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Economic Update for March 30, 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

The BEA reported GDP rose at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter. The BLS noted both the CPI and core CPI increased 0.2% in February. The NAR found existing home sales rose in February. New home sales increased 7.8% and durable goods orders dropped 1.4% in February, the Commerce Dept. noted. A flash HSBC report stated manufacturing declined in China in March.

employment

Initial jobless claims fell by 9,000 to 282,000 in the week ended March 21, 2015, according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average was 297,000.

profits

The BEA reported corporate profits fell 1.4% at a quarterly rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, after rising 3.1% in the third quarter.

emotion

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final reading of the index of consumer sentiment fell to 93.0 in March from 95.4 in February. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to 45.5 in the week ended March 26, 2015, from 44.2 in the prior week.

europe

The Markit Flash Eurozone Composite Output Index rose to 54.1 in March from 53.3 in February. The Ifo Business Climate Index for German trade and industry rose in March. The European Commission flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator for the euro area increased sharply in March.

rates

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note traded in a narrow range.

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
  • Financial instability in oil-exporting emerging markets

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.