Economic Journal - Thursday, 2/16/2017Submitted by Miller Financial Group, LLC on February 16th, 2017
US markets opened near the unchanged line Thursday, pausing after a record setting day Wednesday. The Dow, S&P500 and Nasdaq all closed at record highs yesterday for the fifth consecutive session – the first time all three benchmarks notched record closes for five straight days since 1992. February’s rally has been impressive, with US stocks up 3%-4% as promises of President Donald Trump’s “phenomenal” tax plan has stirred risk appetite amongst market participants. Fed Chair Janet Yellen commented on the market’s record run-up in her congressional testimony Wednesday, reiterating the view that the market sees fiscal policy and tax reform as the keys to stimulating economic growth and corporate profits. Economic data has been strong as of late. Thursday’s data showed jobless claims increasing slightly last week but still near historically low levels. Housing data showed new construction falling 2.6% in January while building permits (a sign of future demand) increased more than expected. A report on manufacturing in the Philadelphia region skyrocketed in February to the highest level since 1984, another indication that the economic recovery is strengthening. International markets are mixed today. Most of Asia finished higher following yesterday’s positive close on Wall Street, while European stocks are trending lower in to the final hour of trading. Oil prices are down while gold and treasury prices are up slightly.