US stocks had their best quarterly performance since the end of 2015 as investors moved from expecting changes in US policy to expecting stronger economy growth. For the week, the S&P 500 was up 0.8% and the Dow rose 0.3%. Internationally, Europe gained 1.2%, while Japan sank 1.8% for the week. The yield on the 10 Year Treasury was flat for the week finishing March at 2.40%.
Margin debt reached an all time high in February, a new sign of investor bullishness.
US home prices in January increased at their fastest rate since 2014. The Case Shiller index rose 5.9% over the trailing twelve months. Much of the surge in pricing has been driven by limited supply with the number of homes for sale down 7.1%.
Consumer confidence hit its highest level in 16 years.
The UK officially notified the EU of its intention to leave setting off a likely acrimonious 2 year negotiation.
Fourth quarter GDP was revised up to 2.1% from 1.9% above expectations.
The Fed is currently planning to make two additional rate increases this year then pause near the end of the year to begin to unwind the $4.5 trillion portfolio of mortgage and Treasury securities. The plan depends on the continued steady growth of the economy.
The personal consumption expenditures index, the preferred measure of inflation by the Fed, rose to 2.1% in February for the first time surpassing the 2% goal the Fed targets.
Reposted from the Raffa Wealth Management Blog.
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