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Treasury Yields Snapshot: February 23, 2024

The yield on the 10-year note ended February 23, 2024 at 4.26%, the 2-year note ended at 4.67%, and the 30-year at 4.37%.

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S&P 500 Snapshot: Late Week Rally Leads to Another Record Close

The S&P 500 rallied during the back half of this week to reach a new all-time record close. The index is currently up 7.29% year to date and has set a new record closing high 13 times so far this year.

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RecessionAlert Weekly Leading Economic Index

The weekly leading economic index (WLEI) is a composite for the U.S economy that draws from over 20 time-series and groups them into the following six broad categories which are then used to construct an equally weighted average. As of February 9th, the index was at 13.607, down 0.578 from the previous week, with 3 of the 6 components in expansion territory.

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Existing Home Sales Reach Five-Month High

Existing home sales jumped to a five-month high in January. According to the data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales rose 3.1% from December to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.00 million units. This figure came in higher than the expected 3.96 million. Existing home sales are down 1.7% compared to one year ago.

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Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Decreased in January

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) dropped to -0.30 in January from +0.02 in December. Three of the four broad categories of indicators used to construct the index decreased from December and three categories made negative contributions in January. The index's three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, rose to -0.02 in January from -0.14 in December.

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Unemployment Claims Down 12K, Lower Than Expected

In the week ending February 17, initial jobless claims were at a seasonally adjusted level of 201,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure. The latest reading is lower than the forecast of 217,000.

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Gasoline Prices Rise for 4th Straight Week

Gas prices are up for a fourth straight week for the first time since August. As of February 21st, the prices of regular and premium gas increased 8 cents and 7 cents from the previous week, respectively. The WTIC end-of-day spot price for crude oil closed at $77.04, up 0.2% from last week.

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Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin Breaks $52K for First Time Since December 2021

Bitcoin's price broke past $52,000 this past week for the first time since December 2021. BTC is currently up ~18% year to date. Here's the latest charts on three of the largest cryptocurrencies by market share through 2/20/24.

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World Markets Watchlist: February 20, 2024

Five of the eight indexes on our world watch list have posted gains through February 20, 2024. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 finished in the top spot with a YTD gain of 14.64%. The U.S.'s S&P 500 finished in second with a YTD gain of 4.91% while France's CAC 40 finished in third with a YTD gain of 3.51%.

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Margin Debt Up 0.2% in January

FINRA has released new data for margin debt, now available through January. The latest debt level rose for a third straight month to $701.98 billion. Margin debt is up 0.2% month-over-month (MoM) and up 9.5% year-over-year (YoY). However, after adjusting for inflation, debt level is down 0.4% MoM and up 6.2% YoY.

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CB Leading Economic Index: No Longer Forecasting Recession

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) fell for a 22nd consecutive month in January as the LEI continues to signal headwinds to economic activity in the U.S. However, for the first time in the past two years, the index is no longer forecasting a recession in 2024. The index dropped 0.4% from last month to 102.7, the index's lowest reading since May 2020.

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Michigan Consumer Sentiment Essentially Unchanged in February

Consumer sentiment was essentially unchanged in February according to the preliminary report for the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The index inched up 0.6 points (0.8%) to 79.6 from the January final. The latest reading was below the forecast of 80.0.

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Housing Starts Plummet 14.8% in January

In January, housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.331 million, falling short of the forecasted 1.450 million. This marks a 14.8% decrease from December and a 0.7% decline compared to one year ago.

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Building Permits Fall 1.5% in January

In January, building permits were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.470 million, falling short of the forecasted 1.509 million. This marks a 1.5% decrease from December and a 8.6% rise compared to one year ago.

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Producer Price Index: Wholesale Inflation Inches Down to 0.9% in January

Wholesale inflation cooled last month but still came in slightly higher than expected. The producer price index for final demand increased 0.3% month-over-month (s.a.). On an annual basis, headline PPI decelerated from 1.0% in December to 0.9% in January.