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Economic Update for October 16, 2017

Oct 16, 2017 | Economic Update

Retail Sales, Sentiment Numbers Impress

Two economic indicators stood out last week. Retail purchases rose 1.6% during September as households and businesses replaced cars and trucks damaged in hurricanes. This was the best monthly advance recorded by the Department of Commerce since March 2015, and the gain was 1.0% even with auto buying removed. The University of Michigan’s initial October consumer sentiment index displayed a reading of 101.1, which was nearly a 14-year high. Economists polled by had forecast just a half-point improvement to 95.6.1,2

Gas Prices Drive up Inflation

A 13.1% spike in retail gasoline costs accounted for 75% of the 0.5% September increase in the Consumer Price Index. Not since January has the CPI risen so much in a month. Still, the core CPI was up just 0.2%. In yearly terms, headline inflation now stands at 2.2%; core inflation, at 1.7%.3

Social Security Benefits to Increase 2% in 2018

Friday, the Social Security Administration announced the largest cost-of-living adjustment to retirement benefits since 2012. Next year, Social Security payments will get a 2.0% boost, meaning the average retired Social Security recipient will receive $27.40 more per month.4

Minor Advances by Major Indices

From October 9-13, that was the story on Wall Street. The Dow 30 rose 0.43% to 22,871.72, the Nasdaq Composite added 0.24% to 6,605.80, and the S&P 500 gained 0.15% to 2,553.17. The CBOE VIX ended the week down at 9.66.5

The Week Ahead

Netflix presents Q3 results on Monday. On Tuesday, Comerica, CSX, Goldman Sachs, W.W. Grainger, Harley-Davidson, Johnson & Johnson, and UnitedHealth offer earnings news. Earnings emerge from Abbott Labs, Alcoa, American Express, and U.S. Bancorp Wednesday, and Wall Street will also review September housing starts and building permits and a new Federal Reserve Beige Book. On Thursday, BB&T, KeyCorp, Philip Morris International, Quest Diagnostics, Travelers Companies, and Verizon join the earnings parade, and a new initial claims report surfaces. September existing home sales numbers appear Friday, plus earnings from BHGE, Daimler AG, General Electric, Schlumberger, and SunTrust Bank; also, Fed chair Janet Yellen speaks on monetary policy Friday night in Washington, D.C.
















S&P 500






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Sources:,, – 10/13/175,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. 10-year TIPS real yield = projected return at maturity given expected inflation.

The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. 

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