ROBARE & JONES ON THE MARKETS
Last week, unemployment claims were looking good and consumers were feeling good.
The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits declined. Just 684,000 people filed claims during the week of March 20, down 97,000 from the week before, according to last week’s report from the Labor Department.
Granted, that’s a large number – higher than the highest number of first-time claims during the Great Recession – but it’s the smallest we’ve seen since the pandemic began, according to Christopher Rugaber of the AP.
Consumer sentiment also improved, according to data released last week. The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment was up 10.5 percent month-to-month, although it remained down year-over-year. Perceptions of current economic conditions improved, too.
Performance of major U.S. stock indices was mixed last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index both finished higher for the week, while the Nasdaq Composite lost ground.
Let's take a look at the benchmarks from this past week!
Taking a Snooze in the Suez
Until last week, about 50 vessels, transporting approximately 10 percent of global trade, sailed through the Suez Canal every day, reported Scott Neuman and Jackie Northam of NPR.
The canal is a shortcut that makes it possible for ships to travel from Asia and the Middle East to Europe without sailing all the way around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, a route that’s both less secure (pirates) and more expensive (time, insurance, and fuel), according to David Sheppard, Harry Dempsey, Leo Lewis, and Kana Inagaki of Financial Times.
That changed on Tuesday when one of the largest container ships in the world became wedged in the canal, blocking traffic in both directions, reported Sudarsan Raghavan and Antonia Noori Farzan of The Washington Post. Reporting that container freight cost have risen from $2,200 to $4,000 per container. Yet again another market price reset within the last year.
Where have you seen prices increase lately?
https://www.barrons.com/market-data?mod=BOL_TOPNAV (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/03-29-21_Barrons-Market_Data-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://www.ft.com/content/3cbfa2dc-791b-47fa-a5f8-31d1b9a1757d (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/03-29-21_FinancialTimes-US_Offers_to_Help_Egypt_Unblock_Suez_Canal-Footnote_7.pdf)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/suez-canal-ship-blockage-ever-given/2021/03/26/357f8ae8-8da8-11eb-a33e-da28941cb9ac_story.html (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/03-29-21_TheWashingtonPost-Piracy_Fears_Mount_as_Ships_Take_Long_Way_Around_Africa_to_Avoid_Blocked_Suez_Canal-Footnote_8.pdf)
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/02/11/container-shipping-costs-have-surged-in-recent-months (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/03-29-21_TheEconomist-Container-Shipping_Costs_have_Surged_in_Recent_Months-Footnote_9.pdf)
https://books.google.com/books?id=ua0a4xIdJvUC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/03-29-21_Book_Excerpt-Ninety_Percent_of_Everything-Footnote_11.pdf)