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Economic Update 05/19/14

Economic Update 04/21/15

IS THE PRODUCER PRICE INDEX SENDING A MESSAGE?

Wholesale prices climbed 0.6% in April according to Labor Department data. That tripled the increase projected by economists polled by MarketWatch, and it took the annual advance in the PPI to 2.1%, a two-year peak. The PPI also pushed north 0.5% in March, so higher consumer prices could be directly ahead. In April, consumer prices rose 0.3%; that gain matched the MarketWatch consensus forecast.

RETAIL SALES BARELY RISE

Warmer weather didn’t prompt shoppers to boost their spending. The 0.1% April advance was a letdown following March’s 1.5% improvement. Minus auto buying, retail sales were flat last month.

HOUSEHOLD SENTIMENT GAUGE DECLINES

With a reading of 81.8, the University of Michigan’s initial May consumer sentiment index slipped 2.3 points from its final April mark. Analysts polled by MarketWatch  had predicted a slight rise in the index to 85.0.

SPRING BRINGS MORE GROUNDBREAKING

Housing starts were up 13.2% in April, paced by a 39.6% jump in multifamily starts. The Census Bureau’s monthly report also showed an 8.0% increase in building permits for April; they reached a level unseen since June 2008.

NASDAQ FARES BEST DURING A CHOPPY WEEK

The mood of Wall Street changed frequently last week, yet the tech-heavy benchmark managed to rise 0.50% to a Friday close of 4,090.59. Retreating just 0.03% on the week, the S&P 500 settled Friday at 1,877.86. The Dow lost 0.60% in five days to close at 16,491.31 Friday.

THIS WEEK: Wall Street considers earnings from Urban Outfitters, Sport Chalet, Pandora and Campbell Soup on Monday. Tuesday brings quarterly results from TJX, Red Robin, Intuit, Salesforce, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Staples. Minutes from the April 30 Federal Reserve policy meeting arrive Wednesday, complementing earnings from Hewlett-Packard, Goodyear, L Brands, Hormel and NetApp. Thursday offers the April existing home sales report from NAR, a new initial unemployment claims report, the Conference Board’s April index of leading indicators and earnings from Best Buy, GameStop and Perry Ellis. On Friday, the Census Bureau releases April new home sales data.

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