Compass Financial Advisors

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US Economy and Credit Markets Ended March 2, 2018

 Investors fled into bonds on Thursday last week, as President Donald Trump announced plans to institute import tariffs on steel and aluminum of 25% and 10% respectively. U.S. Treasurys quickly reversed those gains on Friday as traders and strategists expressed worries about rising prices and inflation. The ISM Manufacturing Index rose to the highest level since 2004, coming in at 60.8 in February, well above the consensus expected 58.7. Generally speaking, levels higher than 50 signal expansion, while levels below 50 signal contraction. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell spent two days testifying before Congress last week, where he offered an upbeat view of the U.S. economy. In December, Fed officials projected that there would be three interest rate increases in 2018, but Chairman Powell's comments signaled that more hikes may be considered if the economy continued to expand. As a result, markets seem to be pricing in the possibility of four rate hikes in 2018. Major economic reports (related consensus forecasts, prior data) for the upcoming week include: Tuesday: January Final Durable Goods Orders (N/A, -3.7%), Factory Orders (-1.2%, 1.7%); Wednesday: March 2 MBA Mortgage Applications (N/A, 2.7%), February ADP Employment Change (195k, 234k), January Trade Balance (-$55.0b, -$53.1b); Thursday: March 3 Initial Jobless Claims (220k, 210k); Friday: February Change in Nonfarm Payrolls (200k, 200k), February Unemployment Rate (4.0%, 4.1%), January Final Wholesale Inventories MoM (0.7%, 0.7%).


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Latest Market News

 Stocks fell for the week as investors grappled with higher bond yields, political risks around the globe, trade tensions and higher energy prices. The real estate and utilities sectors, which tend to be bond proxies due to their high dividend yields, lost over 2% for the week. By contrast, the materials and energy sectors posted the biggest gains as investors are starting to price in higher inflation expectations. In economic news, retail sales rose 0.3% in April, in-line with forecasts, as higher paychecks from tax-cuts offset rising fuel costs. In stock news, both Walmart Inc.

 Treasury prices dropped moderately over the course of the week on strong economic data and speculation that both the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank may raise interest rates more quickly than previously expected. On Tuesday, April Advance Retail Sales were solid while March sales figures were revised to 0.8%, and May Empire Manufacturing was higher than expected, causing a risk-on environment which led to a significant drop in Treasury prices. It was also reported on Tuesday that the U.S.

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Securities offered through Harbour Investments, Inc.,
member FINRA/SIPC.

Investment Advisory Services offered through
Compass Financial Advisors, LLC,
a registered Advisor. 
Compass Financial Advisors, LLC &
Harbour Investments, Inc.
are separate entities.

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