The U.S. stock market finished the week lower as an inversion of the yield curve had investors flee to safer assets. That said the yield on the 10-year treasury dropped from 1.73% last week to 1.55% today as investors buy-up the risk-free asset class. Although the spread between the 10-year treasury and the 2-year treasury inverted mid-week, it actually finished the week at a wider, yet still very narrow, 0.07%. The price of gold rose 0.92% to $1,524 an ounce which can also primarily be attributed to the inversion of the yield curve. The price of crude oil rose a relatively tame 1.0% on the week to $54.94 a barrel.
This Week's Economic Highlights
- The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of retail inflation, rose 0.3% in July after rising by a more moderate 0.1% the month prior. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy prices, also rose by 0.3%. Over the past year CPI has grown at a stable 1.8% while core CPI grew at a faster rate of 2.2%.
- Initial unemployment claims rose by 9,000 to 220,000 for the week ending August 10th, while its more stable four-week average rose by 1,000 to 213,750. Continuing unemployment claims, which lag initial claims by a week, increased by 39,000 to 1.73 million.
- Retail sales jumped by 0.7% in July, marking its largest increase in four months. Excluding automobiles, which tend to have inconsistent month-to-month demand, retail sales rose by 1.0%. The jump in retail sales came largely from a 2.8% increase in internet retailers, which is likely tied to Amazon Prime Day and competing sales from other online retailers.
- Industrial production fell by 0.2% in July, resulting in the fourth monthly drop so far this year. Over the past year industrial production is only up a very slight 0.5%, as oil and manufacturing production suffer.
- Housing starts fell by 4.0% in July to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.19 million. Meanwhile building permits, a leading indicator of housing starts, rose by 8.4% to 1.34 million, indicating better times ahead.
“Prices move along the ‘line of least resistance’. They will do whatever comes easiest.”
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