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Hopes of a Trade Deal Lift Markets

U.S. equities marked their fourth consecutive week of gains while bond markets once again posted advances in yields.  The gains came primarily in the latter part of the week, as signs emerged that the U.S. and China were closing in on a trade deal.  The week's economic calendar was once again lighter than usual, as the government shutdown resulted in the postponement of the housing starts and building permits releases. 

The week's initial jobless claims number was slightly better than expected, although the impact of federal workers (and contractors) filing for claims has yet to make its expected impact.  According to the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, each week of the shutdown will subtract 0.13% from this quarter's economic growth.  This means that, to date, first quarter GDP will be approximately 0.40% lower than otherwise estimated.

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