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The stock market rallied yesterday, with the Nasdaq posting a record finish as investors welcomed a deluge of stronger-than-expected corporate earnings reports and economic data.  Comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that President Donald Trump’s tax reform is not linked to the outcome of the healthcare bill also bolstered sentiment.

Initial jobless claims rose by 10,000 to a still-low 244,000 in mid-April. Meanwhile, the number of out-of-work people collecting unemployment checks fell to a 17-year low last week, underscoring the strongest U.S. labor market in years.
The US manufacturing index slid in April, but from high levels, suggesting slower growth in the factory sector after a postelection surge.  The index fell to 22.0 from 32.8. It had hit a 33-year high of 43.3 in February and has receded every month since then.

The gap between an index of leading economic indicators and one of current economic indicators is at its highest since the eve of the recession — suggesting either a sharp upward turn in the economy is imminent, or a sharp downturn is imminent.

Shares of Dow component American Express gained more than 6% following a first-quarter earnings beat. The credit card company reported earnings of $1.34 a share on revenue of $7.9 billion.  Analysts had anticipated $1.28 a share in earnings. Excluding its Costco-related revenue decline, sales came in 7% higher than a year earlier.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management I’m Tyler Simones
 

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