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Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence

After opening with decent gains, the major averages struggled to hold their early advances on mixed news. Since Monday the Standard and Poors 500 Index has fallen 39 points or 1.4% while the NASDAQ has slipped 102 points or 1.4% as well.

The Treasury International Capital Flows or TIC report came out after the close yesterday. Foreign investors made net purchases totaling 62.1 billion in January. Solid demand was seen for equities and agency bonds. Treasury note, and bond demand was positive for the first time in 3-months, corporate bonds sold off slightly.

Construction activity wobbled again in February after building starts slipped 7% to 1.236 million units annualized on a 26.1% drop in multi-family starts, this erased all of the previous months gain and then some. Permits fell 5.7% to 1.298 million units annualized. Again, a large drop in multi-family permits was the culprit and it nearly erased the large jump seen the previous month. So far real estate and construction has held up despite sharply higher interest rates, but both sectors are struggling.

Industrial Production advanced 1.1% in February, capacity utilization increased to 78.1% on large gains in auto and mining activity, utilities production posted a notable decline for the month.

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