The U.S. economy rose 1.1% in the first quarter, falling short of estimates, in a sign that a slowdown is underway.
It is also a big pullback from the fourth quarter’s 2.6% rise and the third quarter’s 3.2% increase, according to the final estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The read may present a conundrum for the Federal Reserve and Chairman Jerome Powell, who frequently touts being data dependent, heading into next week’s May meeting.
Economic activity has been choppy, at best, in recent weeks.
Durable goods orders for March rose 3.2%, the first increase in three months, blowing past expectations of just 0.7% growth. However, spending at retail stores indicated the consumer has dialed back on spending. Retail sales fell 1% in March from the prior month, more than economists expected. Excluding autos, sales slipped 0.8%.
Consumer confidence, tracked by the Conference Board, slipped to a nine-month low in April.
|UPS||UNITED PARCEL SERVICE INC.||177.81||+5.23||+3.03%|
Additionally, shipping giant UPS, a solid barometer of economic growth, gave a murky economic outlook this week.
“I think there’s been a shift from goods to services that’s going on. And with those macro indicators and with the shift in the consumer confidence that we saw in the first quarter, you enter an environment where there’s going to be softer volume, and it was falling from January to February” UPS CFO Brian Newman told FOX Business, following the delivery giant’s earnings report.
Plus, large corporations including Disney and Amazon, began cutting thousands of workers this week, with the two power players expected to cut a combined 34,000 jobs over the next few months, with some already completed. Additionally, on Thursday, Gap confirmed 1,800 job cuts are planned for headquarters and upper workforce divisions/
|DIS||THE WALT DISNEY CO.||99.94||+3.33||+3.45%|
Policymakers will make their next interest rate decision on May 3 with the futures market currently predicting a 85% chance of a 25-basis point rate hike, lifting rates to between 5%-5.25%, as tracked by the CME’s Fed Watch Tool. After the report the percentage expecting no change dropped to 15%.