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Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence

Disappointing economic data, rising geo-political tensions and growing uncertainty sent the major averages sharply lower in early trade.

Productivity fell .6% in the first quarter as unit labor costs jumped 3%, both figures missed expectations substantially. On a year ago basis productivity is up 1.1% while unit labor costs advanced 2.8%.

Despite missing expectations factory orders rose for a 4th consecutive month gaining .2% in March on strong durable goods orders and the proxy for business spending non-defense capital goods ex aircraft which increased .5%.

International trade slipped in March as exports fell 1.7 billion and imports slipped 1.7 billion as well leaving the trade deficit relatively unchanged at 43.7 billion.

Puerto Rico has filed the largest ever municipal bankruptcy as the US territory demonstrates that in fact deficits and debt do matter. The combination of a shrinking economy and population combined with 73 billion plus in debt proved too much for the island’s finances. Given the precarious condition of Illinois finances they make a very good candidate for bankruptcy as well.

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