August 8, 2018— Recent data have raised concerns about a slowdown in the housing market. After a solid 2017, in which both existing and new home sales posted their strongest readings since 2006 and 2007, respectively, 2018 has been a lackluster year in comparison. Sales of existing homes in the housing market, which account for close to 90% of all home sales, have been negative on a year-over-year basis for most of 2018.
June 28, 2018—One of the much-heralded benefits of tax reform enacted at the end of last year was the expectation of a boost to GDP due to strong incentives for companies to increase capital expenditures, or “capex.” With companies now having had nearly six months to digest the tax reform package, economists and markets have been eagerly awaiting signs of a pickup in the data.
June 14, 2018—The much-awaited June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, (which votes on monetary policy actions for the Federal Reserve, or Fed), saw the federal funds target rate raised just as markets expected, by 25 basis points (bps), to 1.75%–2.00%. A few elements of the committee’s statement and press conference are worth noting. First, its assessment of recent data was quite positive, reflecting the recent rebound data after a softer patch in 1Q.