The February U.S. trade deficit fell to the lowest level since June 2018. The trade balance with China in particular declined and there was a temporary surge U.S. in aircraft exports that helped to reduce the gap. The U.S. and China are working toward a late May or early June signing of a trade agreement. In other news, a fire ravaged the centuries old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Fortunately, firefighters were able to contain the blaze enough to salvage the structure. Finally, a redacted version of the Mueller report was released with mixed reception by Congress and the President Trump. The report provided new details on the expansive scope of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
U.S. stocks took a breather this week after their early 2019 double-digit rise. With the S&P 500 now up nearly 17% year-to-date, corporate earnings have a high bar to meet if domestic stocks are to continue to move upward from here. International stocks continued their rise over the week but trailing one-year and five-year returns still have a wide gap to close to catch up to domestic stocks. Ten-year Treasury yields moved a bit higher this week ending the trading week just a bit under 2.6%. In response, core bond returns fell slightly. Real estate took a big hit last week with the slight rise in rates and as fresh concerns about the health of retail hit the headlines.
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