In this week’s recap: inflation moderates, oil prices head south, and equities have a tough week.

Weekly Economic Update

Presented by Rabenold Advisors, December 17, 2018


Last week, the latest Consumer Price Index arrived, showing no move for headline inflation in November and a 0.2% core inflation increase. That precisely matched the consensus forecast of economists polled by Reuters. What held the headline CPI in check last month? You can credit a sudden drop in gas prices, which fell 4.2%. Annualized inflation declined to 2.2%. Overall producer prices only rose 0.1% last month, compared to an October ascent of 0.6%.1,2


During October, American households boosted their retail spending by 1.1% (originally reported by the Department of Commerce as a gain of 0.8%), but November presented a different story. Sales rose last month, but only by 0.2%. The gain remained at 0.2% with auto buying removed.2


That was the weekly loss for light sweet crude, influenced by two factors: increasing dollar strength and concerning economic data from China, which made traders wonder if the P.R.C.’s demand for crude could lessen. Oil settled at $51.20 Friday on the NYMEX.3


Bothered by anxieties about global growth, bulls lost some of their appetite for risk last week. Across five trading days, the S&P 500 ceded 1.26%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1.18%; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.84%. That left them at the following settlements on Friday: S&P, 2,599.95; DJIA, 24,100.51; COMP, 6,910.66. The small-cap Russell 2000 index had it worse, falling 2.57% to 1,410.81 over five days. While all this happened, volatility actually declined, at least according to the CBOE VIX; the leading gauge of Wall Street instability retreated 6.89% for the week to 21.63.4

T I P   O F   T H E   W E E K

A simple tip to keep credit cardspending under control: only use a card for purchases you know you can pay off within one month


Oracle and Red Hat share quarterly results on Monday. | On Tuesday, the Census Bureau offers a snapshot of November residential construction activity, and Darden Restaurants, FedEx, Jabil, Micron Technology, Navistar, Steelcase, and Worthington Industries present earnings. | Wednesday, the Federal Reserve releases its latest policy statement, followed by a press conference with Fed chair Jerome Powell; in addition, investors will consider October existing home sales numbers and earnings from General Mills, Paychex, Rite Aid, and Winnebago. | On Thursday, earnings roll in from Accenture, BlackBerry, Conagra Brands, Nike, and Walgreens Boots Alliance, and the Department of Labor issues a new initial claims report. | Friday, Wall Street reviews November consumer spending and capital goods orders data, the federal government’s third estimate of Q3 growth, and earnings from CarMax.

Q U O T E   O F   T H E   W E E K

Laughter is an instant vacation.”


Sources:,, – 12/14/184,5,6,7

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends. 10-year TIPS real yield = projected return at maturity given expected inflation.

T H E   W E E K L Y   R I D D L E

Dave says that the small city he lives in has a municipal building with more than a hundred stories. What building is this?

LAST WEEK’S RIDDLE: Take a word with four letters. Take away one, and what remains will be better … better than zero, anyway. What word is this?


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