MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: A big drop in the production of cars and auto parts drove overall U.S. industrial production down half a percentage point in April from March. Compared to a year ago, though, industrial production is still up about nine-tenths.
Industry analysts blame the decline in auto sales so far this year on rising vehicle prices, competition from an abundant supply of late-model used cars, and relatively high interest rates that make borrowing more expensive.
Those same factors drove a decline in April retail sales overall. That Commerce Department retail-sales report has been a see-saw this year, quite literally. January was up, February down. March was up, and April down, slightly, two-tenths of a percent.
BASHAM: Good news for the struggling housing market: Home construction in this country rose in April, led by an increase in single-family homes. It’s still down from the previous year, but April construction was 6.2 percent better than March. Housing permits rose slightly, six-tenths of a percent, and that represented the first uptick since December. Permits are an indicator of future activity.
EICHER: Even while the trade dispute with China continued, President Trump announced a deal last week among the United States, Canada, and Mexico to scrap what he called major tariffs. The president called on Congress to ratify the newly renegotiated free-trade pact, the USMCA, as it’s known, the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement.
Still, trade-war uncertainty with China led the stock market down a second week. Each of the major indexes fell:
The Standard and Poor’s 500 index of stocks lost eight-tenths of a percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped seven-tenths.
The Nasdaq shed 1.3 percent.
And the Russell 2000 gave up 2.4.
And that is today’s Monday Moneybeat.