Money Talk Podcast, Friday April 26, 2024

Advisors on This Week’s Show

Kyle Tetting 

Steve Giles

Mike Hoelzl 

(with Max Hoelzl and Joel Dresang, engineered by Jason Scuglik)

Week in Review (April 22-26, 2024)

Significant Economic Indicators & Reports


No major releases


The Commerce Department said the annual rate of new home sales rose 8.8% in March to 693,000 houses, the fastest pace since July. The rate was up 8% from the year before and on par with the level heading into the COVID-19 pandemic. The supply of new houses for sale stayed in the ballpark of eight months’ worth of houses at the current sales rate. The median sales price dipped 1.9% from March 2023 to $430,700.


Manufacturing demand picked up in March, with durable goods orders rising 2.6% from February, the second consecutive monthly increase, according to the Commerce Department. Gains were led by contracts for commercial aircraft and automobiles. Excluding volatile transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose 0.2%. Since March 2023, all orders rose 0.3%; they were up 1.3% excluding transportation. Core capital goods orders, a proxy for business investment, jumped 6% in March but were down 0.9% from March 2023.


The U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of 1.6% in the first quarter, the slowest rate for the gross domestic product since back-to-back declines to start 2022. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported consumer spending rose at a 2.5% rate in the first three months of 2024, down from 3.7% in the fourth quarter, when the overall economy grew at a 3.4% annual rate. Adjusted for inflation, GDP was up 3% from the first quarter of 2023. And while economic slowdown has been an aim of the Federal Reserve Board’s efforts to cool inflation, the annual pace of price increases, according to the Fed’s  preferred measure, rose to 3.4% in the first quarter from 1.8% in the fourth.

GDP Q1 chart

The four-week moving average for initial unemployment claims fell after two weeks of no change. The average was 42% lower than the 57-year average, according to Labor Department data. In the latest week, just under 1.9 million Americans claimed jobless benefits, down 4% from the week before and up 3% from the same time last year. An indication of employers’ willingness to lose workers, the jobless claims continued to suggest a tight labor market.

The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales rose 3.4% in March. The trade group’s index was up 0.1% from the year before, prompting an economist for the association to say that sales have been hovering near 30-year lows because of higher mortgage rates and insufficient inventory. Suggesting new construction would help increase supply, the group forecast a 9% rise in sales for 2024 followed by 13% growth in 2025. A year ago, the Realtors projected 2023 sales would be 10% higher than where they eventually ended, at 4.46 million houses. The year-ago forecast called for a 15% increase in 2024.


The Bureau of Economic Analysis said consumer spending rose 0.8% in March, outpacing a 0.5% gain in personal income. Accounting for about two-thirds of economic activity, the spending was another sign of continued economic growth. Meantime, the Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation gauge showed the pace in price increases remained above the long-term target of 2%. The personal consumption expenditures index rose 2.7% from March 2023, up from 2.5% in February, though down from a four-decade high of 7.1% in mid-2022.

PCD March chart

Often a pre-cursor to spending, consumer sentiment, declined insignificantly in April, down 2.8% from March but up 21% from the year before. The University of Michigan said its longstanding survey showed consumers at a plateau, putting expectations on pause pending the November presidential election. Researchers said geopolitical conflicts weren’t weighing on consumers and their expectations for inflation ticked up slightly.


  • Nasdaq – 15928, up 646 points or 4.2%
  • Standard & Poor’s 500 – 5100, up 133 points or 2.7%
  • Dow Jones Industrial – 38240, up 253 points or 0.7%
  • 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 4.67%, up 0.05 point