Business inventories increased by 0.3% in January from the previous month. Sales increased 0.2%. Inventories rose at retailers by 0.8% while sales increased 0.5%. Inventory growth was just 0.2% for the manufacturing sector. (Commerce Department)
Improving economic data points to more rate hikes. Data on initial claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts for February, and manufacturing for March were all solid and reinforced the Fed's view that the economy is improving. Unemployment claims remain near 43 year lows and have dropped by 19,000 over the past six months. Claims would have to rise by at least 75,000 over six months to indicate a recession. (LPL Research)
Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has hired former U.S. Attorney General William Barr to help the company with an ongoing government investigation of its import and export practices. (Reuters)
British American Tobacco says demand for its "glo" tobacco heating device outstripped supply in its Japan test marketing. Heat but not burn tobacco is rapidly gaining popularity in Japan. Philip Morris International has more than doubled the supply of its no burn devices but it was not enough to cover the demand. (Reuters)
The S&P 500 is up 1 and the NASDAQ is up 4. The MSCI international index is lower.
Oil is up 25 cents at $49.01 a barrel.
Gold is up $2 at $1229 a Troy ounce.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.