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Market Commentary by Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Chief Economist
The economic data were mixed, but the stock market continued to focus on the good news and ignored the rest. Retail sales rose more than expected in February, but results varied across sectors. Industrial production picked up, following a weak January (results varied by industry).
The inflation reports showed some pressure from higher gasoline, as anticipated, and moderate core inflation. Treasury reported a smaller deficit than a year ago. Initial claims for unemployment benefits continued to trend lower. Consumer sentiment fell in the mid-March assessment, with a sharp decline in expectations (down to a 15-month low).
The Dow Jones Industrials Average continued to new record highs, up 10 sessions in a row. In contrast to the optimism expressed in equities, bond yields have remained relatively low.
Next week, housing figures have some market-moving potential, but February is not a “make or break” month for the sector (weather can have an impact). The March figures will be more important. No surprises are expected from the Fed policy meeting on Wednesday.
Officials have had a public debate about the potential costs and benefits of current policy and the settled view is that the benefits (to the labor market, in particular) outweigh the potential that we may see excessive risk-taking and financial instability. The Fed will release revised projections of growth, unemployment, and inflation. Note that the Fed policy announcements will now be made at 2:00pm. On the last meeting of the quarter, the Fed will also release revised projects at 2:00 p.m. and Bernanke’s press briefings will follow at 2:30pm.
Consumer Money Rates
Treasury Yield Curve – 03/15/2013
S&P Sector Performance (YTD) – 03/15/2013
US government bonds and treasury bills are guaranteed by the US government and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and guaranteed principal value. US government bonds are issued and guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by the federal government. Treasury bills are certificates reflecting short-term (less than one year) obligations of the US government.
Commodities trading is generally considered speculative because of the significant potential for investment loss. Markets for commodities are likely to be volatile and there may be sharp price fluctuations even during periods when prices overall are rising. Specific sector investing can be subject to different and greater risks than more diversified investments.
Tax Equiv Muni yields (TEY) assume a 35% tax rate on triple-A rated, tax-exempt insured revenue bonds.
The information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Data source: Bloomberg, as of close of business February 28th, 2013.
TopicsBritish Pound, Cruide Oil, Disposable Income, DJIA, employment, Euro, Fed, gold, Japanese Yen, Mexian Peso, MSCI EAFE, Nasdaq, Raymond James, S&P 500, Scott J. Brown, Stock Market, washington d.c.
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