Weekly Economic Update – 04/02/2024

The Week on Wall Street

Stocks were narrowly higher for the week as investors digested mixed economic news about consumer confidence. All three of the major averages posted gains for Q1 2024.

Stocks Finish Strong

Markets slipped for the first half of the four-day week as investors took a breather after the prior week’s gain. Conflicting economic news on Monday and Tuesday contributed to the slide. New home sales in February slipped 0.3 percent over the prior month but increased by 5.9 percent from the prior year. Durable goods orders—everything from washing machines to helicopters—rebounded 1.4 percent in February, beating expectations and recouping some of January’s 6.9 percent drop.1,2,3

Stocks rallied on Wednesday, including a fresh record close for the Standard & Poor’s 500. An upward revision to consumer sentiment on Thursday helped the rally along. The markets are closed on Friday when the much-anticipated inflation report called the Personal Consumption and Expenditures (PCE) is released, which could set up a volatile Monday.4

Doubters & Believers

Getting a straightforward read on consumers this week was challenging. The Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index remained essentially unchanged—as it has for the past six months—showing consumers were generally pessimistic about the future.

But on Thursday, the University of Michigan’s consumer-sentiment survey showed consumer confidence hit a 2½-year high in March. It suggested that consumers had gained more confidence that inflation would drop and alleviate some pressure on household finances. Friday’s PCE report may give some additional insights into consumer confidence.5,6

Weekly Riddle

They have not flesh, nor feathers, nor scales, nor bone. Yet they have fingers and thumbs of their own. What are they? 

Last week’s riddle: Which positive whole number can you add 1.5 to and get the same result as multiplying it by 1.5? Answer: 3.

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

www.grandcanyonplanning.com

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