My one-hundred-and-fifty-fourth YouTube video “Strong Dollar Hits Stocks–3 Things to Do” went up today. The biggest factor driving falling prices in commodities (ahem, oil) is the rising strength of the dollar. Believe it or not, the US economy is faring better than other trading partners. That combined with rising interest rates makes for a stronger dollar. In this video, I provide three picks to address this issue as I continue to expect rate hikes from the Fed.
Inflation as measured by the Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, rose by 6.4% in the year through February, the government reported today. That’s the fastest inflation rate on this scale since 1982. PCE inflation ran at an annual rate of 6.1% in January. The core index climbed at a 5.4% rate after stripping out food and fuel costs. In January the core PCE ran at an annual 5.2% rate.
A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September. September’s “quit” numbers constituted 3% of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from the previous record set in August, when 4.3 million people quit their jobs — about 2.9% of the workforce.
If the markets do decide that Italy is a problem for another day, that means we’ll revert to the trends that set direction before the crisis gained top of the mind status: oil prices (and the likelihood of an increase in production from OPEC), an interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve on June 13, and tariffs and the possibility of a U.S./China trade war.
Next week we get just enough economic news to keep the state of the economy bubbling on the back burners of trader and investor attention, while first quarter earnings season picks up momentum. It’s not a lengthy list of economic reports scheduled for this week, but they are important ones. On Monday, for example, we get retail sales for March with economists expecting a big bounce back from a disappointing February