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Market Insights / Don's Notebook

Don’s Notebook March 1, 2018

By Don Pratl

The S&P 500 Index’s closed February with a slide of 2.4 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday. This continues to set the tone for global markets. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.7 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.6 percent lower as the strengthening dollar and concerns over the pace of U.S. rate increases hit equities.

  • Jobless claims decreased by 10k to 210k, lowest since Dec. 1969 (est. 225k)

    • Continuing claims rose by 57k to 1.93m in week ended Feb. 17 (data reported with one-week lag)
    • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 220,500, also the lowest since 1969, from the prior week’s 225,500

  • Growth eased very slightly over the last two weeks of the PMI manufacturing sample with the final February reading at 55.3 vs 55.9 for the mid-month flash and compared with January’s 55.5. Despite the month-end slowing, the month’s results are among the best of the last three years.

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will deliver the semiannual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington.

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