Don’s Notebook March 1, 2018

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The S&P 500 Index’s closed February with a slide of 2.4 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday. This continues to set the tone for global markets. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.7 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.6 percent lower as the strengthening dollar and concerns over the pace of U.S. rate increases hit equities.

  • Jobless claims decreased by 10k to 210k, lowest since Dec. 1969 (est. 225k)
  • Continuing claims rose by 57k to 1.93m in week ended Feb. 17 (data reported with one-week lag)
  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 220,500, also the lowest since 1969, from the prior week’s 225,500
  • Growth eased very slightly over the last two weeks of the PMI manufacturing sample with the final February reading at 55.3 vs 55.9 for the mid-month flash and compared with January’s 55.5. Despite the month-end slowing, the month’s results are among the best of the last three years.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will deliver the semiannual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington.

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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.