March 31, 2017
Personal spending proved very weak in February which sets up a very slow first quarter, one in contrast to consumer confidence readings, including today's sentiment report, that have been pointing to unusual strength. Inflation data in the personal income and spending report show total inflation, at 2.1 percent, over the Fed's 2 percent target for the first time this year. The PCE core rate is showing less life, holding at 1.8 percent.
It was a flat week for the financial markets with the Dow posting a 0.3 percent loss on Friday to end the week with a 0.3 percent gain at 20,663. The dollar index rose 0.7 percent on the week and is back over 100 at 100.46. Oil moved lower early in the week but rallied to end $2-1/2 higher near $50.50.