Weekly Economic Update – 03/04/2024

The Week on Wall Street

Stocks extended their tech-led advance last week as signs of a resilient and still-enthusiastic consumer boosted momentum.

Nasdaq Sets New High

Stocks traded in a narrow band early in the week but ended the five-trading sessions with a powerful advance.

While the Dow dipped lower, artificial intelligence (AI) names powered the gains in the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite. The Nasdaq bobbed around the 16,000 level for most of the week before posting consecutive record highs on Thursday and Friday, surpassing its 2021 record. It was the last of the three major stock benchmarks to reach a record high this year.1

Economic news also helped boost markets. The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, rose 0.3 percent in January versus December—and 2.4 percent on a 12-month basis. Both were in line with expectations. Stocks ticked up on Thursday following the release of the report.2

Consumers Remain Upbeat

With all the excitement over AI, it’s easy to overlook some key economic indicators that also speak to the underlying strength of the economy—specifically, consumer data.

In addition to the closely watched PCE report, an end-of-week consumer survey revealed that while sentiment softened in February, it remained near a 32-month high. Fresh data this week also showed an unexpected jump in personal income.

Finally, the PCE report also reflected an ongoing consumer shift from goods to services—a sign the economy continues to normalize after the pandemic. Since two-thirds of gross domestic product comes from consumer spending, these consumer-related metrics helped support the narrative that the economy appears to be gathering momentum.3,4

Weekly Riddle

You can’t outrun it or hide from it. You only notice it when there is light, but it shows only darkness. What is it?

Last week’s riddle: Kristi and David live at opposite ends of a metro area but attend the same college. David left for campus 30 minutes before Kristi, and they met at a coffee house. Who was closer to campus when they met? 

Answer: They were both at the same distance from campus when they met each other, as they met at the same location.

John Dombroski Jr. may be reached at (480) 991-1055 or [email protected]
www.grandcanyonplanning.com

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