Top News to Watch This Week
Inflation Checkup – A Consumer Price Index report scheduled to be released on Tuesday will show whether the U.S. economy got any relief in March from surging inflation. A month earlier, the government reported that inflation accelerated in February at a 7.9% annual rate the highest in four decades-eclipsing the previous month’s 7.5% figure.
Weekly Wealth Management Insight
Fed Outlook – Wednesday’s release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s mid-March meeting showed that policymakers discussed the possibility of raising the Fed’s benchmark interest rate by a half-percentage point at a meeting scheduled early next month. At the recent meeting, officials considered raising the rate by a half-point, but instead approved a smaller quarter-point increase.
Tight Labor Market – With the U.S. unemployment rate at just 3.6%, initial applications for unemployment benefits are also dropping to unusually low levels. Thursday’s latest weekly count of unemployment claims fell to 166,000-the lowest weekly figure since 1968, and down 5,000 from the previous week.
Earnings Slowdown – Relative to recent quarters, expectations are low heading into earnings season, which opens this week as major banks begin reporting first-quarter results. As of Friday, analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting companies in the S&P 500 to post earnings increases averaging 4.5% compared with the same period a year earlier. If the growth rate ends up close to that figure, it would mark the first time in two years that quarterly earnings growth fell short of 10%.