Weekly Economic Update for April 8, 2019
THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Stocks posted their second straight weekly gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.17% in five trading days; the S&P 500, 1.27%; the Nasdaq Composite, 1.72%. The MSCI EAFE index of international stocks rose 1.84%.
Investors got some good news last week: an encouraging employment report and indications that a new U.S.-China trade deal might be near.
A SOLID HIRING REPORT
The economy generated 196,000 net new jobs in March, according to the Department of Labor. Monthly job growth averaged 180,000 in the first quarter.
The March hiring recovery eased Wall Street concerns about a near-term economic downturn. If payroll growth is this strong in April and May, the Federal Reserve may be motivated to rethink its pause of interest rate hikes.
ANOTHER STEP IN THE TRADE TALKS
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said last week that the U.S. and China have come to a consensus on the basics of a new trade accord. President Trump commented Thursday that “the next four weeks” of negotiations will be critical.
The first-quarter earnings season kicks off this week with three of the biggest banks in the country reporting results. The question is whether stocks in the S&P 500 will post earnings that beat analyst expectations to the degree that they have in the past few quarters.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Wednesday: Minutes from the March Federal Reserve meeting, plus the latest Consumer Price Index, tracking monthly and yearly inflation.
Friday: The initial University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for April, which assesses consumer confidence.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Wednesday: Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Delta Air Lines (DAL)
Thursday: Fastenal (FAST), Rite Aid (RAD)
Friday: JPMorgan Chase (JPM), PNC (PNC), Wells Fargo (WFC)