U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims decreased 16,000 to 212,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 4,750 to 225,000. DOL Report

Privately-owned housing starts rose 5.7% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.24 million (down 2.5% year-over-year). Housing permits rose 0.6% to a 1.30 million annual pace in April but are down 5.0% compared to a year ago. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest round of tariff increases on Chinese exports to the U.S. will likely cause a modest and temporary boost to U.S. inflation, as Americans spend significantly more on services than on goods. Conflicting forces make the overall impact of the tariff increases hard to anticipate, but it is unlikely that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in response. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that E.U. exports to both China and the U.S. rose in the first quarter of 2019, reducing fears of a deceleration caused by an economic slowdown in China and an intensifying trade war with the U.S. European exports to China are mainly consumer goods, a sector in which demand has been less affected by the U.S.-China trade conflict. FT