It’s Friday and that means it’s time to review the latest economic data and identify which pockets of the economy are heating up and which are slowing down. Don’t worry about catching every headline and every report throughout the week—I recap all of the most important news impacting your wealth right here every Friday. Let’s take a look at this week’s big headlines…
Existing Home Sales
On Monday morning, the National Association of Realtors released their forecast for existing home sales in March. With a decline in the consensus estimates from 5.540 million annualized to 5.513 million annualized, February’s bounce in this metric isn’t expected to last.
Since supply has been well below demand, prices have been climbing up while sales have been tamped down.
New Home Sales
Tuesday’s New Home Sales report also showed signs of a continuing struggle. Although, the March consensus of 630,000 is greater than February’s consensus of 618,000, this metric still hasn’t fully recovered from its peak at the end of last year.
Rising mortgage rates and limited supply have simply taken their toll on these numbers.
With the recent tax cut in the bag, all of our consumer confidence metrics have been bouncing steadily higher. That goes for the weekly consumer comfort index, the bi-monthly consumer sentiment index and Tuesday’s monthly consumer confidence index.
The April consensus is down slightly from March, with last month at 127.7 and this month at 126.1. However, this is still at the higher end of the average range.
Durable Goods Orders
On Thursday, the Commerce Department announced their expectations for March durable goods orders, and the numbers were in the black. Even after February’s broad based strength, the numbers are still expected to rise 1.7% in March. Core capital goods are expected to rise 0.6% and ex-transportation orders should see a 0.5% increase.
First-Quarter GDP (Advanced Estimate)
This morning’s first-quarter GDP consensus of 2.0% annualized is lower than the fourth-quarter’s rate of 2.9%. Inventories, residential and non-residential investment, however, appear to be the biggest positives, while net exports are negative.
With consumer spending in the fourth quarter of 2017 at an extremely strong 4.0%, it’s no surprise that this metric moderated a little bit in the first quarter of 2018, down to 1.1%. Overall, however, the GDP price index has managed to inch a little higher to 2.4%.
University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index
With March having been at a 14-year high of 101.4, it’s no surprise that April’s consumer sentiment index is expected to come in at 98.0.
Current conditions assessments as well as inflation expectations both fell back in this preliminary report.
That’s all I have for you this week. I’ll be in touch again next week with the latest ratings out of Portfolio Grader.
Until next week,