Read the highlights of this week’s commentary from Helios:
It was a slow and shortened week following Labor Day and that showed with very little coming in the way of new economic data. Though the S&P 500 had a little rally on Wednesday that continued through the rest of the week, ending the week up 3.68%.
Initial jobless claims continued to decline, falling to 222K and making it the fourth week in a row of declines (see graph on next page).
The trade balance continued to improve rapidly in July, though from its March lows, which was the largest trade deficit in over 30 years. This is the fourth straight month of improvement, driven by a decline in imports and a slight rise in exports. Imports of consumer goods dropped by nearly 10% as retailers focus on working through their inventories, a continued hangover from supply chain stresses.
Despite the focus on working through inventories, inventories continued to rise in July, up 0.6% for the month, though this is the slowest rise since December 2020.
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