Markets traded higher after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates by a quarter of a point. Reactions in the market however were odd. Gold moved higher as did material stocks while banks, the supposed big beneficiaries of a rate hike, traded off a bit. Trading volume shot higher and at the end of the day the Dow gained 112 at 20,950. In her statement regarding the March rate hike, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said “The simple message is the economy is doing well”. After the rate hike news several banks increased their prime lending rates to 4%.
Recent Economic news is good. Retail sales figures gained 0.1% for February matching estimates. For the year sales were up 5.9%. CPI inflation increased 0.1% in February and up 2.7% YOY thanks to a jump in oil prices. The March homebuilder sentiment index surged 6 points to a reading of 71 reaching the highest level since June of 2005.
Oil prices rebounded slightly from the recent selloff. US stockpiles fell slightly from all-time highs. WTI crude rose 2.3% to $48.82 per barrel.
Amazon in Seattle is getting ready to open a new store in Ballard where customers can drive through and pick up groceries that were ordered online. While this will not work for bus commuters I am sure Tesla owners will love it. The big question on everyone’s lips is whether or not they will allow Girl Scouts to sell cookies at this location. The company also announced that in the cities of Cincinnati and Columbus Ohio, it would offer a free beer and wine delivery service thus eliminating the need for self-driving cars. If Ballard however is any indication of future trends, once the company has you hooked they will quickly switch to a drive up beer and wine window just like the bars in Lincoln, Montana. I wonder if Drew Carey is disappointed that they are not doing this in Cleveland.