonstrable difference. Even so, this left the headline CPI flat year-over-year. The core CPI rose 0.2% in February, taking its annualized gain to 1.7%.


At a mark of 93.0, March’s final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index declined 2.4 points from its final February reading. It has still improved vastly in the past year – last March, it was at 80.0.

FINAL Q4 GDP: 2.2%

The third estimate of fourth-quarter growth by the Bureau of Economic Analysis was unchanged from the second; economists polled by expected an upward revision to 2.4%. Last week also brought news of a 1.4% slip in hard goods orders; even minus transportation orders, durables still declined 0.4%.


Pessimism about the oncoming earnings season contributed to market choppiness and weekly losses for the big three. Across March 23-27, the Dow fell 2.29%, the Nasdaq 2.69% and the S&P 500 2.23%. Friday, the Dow settled at 17,712.66, the Nasdaq at 4,891.22 and the S&P at 2,061.02.

THIS WEEK: Monday, the Commerce Department releases February personal spending numbers and the NAR issues February pending home sales data. The January S&P/Case-Shiller home price index and the Conference Board’s March consumer confidence survey arrive Tuesday. On Wednesday, ISM’s March factory PMI and ADP’s March employment report appear and Monsanto announces earnings. Thursday brings the March Challenger job-cut report, new initial claims totals, February factory orders data and earnings from CarMax and Perry Ellis. On Friday, the Labor Department presents its March jobs report and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen speaks briefly at a Fed research conference.

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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.

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