2 items of interest before we begin:
- We will be emailing out a quick reader survey next week; this will be the first time it will be sent in email format and the first reader survey since we’ve changed to our weekly format. Please take a moment to grade our weekly content, thanks!
- For those interested in forex trading, ForexBrokers.com (sister site to us here at StockTrader.com and StockBrokers.com) has published its first annual forex broker review. There were 20 international fx brokers included and a total of 5,236 data points assessed.
It was another week of “modest moves” in a year that thus far has been completely full of them. The lack of volatility in 2017 has been both striking and at times record breaking. (last week we noted the daily S&P change of 0.3% was the lowest since the late 1960s!). For the week, the S&P 500 shed 0.3% and the NASDAQ 0.6%. Wednesday was the one day of significant volatility as solid early gains due to the ADP private sector employment data (+263K jobs created) was offset by selling following the release of the Federal Reserve minutes. Futures slid Friday on the Syrian strike but recovered much of that before markets opened in the U.S. Friday. No war of words at the Trump-Xi summit this week as both leaders projected everything as hunky dory.
This week’s review of some significant economic indicators:
- Monday, ISM manufacturing for March fell to 57.2 from 57.7, though the employment index hit a six year high. A reading of 50 indicates economic expansion.
- Tuesday, the February U.S. trade deficit shrank almost 10% to $43.6 billion , aided by an increase in exports to a 26-month high and a plunge in imports of automobiles and cellphones.
- Wednesday, ISM non manufacturing for March fell to 55.2 from 57.6.
- Friday, government data said employment was a big miss at just 98,000 jobs created (expectations were about 180,000 gained); but some analysts blamed weather. Whatever the case reading too much into any 1 data point – especially 1 that gets revised in the coming months – is a fool’s game. The unemployment rate did shrink to 4.5% from 4.7%. Average wages rose 0.2% to $26.14 an hour.