Economic and market updates

Economic Update for May 18, 2015

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

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economy

Retail sales were flat in April and business inventories were up 0.1% in March, the Commerce Dept. reported. The BLS noted both import and export prices declined in April. The Fed stated industrial production slipped 0.3% in April. China's National Bureau of Statistics reported the CPI rose by 1.5% in April year over year.

employment

Initial jobless claims fell by 1,000 to 264,000 in the week ended May 9, 2015, according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average was 271,750.

profits

As of May 7, 2015, of the 448 S&P 500 Index companies reporting first-quarter earnings, 303 — or 67.6% — beat analysts' estimates, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

emotion

The University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment fell to 88.6 in May from 95.9 in April, marking the lowest level since October 2014. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index remained essentially flat at 43.5 in the week ended May 14, 2015, from 43.7 in the prior week.

europe

Eurostat reported industrial production was down by 0.3% in March, and the flash estimate for first-quarter GDP was up by 0.4% in the euro area. Germany's Federal Statistical Office found that the GDP rose 0.3% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2014. Germany's CPI rose by 0.5% in April year over year.

rates

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note declined. The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the bank rate at 0.5%.

risks

  • Interest-rate volatility as the market considers when the Fed will raise interest rates
  • Geopolitical risk in Eastern Europe and the Middle East
  • Deflation risk and currency instability in Europe

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.

Your clients should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of a fund before investing. For a prospectus containing this and other information for any Putnam fund or product, call Putnam at 1-800-354-4000. Your clients should read the prospectus carefully before investing.