Market Perspective for March 22, 2019

Technology, consumer discretionary, utilities, real estate and communication services sectors all rose on the week.

Economic data showed the economy on solid footing. The National Association of Home Builders’ confidence index held steady at 62. Existing home sales for February climbed to an annualized pace of 5.51 million, well above estimates of 5.12 million and the prior month’s 4.93 million.

Weekly jobless claims fell to 221,000, down from last week. Leading economic indicators increased 0.2 percent in February. The Markit manufacturing and services PMIs edged lower but remain well within expansion territory.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDP Now model hiked its first quarter forecast from 0.4 percent growth to 1.2 percent based on improved data.

Overseas economic data showed weakness in Europe and Asia persisting. The flash manufacturing PMI for Germany fell to 44.7, the lowest reading since August 2012. iShares MSCI EAFE (EFA) fell 1.42 percent and iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) dropped 1.53 percent.

Crude oil closed the week below $59 per barrel. Natural gas edged lower during the week, finishing at $2.76 per mmBTU.  If you hold energy positions, we encourage you to monitor them closely.

Micron Technology (MU) rallied as much as 11 percent this week after it beat earnings expectations. The firm triggered a rally across the global semiconductor sector after it said it sees a recovery in chip prices. Memory chip prices fell in 2018 on growing supply and falling demand as smartphone sales in China slipped.

FedEx (FDX) declined 2.28 percent after its guidance disappointed. Nike (NKE) dipped 5.30 percent after it reported slower sales growth in North America.

 

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