Don’s Notebook February 28, 2018

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The S&P 500 Index finished yesterday’s session 1.3 percent lower, its biggest decline in weeks, after testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in Congress was viewed as hawkish by markets. The DJIA, NASDAQ and RUT all closed lower for the day yesterday. The weakness in the American markets spread globally. Last night the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.1 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.2 percent lower. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.4 percent lower at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, with that index having its worst month since June 2016.

The second estimate for fourth-quarter GDP will offer a look back at the economy while pending home sales will offer a future look at the housing market.

  • U.S. fourth-quarter GDP was revised slightly lower to 2.5 percent this morning.
  • Pending home sales have been rising at a steady and moderate rate will be reported later today. Consensus for this January pending sales index, which is for January, is a moderate gain of 0.3 percent.
  • The ISM-Chicago survey (traditionally and informally called the Chicago PMI) registers manufacturing and non- manufacturing activity in the Chicago region. A 65 reading is expected compared to 65.7 last period.

Today’s MMB quote: “Price does not lie. Technical Analysis focuses on price.” Bennett McDowell, CEO of TradersCoach.com.

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Dr. Don Pratl is Director of Trader Development and Education for TradeStation. He joined TradeStation in 2016 after holding similar roles with other online brokerages. Don’s long career in the financial services industry reflects expertise in administering trading and investment strategy programs for retail investors as well as financial services professionals. Since the 1980s, he has held various positions in areas including CBOE trading floor order execution, marketing, sales, personnel management, training and customer service. Don holds series 3, 4, 7 and 63 FINRA licenses, earned his Ph.D. in Organization and Management, and his M.A. and B.A. in Political Science. He has been an occasional adjunct college instructor since 2004 at a range of institutions, teaching undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students using in-class and online formats.