As investors digested rising inflation and mixed earnings results from major banks, stocks fell for a second consecutive week. In a holiday-shortened week, the S&P 500 was down 2.13%, the Nasdaq Composite was off 2.63% and the Dow Jones was down 0.78%. Markets moved down with inflation taking center stage - the latest reading showed an 8.5% increase from a year ago, the fastest annual gain since December 1981. Right now, it is a specifically tough time to decide how to proceed with investing and investors must strongly weigh 1.) hot inflation data, 2.) the Federal Reserve's next steps and 3.) first quarter corporate earnings.
Economic reports from last week came back mixed: •Small Business Optimism - worse than expectation •Retail Sales - worse than expectation •Consumer Sentiment - better than expectation •Manufacturing (New York) - better than expectation •Jobless Claims - worse than expectation This week, investors will look for guidance from economic reports like Homebuilder Sentiment, New Residential Construction, Existing Home Sales, Manufacturing and Jobless Claims.