Unemployment levels fell to 3.9% in April – the lowest level in over 17 years. Wage growth from the recent jobs report was modest while the March personal consumption price index hit the Fed’s target of 2%. At its meeting this week, the Fed indicated that it was still on track for a plan to gradually increase rates, but also signaled that it would be patient with tightening if inflation creeped slightly above its target. Trade talks continued this week with a delay in U.S. aluminium and steel tariffs on its Canadian, Mexican, and European partners; however, little progress was made in China. In a strange turn, Elon Musk shocked investors by taking an adversarial tone on the Telsa earnings call.
Large cap stocks ended the week mixed and slightly down. Apple reported solid earnings and the stock price received another boost in its stock when Berkshire Hathaway announced that it purchased 75 million shares of the stock last quarter. Small cap domestic stocks ended the week up 0.4% and 3% year-to-date. International equities and, in particular, emerging market stocks took a tumble last week on the strength of the U.S. dollar. The 10-year Treasury yield stayed below 3% last week – giving bond funds a brief reprieve. Commodities had another strong week on increasing oil prices and are now up over 10% on a trailing twelve month basis.