In U.S. economic news, the third estimate of fourth-quarter GDP came in at 2.9%, increasing from the prior-quarter reading of 2.5%, and beating consensus estimates of 2.6% growth. The Office for National Statistics illustrated a picture of slower than expected economic growth for the fourth-quarter in the U.K. Gross Domestic Product expanded by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, below the 0.5% exhibited in the prior period. South Korean gross domestic product expanded by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% on-quarter during the fourth-quarter of 2017, slowing significantly from the 1.4% gain realized in the third quarter.
As everyone gears up for the 2018 Final Four this weekend, the new issuance market continued to impress, pricing 18 deals (6 IPOs, 8 FOs, 2 BLKs, and 2 CVTs) for combined proceeds of $7.1B.
In housing news, the MBA mortgage applications index for the week ended 3/16 fell 1.1%, below the prior-week’s 0.9% gain. Meanwhile, new home sales for the same month came in at 618,000, below both the prior-month’s upwardly revised 622,000 figure and consensus estimates of 620,000. Germany’s business climate index for March fell to 114.7 from 115.4 in the prior month. This is slightly higher than the 114.6 forecasted according to the Ifo Institute. Fear of trade conflict stemming from recent developments in U.S. trade policy is a heavy influence. The unemployment rate in Japan ticked up to a seasonally adjusted 3.70% in February, increasing marginally from the 3.68% rate reported in January. The 3.70% rate matched economists’ expectations.
As March Madness continued with Loyola-Chicago’s improbably run into the Elite Eight, the new issuance market welcomed 20 deals (2 IPOs, 11 FOs, 1 BLK, and 6 CVT) to the market for $4.3B in combined proceeds.
In U.S. economic news, CPI for the month of February reported 0.2% growth, matching the consensus estimates, butbelow the prior month’s 0.5% growth. Revised February data for the Eurozone showed inflation growth eased to 1.1%, following January growth of 1.3%. Japan’s industrial production dropped an adjusted 6.8% month-over-month in January, faster than the 6.6% fall reported earlier and below the 2.9% increase seen in December.