Read the highlights of this week’s commentary from Helios:
Inflation has yet to slow, with February’s Consumer Price Index showing a 7.9% increase in prices over the last year and a 0.8% increase since January, which were in line with economist expectations. The fresh multi-decade highs were before much of the energy price volatility in recent weeks, though energy still contributed roughly one-third of the monthly increase. Core CPI, excluding food and energy, increased 6.4% over the last year.
Turmoil in energy markets, with oil briefly spiking north of $120 per barrel, spilled over into equity markets helping push the S&P 500 down over 2.8% for the week. While oil ended up falling below where it started the week, the S&P 500 volatility continued throughout the week, despite a Wednesday bounce.
Initial jobless claims remain low, with the latest week showing 227K new claims, though keeping the 4-week trend at some of the lowest levels since the pandemic began.
Eyes will be on the Fed with the FOMC meeting on the 15th and 16th with the market expecting a 25 basis point rate hike coming out of the meeting.
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