Don’s Notebook May 3, 2018
March looks to have been a very good month for the trade balance, the month when tariffs and trade wars first hit the news.
- The trade deficit fell in March to $49.0 billion with the Chinese deficit, narrowing to $25.9 billion from February’s $29.3 billion.
- Import tariffs on steel and aluminum were imposed late in the month but they didn’t slow steel imports which rose to $2.8 billion compared to $2.2 billion in February.
Initial jobless claims came in at 211,000 during the week of April 28th, only 2,000 higher from the prior week’s 209,000 which remains a 49-year low. New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time.
- The major data point for the U.S. economy is due tomorrow when the April jobs report is released.
The FOMC statement yesterday included the decision to hold rates in place.
- Comments in the FOMC announcement reflected a relaxed approach toward reaching its 2 percent target.
The European Central Bank reported an unexpected drop in headline consumer-price growth to 1.2 percent, while core inflation dropped to 0.7 percent, the weakest in more than a year.
Earnings announcements today include: AIG, Ferrari, Cigna, Blue Apron Holdings, Treehouse Foods and Kellogg.