Financial and Economic Brief - Apr. 25, 2017by © Liberty Publishing, Inc.
U.S. Gas Prices Rise
According to the Lundberg Survey, the average price of a gallon of gas rose 3 cents in the past two weeks, to $2.46. Furthermore, Trilby Lundberg industry analyst for the Lundberg Survey reported that consumers could see price increases wane as crude oil costs fall. A year ago the national average was 28 cents per gallon less than it is today. On Friday, gas in San Francisco was the highest in the contiguous U.S. at $3.04 a gallon. Jackson, Mississippi has the lowest in the nation at $2.09 per gallon. Diesel was up 1 cent to $2.59 a gallon.
Weak Q1 Growth Expected
A Q1 economic growth report is likely to reveal weakness this week. New home sales were unusually strong in January and February, but such gains typically mean an “offsetting retreat” lies ahead. Economists expect that new home sales fell 0.7% in March to a “still-sturdy” annual rate of 588,000. Additionally, consumer confidence hit a 16-year high in March, powered by the healthy labor market, inexpensive gasoline, reduced household debt, and “near-record” home and stock prices. Furthermore, business investment has bounced back modestly in recent months. Economists expect a solid 0.5% increase for March.
Wall Street Rises after French First Round
After the first round of the French election results came in, the Nasdaq hit a record high on Monday, with other indexes also rising. In fact, the three major indexes had gains of more than 1%. Investors “breathed a sigh of relief” after Centrist candidate and market favorite Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the elections. “The markets are in a strong rebound as the expectations of the first round of the French elections results were pleasing,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote.