Financial and Economic Brief - July 25, 2017

by © Liberty Publishing, Inc.

Economic Outlook Looking Better

According to the Conference Board, leading economic indicators increased 0.6% in June, beating expectations which were for a 0.4% gain. This is up from an improvement of 0.3% in May. The good news is that the indicators are pointing to an “improving” economic outlook. The index is an indicator for how healthy the U.S. economy is. The Conference Board follows 10 components, including manufacturers’ new orders, stock prices and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance.
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This Week’s Economic Releases

This week’s economic reports will reveal whether growth accelerated in Q2 after a slow start to 2017. Additionally, the Fed will meet this week but is not expected to raise interest rates as it awaits a “pick-up in inflation.” Existing home sales have grown this year but have been “restrained” by low supply. In May, sales grew 1.1% despite an 8.4% drop in inventories from a year ago, according to Nomura economist Lewis Alexander. Consumer confidence hit a 16-year high in March, but has fallen since. Job growth remains “healthy” and gasoline is inexpensive. The Conference Board is expected to report that its consumer confidence index fell further in July to a “still-sunny” reading.
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OPEC Caps Nigerian Oil Output

OPEC has agreed with several non-OPEC producers led by Russia to cut oil production by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day from January 2017 until the end of March 2018. The deal to cut output drove crude prices above $58 a barrel in January but they have fallen to a $45 to $50 range as the effort to drain inventories has taken longer than anticipated. Rising output from U.S. shale producers has offset the impact of the output cuts, as has climbing production from Libya and Nigeria. Russia and Saudi Arabia face pressure to “prop up” oil prices because Russia will be holding a presidential election next year and Saudi Arabia needs higher prices to balance its budget and support next year's planned listing of state oil firm Saudi Aramco.
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News Updates

Financial and Economic Brief - August 15, 2017

• Eurozone Industrial Output Down - According to the Eurostat statistics agency, industrial output across the 19 countries that make up the eurozone fell in June, likely illustrating the “export-sapping” impact of the rising euro.

• Consumer Prices Rise Less Than Expected - According to the U.S. Labor Department, U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in July rising only 0.1%.

• All S&P Sectors Higher - Wall Street opened higher today, all 11 major S&P sectors, as investor sentiment was lifted by easing tensions in the Korean peninsula.

Financial and Economic Brief - August 8, 2017

• Economic Reporting Outlook - The latest reading on inflation is due out this week. It has been “persistently weak” in recent months.

• Positive Jobs Report - According to a government report, the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July while the unemployment rate fell to 4.3%, the lowest since March 2001.

• Dow at Record High - On Monday, the Dow hit another record high, the Nasdaq opened “slightly” higher, and the S&P was even.

Financial and Economic Brief - August 1, 2017

• Discovery To Acquire Scripps - Discovery Communications reached a deal to acquire Scripps Networks for about $11.9 billion.

• SNAP Shares Fall - Today as markets open, shares of Snap Inc. owner of the Snapchat messaging app fell as much as 5% to a new low, below its initial public offering price, as a "share lock up" ended.

• Fischer: Weal Economy = Low Rates - The Fed's vice chairman Stanley Fischer said in a speech that interest rates aren't just low because the Federal Reserve is keeping them there but rather because of a weak economy and other factors.

Financial and Economic Brief - July 25, 2017

• Economic Outlook Looking Better - According to the Conference Board, leading economic indicators increased 0.6% in June, beating expectations which were for a 0.4% gain.

• This Week’s Economic Releases - This week’s economic reports will reveal whether growth accelerated in Q2 after a slow start to 2017.

• OPEC Caps Nigerian Oil Output - OPEC has agreed with several non-OPEC producers led by Russia to cut oil production by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day from January 2017 until the end of March 2018.

Financial and Economic Brief - July 18, 2017

• NY Manufacturing Slows - Manufacturing in New York State grew in July but at a much slower pace than June and remains at a “mostly healthy level”.

• This Week’s Financial News - This week is an “unusually” light week of economic news but does include the kickoff of the second-quarter earnings season.

• Wall Street Opens Flat - Today U.S. stocks opened flat and held steady at record levels. Analysts estimate Q2 earnings for the S&P 500 companies rose 8.1% from Q2 2016.

Financial and Economic Brief - July 11, 2017

• Job Market Better Than Expected - The U.S. job market created 222,000 new positions in June which was higher than expected and the unemployment rate held at 4.4%.

• More Sears and Kmart Closings - On Friday Sears Holdings announced that it will close eight Sears department stores and 35 Kmart locations, adding to the list of 236 stores Sears has closed in 2017

• Steel Demand Forecast Rises - European steel association, Eurofer, raised its 2017 EU steel demand forecast but said a U.S. plan to levy steel tariffs on national security grounds could be terrible for global trade flows.