Marketbites: Busy Week of Economic Data
Portfolio Manager Commentary:
The S&P 500 was little changed Monday as investors looked ahead to key inflation data this week. Tech stocks struggled, with shares of Apple falling 1.8% and Google-parent Alphabet sliding 1.8%. Tesla shares fell 0.3% after the company said it will cut prices again on some electric vehicles. Meanwhile, shares of chipmakers rose after Samsung said it would cut production to support prices; Micron Technology shares gained 8%.
Investors are coming off a long holiday weekend and responding to the March jobs report that came out on Good Friday when the New York Stock Exchange was closed. The report showed a resilient economy and moderate inflation, following some signs of weakening in the labor market earlier in the week.
Now, investors are in for a busy week of economic data, including the latest consumer price and producer price index data for March – due out Wednesday and Thursday, respectively – which will be key in determining if or when the Fed will pause or put an end to its rate hiking campaign. Investors are also awaiting the first batch of companies reporting 2023 Q1 financial results. Three of the largest banks JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup, and the largest health care company, UnitedHealth Group, are scheduled to report Friday.
Chart of the Day:
Energy prices are falling back more than a year on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the other big cost of the war for households around the world continues to rise: food. In the 12 months through March, prices of food, alcohol and tobacco were up 15.4% in the eurozone, while energy prices were down 0.9%. Food prices were up 10.2% in the U.S. in the 12 months through February, well ahead of energy at 5.2%. Most economists expect to see a cooling of food prices over coming months. But it is unclear why they rose so much to start with. In world commodity markets, which set the prices received by farmers, food prices have been falling since April 2022.
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