US Economy and Credit Markets Ended May 19, 2017
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Bond prices largely rose last week as political disquiet had an impact on investor confidence regarding the President's ability to continue pushing his agenda subsequent to the removal of FBI Director James Comey. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to probe Trump's campaign, and any potential Russian interference, which diminishes hope for a quick resolution of this issue. For the week oil was sharply higher ahead of next week's OPEC meeting in Vienna and while Saudi Arabia has met its production quota production in the US continues unabated. Last Tuesday, housing starts were shown to decline 2.6% in April, below the consensus expectations but starts are up 0.7% versus a year ago. Multi-unit starts are usually volatile from month to month and were entirely responsible for the April decline. Industrial production increased 1% in April, ahead of consensus expectations, as auto production was up 5%. "Core" industrial production, excludes autos, was up .7%. On Thursday, Initial Jobless Claims were slightly higher but the overall unemployment rate is still at a historically low level of 4.4%. Rounding out the week was the Conference Board US Leading Index which rose .3% for April, slightly below consensus expectations. This was the seventh consecutive month of the index rising. Major economic reports (related consensus forecasts; prior data) for the upcoming week include Tuesday: April New Home Sales (610K, 621K); Wednesday: May 19 MBA Mortgage Applications and April Existing Home Sales (5.65M, 5.71M); Thursday: May 20 Initial Jobless Claims (238K, 232K); Friday: University of Michigan May sentiment (97.5, 97.7).
Posted on Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 8:13 AM

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.