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Economic Update for the 3rd Week of March 2018

Posted by Ray Dipasupil on

Stocks down in another volatile week 
- Uncertainty led to another volatile week in U.S. stock markets. Volatility has caused the S&P 500 to lose or gain 1% or more in 9 out of the first 11 weeks of 2018. In comparison, the S&P 500 lost or gained 1% or more in just 13 weeks in all of 2017. Along with political uncertainty, fears of consequences from tariffs, and possible retaliation from other countries against our exports led to the drops this week. For example, Boeing's stock dropped nearly 10% this week based on increased steel and aluminum costs, and a possiblity of tariffs being place on Boeing jets by other governments.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 24,946.51, down from last week’s close of 25,335.74.  It is up 0.9% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,752.01, down from 2,786.57 last week.  It's up 2.9% year to date. The NASDAQ closed at 7,484.99, down from 7,596.81 last week. It is up 8.4% year to date. 

Treasury Bond Yields
 -  Bond yields lower this week - The 10 year treasury bond closed the week yielding 2.85%, down from 2.90% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 3.08%, down from 3.16% last week. We watch bond rates because mortgage rates follow bond rates. 

Mortgage Rates slightly lower this week - The March 15, 2018 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate average was 4.44%, down slightly from last week’s 4.46%. The 15 year fixed was 3.90%, down  from 3.94% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.67%, up from 3.63% last week.
Next week's report will include both housing sales data for February, and the results of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, where it is expecting that The Fed will increase short term interest rates.  

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