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Bob Carey
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  US Economy and Credit Markets Ended December 21, 2018
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary

 
Concerns over a potential government shutdown ended an eventful but fun-starved week in financial markets. The Federal Reserve raised rates, as expected, on December 19th and tempered their forward view of future rate hikes slightly. Markets reacted negatively with concern that the Federal Reserve may not be responsive enough to changes in financial conditions. The official statement noted that unemployment remains low and inflation excluding food and energy remains near 2 percent on a 12-month basis. The statement concluded by noting that "future adjustments to the target range will be based on the committee's assessment of realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective." Gold continued to rally into the year end and oil further plumbed year-to-date lows amid supply concerns. Monday of last week registered a slight increase of 0.1% in November's reading of the Producer Price Index and no change to November's Consumer Price Index. Tuesday's November Housing Starts report showed a 3.2% increase for the month and on Wednesday markets received news of an increase of 1.9% in Existing Home Sales. Friday's reports included November's personal income reading rising 0.2% for the month, third quarter Real GDP Growth being revised to a 3.4% annual rate and November new orders for Durable Goods increasing 0.8% in the prior month. Major economic reports (related consensus forecasts, prior data) for the upcoming holiday-shortened week include Thursday: December 22 Initial Jobless Claims (216k, 214k), November new home sales (569k, 544k) and December Conference Board Consumer Confidence (133.2, 135.7); Friday: November preliminary wholesale inventories (N/A, 0.8%) and December Chicago Purchasing Manager (61.0, 66.4).
Posted on Monday, December 24, 2018 @ 8:34 AM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L. P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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