Weekly Economic Update
Posted: May 21, 2018
Retail Sales Rise Another 0.3%
April’s advance remained at that level. even with car and truck sales removed. It paled compared to the 0.8% March gain reported by the Department of Commerce, but it matched the consensus forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch.1
April Saw Less Groundbreaking
An 11.3% drop for apartment construction set the pace of overall housing starts back 3.7% last month, Department of Commerce data noted.2
Home Loan Rates Reach 7-Year High
According to Freddie Mac, the mean interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage last week was 4.61%. That exceeds any number seen since May 2011. Redfin says that the median existing home sold in April spent only 36 days on the market, a sign that buyers have rushed to close quickly before rates climb higher.3
Russell 2000 Makes History
The small-cap benchmark notched its third straight record close on Friday, settling at 1,626,63 and rising 1.23% for the week. Blue chips lost 0.47% in five days, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipping to 24,715.09 at Friday’s close. The S&P 500 settled 0.54% lower for the week at 2,712.97, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.66% in five days, finishing Friday’s trading session at 7,354.34. Through Friday, the big three were all at least 1% higher for the month. Oil ended the week at $71.35 on the NYMEX.4,5
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1 - marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic [5/18/18]
2 - cnbc.com/2018/05/16/us-housing-starts-april-2018.html [5/16/18]
3 - latimes.com/business/la-fi-high-mortgage-rates-20180517-story.html [5/17/18]
4 - tinyurl.com/y8ao4tbd [5/18/18]
5 - markets.wsj.com/us [5/18/18]