U.S. economy slows in first quarter as consumer spending brakes sharply

U.S. economy slows in first quarter as consumer spending brakes sharply

In the News, US Economy
WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. economy slowed in the first quarter as consumer spending grew at its weakest pace in nearly five years, but the setback is likely temporary against the backdrop of a tightening labor market and large fiscal stimulus. Gross domestic product increased at a 2.3 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said in its snapshot of first-quarter GDP on Friday, also held back by a moderation in business spending on equipment and investment in homebuilding. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast output rising at a 2.0 percent rate in the January-March period. The first-quarter growth pace is, however, probably not a true reflection of the economy, despite the weakness in consumer spending. First-quarter…
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Twitter, tech stocks hit as Wall Street turns lower

Twitter, tech stocks hit as Wall Street turns lower

In the News
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks headed lower on Wednesday with technology bearing the brunt of falls soon after opening as investors worried over rising bond yields, corporate costs and rising trade tensions with China. Shares of the world’s biggest plane maker, rose 1.65 percent and provided some support to the Dow Jones Industrial Average index after it reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised full-year forecast for earnings and cash flow. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, the benchmark for global interest rates, held above 3 percent after crossing the level for the first time in four years on Tuesday, stoking concerns about higher borrowing rates for companies. The Wall Street Journal also reported the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into Chinese tech company Huawei Technologies…
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U.S. job growth speeds up, unemployment rate falls; wages flat

U.S. job growth speeds up, unemployment rate falls; wages flat

In the News, US Economy
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job growth accelerated in October after hurricane-related disruptions in the prior month, but a sharp retreat in annual wage gains and surge in the number of people dropping out of the work force cast a cloud over the labor market. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 261,000 jobs last month as 106,000 leisure and hospitality workers returned to work, the Labor Department said in its closely watched employment report on Friday. That was the largest gain since July 2016, but was below economists’ expectations for an increase of 310,000 jobs. Data for September was revised to show a gain of 18,000 jobs instead of a decline of 33,000 as previously reported. Some aspects of the report, however, were downbeat. Although the unemployment rate fell to near a 17-year…
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Who needs Wall Street? New robot-powered ETF

Who needs Wall Street? New robot-powered ETF

AI, In the News
The robots have arrived on Wall Street, and so far they're giving the market a pretty good run for its money. Earlier this week marked the debut of an upstart fund called the AI Powered Equity ETF, an actively managed security that seeks to use artificial intelligence to beat the market. So far, it's done a pretty good job. While the evaluation time is extremely brief — the exchange-traded fund officially launched Wednesday — and therefore not much of a measure on how it fund will perform in the long term, it has accomplished its goal. We have seen a rapid advancement of practical A.I., expert says from CNBC. AIEQ was up about 0.6 percent heading into Friday, then added some early gains to push its return above 1 percent…
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U.S. job openings rise to seven-month high in February

U.S. job openings rise to seven-month high in February

In the News, marketsNews
U.S. job openings rose to a seven-month high in February while the pace of hiring slipped, pointing to a growing skills mismatch and a further tightening of labor market conditions. Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased 118,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.7 million, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. That was the highest level since July and lifted the jobs openings rate to 3.8 percent after holding steady at 3.7 percent for four straight months. Hiring, however, slipped to 5.3 million from 5.4 million in January. The hiring rate dipped to 3.6 percent from 3.7 percent the prior month. "It shows you that there is one of the most gigantic skills mismatches out there across the country that we have ever seen in history," said Chris Rupkey, chief…
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Wall St. opens higher; healthcare bill vote awaited

Wall St. opens higher; healthcare bill vote awaited

In the News, marketsNews
By Tanya Agrawal Wall Street opened higher on Friday, helped by a rise in technology shares and ahead of a closely watched vote on a healthcare bill seen as a test of President Donald Trump's ability to pass his legislative agenda through Congress. It was not clear late on Thursday evening that Trump and Republican leaders had enough support to pass the bill, with Trump warning lawmakers from his party that he will leave Obamacare in place if they do not rally around him. Investors fear that a failure to pass the bill could endanger Trump's promises of tax cuts and stimulus. On Tuesday, Wall Street recorded its worst one-day loss since before the U.S. presidential election due to these concerns. The Dow and S&P 500 are now on track…
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U.S. housing starts jump; weekly jobless claims fall

U.S. housing starts jump; weekly jobless claims fall

In the News, marketsNews
By Lucia Mutikani | WASHINGTON U.S. homebuilding jumped in February likely as unseasonably warm weather boosted the construction of single-family houses to near a 9-1/2-year high, suggesting the economy remained on solid ground despite an apparent slowdown in the first quarter. Other data on Thursday showed a drop in the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits last week, pointing to a further tightening in the labor market. The fairly upbeat data came a day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the third time since the 2008 financial crisis. Fed Chair Janet Yellen told reporters that the U.S. central bank was sending a message that "we have confidence in the robustness of the economy and its resilience to shocks." Housing starts increased 3.0 percent to a…
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Fed expected to raise rates as U.S. economy flexes muscle

Fed expected to raise rates as U.S. economy flexes muscle

In the News, marketsNews
By Howard Schneider | WASHINGTON The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates for the second time in three months on Wednesday, encouraged by strong monthly job gains and confidence that inflation is finally rising to its target. A rate hike at the conclusion of the Fed's latest two-day policy meeting is already baked into bond yields and financial markets overall, with investors putting the likelihood of such a move at 95 percent, according to CME Group's FedWatch program. Attention is turning instead to whether the U.S. central bank will signal an even faster pace of monetary tightening this year than the current three rate hikes that it projected at the December policy meeting. "Expectations have some catching up to do regarding the Fed's need to 'lean into the…
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Wall St. slips as Fed meets to decide on interest rates

Wall St. slips as Fed meets to decide on interest rates

In the News, marketsNews
By Yashaswini Swamynathan U.S. stocks slipped at the open on Tuesday as investors fixed their sights on the outcome of a meeting where the Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates for the first time this year. The Fed meets over two days starting Tuesday, with traders pricing in a 90 percent chance of a quarter point rate hike as inflation picks up and the labor market shows solid strength. The central bank's statement is due at 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, which will be followed by Fed Chair Janet Yellen's press conference. "Ahead of a major data point like the Fed, you typically don't see big investors move sharply in one way or the other," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at 50 Park Investments in Florida.…
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Wall St flat as investors prepare for potential rate hike

Wall St flat as investors prepare for potential rate hike

In the News, marketsNews
By Yashaswini Swamynathan U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as investors preferred to hold their bets ahead of a widely expected interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve later this week. The Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank's policy-setting board, is expected to lift interest rates by a quarter point to 0.75 percent-1.00 percent after a two-day meeting that starts on Tuesday. All the major S&P 500 sectors were trading within a small range, indicating a subdued appetite on Wall Street. Materials .SPLRCM led the gainers with a mere 0.23 percent rise, while consumer staples were the biggest losers, but off just 0.14 percent. A blowout monthly jobs number on Friday underscored the strength of the U.S. labor market and the ability of the economy to absorb a…
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