Economic and market updates

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Monthly market summary: January 31, 2015

Economic Update for February 23, 2015   |   Download PDF

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

economy

The Commerce Dept. found housing starts fell 2.0% in January from December, but rose 18.7% year-over-year. The Fed noted industrial production increased 0.2% in January. The Conference Board leading Economic Index moved up by 0.2% in January. In flash estimates, Markit Economics found U.S. manufacturing improved while Japan's manufacturing growth rate slowed in February.

employment

Initial jobless claims fell by 21,000 to 283,000 in the week ended February 14, 2015, according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average was 283,250.

profits

As of February 12, 2015, of the 390 S&P 500 Index companies reporting fourth-quarter earnings, 272 — or 69.7% — beat analysts' estimates, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

emotion

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index remained essential flat at 44.6 in the week ended February 19, 2015, from 44.3 in the prior week.

europe

The Markit Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index rose to 53.5 in February from 52.6 in January. In a first estimate, Eurostat reported the euro area posted a trade surplus in December 2014. The U.K.'s Office for National Statistics noted the CPI grew by 0.3% in the year to January 2015. The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany rose slightly in February.

rates

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