Monthly Market Brief – March 2017

Each month, our Heritage Investment team publishes a market brief to provide an overview of the major factors influencing the US economy, including a summary of key sectors and the current positives & challenges.

Click Market Brief March 2017 for March 2017 updates.

Here are some key highlights:

POSITIVES:

  • The PCE Price Index advanced sharply to 1.9% in January; as inflation approaches the Fed 2% target along with full employment, the Fed will have met economic health goals necessary to begin the advancement of rate hikes
  • Personal income along with wages & salaries rose a solid 0.4% in January
  • The health of the labor market appears relatively good as jobless claims remain unusually low

CHALLENGES:

  • Even with consumer confidence reaching highs not seen since the Reagan years, the post-election surge has yet to spark much traction in economic data
  • Driven by an unusual weakness in service spending and a reversal in auto sales, consumer spending posted the weakest result in 5 months, up only 0.2% in January
  • Both the ISM Manufacturing Index & the Philly Fed Index have been making headlines regarding strong advancements, but actual data has yet to confirm these positive assessments
  • Ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar continues to weigh on exports & drive imports higher as U.S. products are more expensive to foreign buyers & foreign products less expensive to U.S. buyers