US Stocks closed the first quarter with sizeable losses yesterday. The Dow was down in the 1st quarter, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ finished the quarter slightly higher. Investors are eagerly awaiting first quarter earnings season which starts next week.
The Case-Shiller home price index which measures house prices in 20 major US cities rose 4.5% year over year last month. Charlotte, Miami, and San Diego all saw the largest price increases. A combination of low interest rates, strong consumer confidence, cheap oil, and low inflation continue to support further increases in home prices.
An index that measures the confidence of the US consumer surged in March because Americans think the economy will continue to improve over the next 6 months.
The US Dollar had its largest quarterly rise in the 1st quarter since 2008. The dollar rose 9% against the Euro based on diverging monetary policies. The US Fed is going to start to tighten monetary policy, while the ECB is losing their monetary policy. The good news is it keeps getting cheaper to travel to Europe.
The payroll company ADP is out this morning with their March employment report showing US employer's added 189,000 jobs last month which is the lowest increase in monthly jobs in 14 months.
Ford and General Motors are out this morning with their March auto sales numbers. Both companies saw year over year declines in sales of about 3.5% in March. Both companies pointed to inclement weather in much of the country as reasons for weak sales numbers.