Stocks were mixed last week as good inflation news was offset by mounting debt ceiling concerns and rekindled regional banking fears.
Uncertainty Weighs on Stocks
The week got off to a quiet start as investors waited on April’s two key inflation reports scheduled for release on Wednesday and Thursday. When consumer prices rose less than forecasted, stocks broke out of their lethargy and moved higher. Stocks also got a boost on Wednesday afternoon from comments from the White House, hinting at an opening for negotiation on the debt ceiling.
Despite a substantial cooling in producer price increases, stocks turned mixed on Thursday amid a disappointing earnings report from a Dow Industrial component and new data that reignited investor anxiety over regional banks’ financial health. Stocks ended the week the way they began, largely drifting in an otherwise directionless fashion.
Inflation Pressures Ease
Consumer prices rose 4.9% year-over-year, the tenth consecutive month that the headline inflation rate has declined. This was a slight improvement over March’s 12-month increase of 5.0%. April’s monthly inflation rate was 0.4 percent, above March’s 0.1 percent rise. April’s increase was driven by higher housing, gasoline, and used car costs.4
Inflation progress extended into wholesale prices, which rose 0.2% in April–below the consensus forecast of a 0.3% rise. For the last twelve months, producer prices increased 2.3%, an improvement from last month’s 2.7% year-over-year gain and the lowest recording since January 2021.5
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Footnotes and Sources
4. The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2023.
5. CNBC, May 11, 2023
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