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Markets and Economy

Nationwide’s Chief of Investment Research and the Nationwide Economics team offer daily and weekly commentary and analysis of the equity and bond markets, including an overview of economic data being released, global market news, commodities and market performance by index returns. These timely insights can help you navigate markets and understand emerging trends.

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Daily Economic Commentary

Inflation remains muted

The core CPI rose in March by 0.3 percent, the most in seven months, and is now up by 1.6 percent on an annual basis. Details were softer than the headline, which was lifted by the first major round of post-pandemic resetting: prices for lodging away from home, auto insurance, public mass transit, and admission to sporting events all spiked last month even as all remain sharply lower year-over-year. In addition, car rental prices surged again in continuation of another idiosyncratic COVID-driven trend. More broadly, the Cleveland Fed's median CPI moved higher by a tame 0.2 percent and is now advancing at its slowest annual pace in more than seven years. 

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Economic Commentary

April Economic Review: The boom is beginning

Activity surged in March as government-mandated restrictions continued to be loosened or eliminated, and the much of the country (Texas in particular) recovered from February winter storms and cold which left many without power for an extended period. Nonfarm payrolls had their largest increase since August, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) services index had its highest reading ever, and consumer mobility data showed a strong rebound from February. 

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Daily Economic Commentary

First quarter earnings set to soar

First quarter earnings season gets underway this week with the big banks batting leadoff again and very likely setting a positive tone thanks to the rapidly recovering economy and steepening yield curve (it is a safe bet that JPM CEO Jamie Dimon already had a very good sense of the figures his firm will report on Wednesday when he wrote last week that the "consumer balance sheet is in excellent shape" and that the coming economic boom "could easily run into 2023"). 

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Economic Commentary

The service sector rebound takes off

Many service sector industries have taken the brunt of the pandemic’s economic impacts as government restrictions on in-person activity in response to COVID have disrupted the recovery for those businesses. The snowy and cold February weather added a further delay this year with many consumers staying indoors rather than visiting stores or restaurants. More seasonable weather and further easing of government mandates, as vaccinations increased and COVID infections fell, jumpstarted growth in March as the ISM services index soared to its highest reading ever (data back to 1997) — indicating strong sector expansion.  

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Daily Economic Commentary

Rent prices reflect large-scale migration

Zumper's latest national report on rent prices shows sharply diverging trends across the U.S. in another sign that the pandemic has driven massive internal migration. While median two-bedroom rents are down at double-digit rates on a year-over-year basis in each of the seven priciest markets, many less expensive locales, including Durham, Boise, Cleveland, and Detroit, have seen double-digit increases over the same time frame. In fact, median rents moved by 10 percent or more in absolute terms in more than a quarter of the 100 markets covered. And as would be expected, these moves were overwhelmingly negative at the top of the price table and overwhelmingly positive at the bottom.