Weekly economic update

Economic Update for March 19, 2018   |   Download PDF

Highlights of news-making events of the past week, from the economy and profits to Europe and interest rates.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that both the CPI and core CPI rose 0.2% in February. Import prices climbed 0.4% and export prices advanced 0.2% in February. The Producer Price Index inched up 0.2% in February. The Commerce Dept. found that retail sales dipped 0.1% and housing starts plunged 7.0% in February.


Initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 to 226,000 in the week ended March 10, 2018, according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average was 221,500.


As of March 8, 2018, of the 495 S&P 500 Index reporting fourth-quarter earnings, 371 — or 75% — beat analysts' estimates, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.


The University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment jumped to 102 in March from 99.7 in February, reaching a 14-year high. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose in February.


Eurostat reported that industrial production declined 1.0% in January. Euro area annual inflation fell to 1.1% in February, from 1.3% in January. Euro area labor costs grew 1.5% in the fourth quarter. Germany's Federal Statistical Office noted that the CPI increased 1.4% and wholesale prices jumped 1.2% in February.


The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note declined.


  • China's nominal GDP growth could begin to decline
  • There is a mismatch between low-volatility market environment and policy uncertainty
  • Fed tightening measures could potentially contribute to inverting the yield curve in 2018

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All economic and performance information is historical and does not guarantee future results. The views and opinions expressed are those of Putnam Investments, are subject to change with market conditions, and are not meant as investment advice.