Monday Moneybeat

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.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew) Trader Thomas Ferrigno works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, May 17, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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