Stocks closed out the week with the Dow gaining 2 whole points to close at 21,005. For the week the Dow netted about 195 points or about 0.96% which is not a bad start for the month of March and the onset of March Madness. Will Gonzaga go all the way?
Costco reported earnings today and the numbers were not up to snuff. A 6% sales increase was good but net income fell 6% and the company announced it would up the price of its membership fees. At least parking is still free. Costco has been affected by a strong US dollar affecting international operations.
Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen spoke in sunny Chicago today and virtually assured a March 15th rate hike when she said it would be appropriate as long as we do not do something stupid between now and then.
In the words of Monty Python: “And now for some completely different economic news”. The ISM manufacturing survey hit a two and a half year high in February. The production index hit 62.9 as 17 of the 18 industries reported growth. Adding frosting to the cake were the new orders and production components which continue to forecast growth in the months ahead. Meanwhile in the service sector, 16 of the 18 industries expanded in February for the 86th consecutive month. The two most forward indices, new orders and business activity, showed an increase in the pace of expansion in February. Business activity showed its fastest growth in six years. All good stuff.