News by the Numbers

Five noteworthy figures from the previous week

2.00-2.25%
The new target range for the federal funds rate.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter point last week, making its third rate move of 2018. The announcement was notable for another reason: the word “accommodative” was absent from the central bank’s latest policy statement. Some journalists and economists took that as a hint that the Fed might soon raise rates less aggressively or perhaps pause its tightening cycle. Then again, Fed chairman Jerome Powell characterized the new benchmark interest rate level as “accommodative” for economic growth when he spoke to the media on Wednesday.

Source: TheStreet 1

138.4
The September reading on the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index.

Several monthly surveys attempt to gauge U.S. consumer sentiment; the Conference Board’s survey is arguably the most respected. The CB index rose 3.7 points last month to an 18-year high. (The index hit its all-time peak in 2000, which was 144.7.)

Source: The Conference Board 2

4.5%
The August jump in hard goods orders.

Why was this August number so sizable? Air carriers bought planes. A 69.1% monthly leap in orders for commercial aircraft and airplane parts was the major influence in the advance. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected durable goods orders to rise 1.8% last month.

Source: Briefing.com 3

5.9%
How much home values increased between July 2017 and July 2018.

This number comes from the 20-city S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, which is truly a lagging economic indicator (its data is always two months old). What leaps out is how this percentage has shrunk. The June edition of the Case-Shiller index showed 6.4% annual home price appreciation. A monthly decline this large is unusual and suggests that home sellers are having to adjust their expectations to match reality.

Source: Bloomberg.com 4

7.20%
The S&P 500’s third-quarter gain.

Simply put, equities had a great summer. In comparison, the broad benchmark for the large-cap segment of the market rose 2.93% during the second quarter. In Q1, the S&P fell 1.22%.

Source: CNNMoney 5

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. All indices referenced are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Kenneth Hagel

Citations.

1 – www.thestreet.com/markets/fed-raises-us-interest-rates-as-trump-tax-cuts-heat-up-economy-14724854 [9/26/18]

2 – www.conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm [9/26/18]

3 – www.briefing.com/Investor/Calendars/Economic/Releases/durord.htm [9/27/18]

4 – www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-25/home-prices-in-20-u-s-cities-rise-at-slowest-pace-in-11-months [9/25/18]

5 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/ [9/28/18]