HOUSEHOLDS BOUGHT LESS LAST MONTH
Retail sales were down 0.4% in March, according to the Commerce Department. This unanticipated dip was the deepest retreat in nine months. Even with volatile car and truck sales factored out, the March decline remained 0.4%.
CONSUMER SENTIMENT SLIPS
The University of Michigan’s overall index of consumer sentiment came in at 72.3 in its preliminary April reading – down significantly from the final March mark of 78.6. Last month’s imposed federal budget cuts may have had an effect.
PRODUCER PRICE INDEX DOWN 0.6%
Cheap gasoline was the big factor. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.2% retreat in the PPI for March, but the decline in pump prices made more of an impact. Core PPI (with food and energy costs subtracted) rose 0.2% last month.
GOLD ENTERS A BEAR MARKET
Friday, the precious metal settled at $1,501.40 on the COMEX after a 4.1% one-day plunge. Futures fell 4.7% across last week. The April 12 settlement price was 20.5% below the record close of $1,888.70 notched on August 22, 2011.
STOCKS CLIMB 2% IN A WEEK
Unfazed by soft economic indicators, Wall Street was in a buying mood last week. After a 2.29% gain in five days left the S&P 500 at 1,588.85 at Friday’s close, investors wondered if the index would top 1,600 soon. The Dow (+2.06% to 14,865.06), NASDAQ (+2.84% to 3,294.95) and Russell 2000 (+2.12% to 942.85) all advanced impressively on the week.
THIS WEEK: Monday, Citigroup presents Q1 results and a new NAHB Housing Market Index appears. The March CPI arrives Tuesday, along with numbers on March housing starts and earnings from Coca-Cola, Yahoo!, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Northern Trust, US Bancorp, Intel and CSX. Wednesday, the Federal Reserve offers its latest Beige Book and Wall Street awaits earnings from American Express, Bank of NY Mellon, Abbott Labs, Bank of America, eBay and SanDisk. The Conference Board’s March index of leading indicators comes out Thursday, G20 finance ministers meet, and Chipotle, United Health, E-Trade, Philip Morris, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, Verizon, Nokia, Peabody Energy, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Capital One report earnings. Friday, earnings from Schlumberger, McDonald’s, GE and Honeywell round out the week.
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.