September 19th – Weekly Update

  • U.S. equity indexes had a bumpy week finishing off with a slight gain for both the S&P 500 and Dow, which have each experienced a one-month decline of approximately 2%. The Nasdaq posted gains for the week and is marginally up for the previous one-month period. Oil and gold dove with gold hitting a two-week low and oil prices being rattled by over-supply concerns. The yield for the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose approximately eight basis points.
  • Market volatility during the week was influenced by spooked investors awaiting the upcoming U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting along with the release of uninspiring U.S. and international economic data.
  • The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, which measures general consumer confidence in economic activity, came in slightly below consensus at 89.8, its lowest level since April. U.S. retail sales also experienced a loss in August dropping 0.3% – the first decline since March.
  • U.S. import and export prices both declined during August by 0.2% and 0.8%, respectively – industrial production fell 0.4%.
  • For the week ended September 10, U.S. unemployment claims increased by 1,000 to 260,000 compared to the previous week. However, the four-week average dropped to 260,750 – a five-week low.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an August Consumer Price Index (CPI) with headline inflation up 0.2% from July. On a year-to-year basis, it was up 1.1%, which was an acceleration from a 0.8% increase in July. The core increase was driven by shelter and medical care. Shelter was up 0.3%, while medical care prices rose 0.9% – the most since late 1990.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau reported that household incomes were up 5.2% during 2015, the first increase since 2007 and the largest annual gain in history. The 2015 median annual household income was $56,500. The poverty rate in 2015 declined 1.2% year-over-year to 13.5%.
  • Year-over-year European CPI data were flat, with the August measurement coming in at 0.2%, in line with the consensus. The U.K. CPI gained 0.6% year-to-date. U.K. consumer prices increased 0.3% in August on a monthly basis.

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