Weekly Economic Update
Posted: October 1, 2018
Federal Reserve Makes Its Third Rate Hike of 2018
The central bank set the target range for the federal funds rate at 2.00-2.25% last week, in a move that economists and investors widely expected. One development was unexpected: the Fed removed the word “accommodative” from its latest policy statement, a hint that it may be on the verge of altering its monetary policy outlook. The Fed dot-plot still shows one more interest rate hike for 2018 and three hikes in 2019.1
Households See a Very Strong Economy
Both marquee U.S. consumer confidence indices finished September in good shape. The Conference Board’s index reached an 18-year peak of 138.4, rising 3.7 points from its August mark. The University of Michigan’s gauge declined 0.7 points to a still-impressive reading of 100.1.2,3
A Personal Spending Miss; A New Home Sales Gain
Looking at other economic indicators in a data-heavy week, consumer spending rose 0.3% in August, falling short of the 0.4% gain forecast by economists polled by Briefing.com. While reporting that advance, the Commerce Department also announced an improvement of 0.3% for personal incomes in August. The National Association of Realtors said that its pending home sales index declined 1.8% in the eighth month of the year; in better real estate news, the Census Bureau found new home buying up 3.5% in August, measuring a 12.7% yearly increase in the pace of new home sales.3,4
NASDAQ Advances for the Week, But S&P and Dow Retreat
The S&P 500 finished the month at 2,913.98, losing 0.54% during a relatively calm week on Wall Street, which also saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average head 1.07% lower to 26,458.31. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.74% on the week to wrap up September at 8,046.35. Across the month, the S&P rose 0.43%, and the Dow, 1.90%, while the Nasdaq declined 0.78%. The small-cap Russell 2000 sank 2.62% in September, settling Friday at 1,695.10.5
Tip of the Week
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Monday, the Institute for Supply Management presents its September manufacturing PMI. | Paychex and PepsiCo announce earnings Tuesday morning; just before the closing bell, Fed chairman Jerome Powell delivers a speech on the U.S. inflation and employment outlook in Boston. | On Wednesday, ADP’s latest payrolls report appears along with the latest ISM service sector PMI and earnings from Lennar. | The September Challenger job-cut report and a new weekly initial jobless claims snapshot arrive Thursday, plus earnings from Constellation Brands and Costco. | The Department of Labor issues its September employment report on Friday.
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