Who We Are

What We Do

We provide investment banking, research, sales and trading, asset and wealth management, public finance, insurance, private capital, and family office services.

About Us

We are a family-owned financial services firm that values client relationships, long-term stability, and supporting the communities where we live and work.

The Stephens Story

The idea of family defines our culture, because each of us knows that our reputation is on the line as if our own name was on the door.


Our reputation as a leading independent financial services firm is built on the stability of our longstanding and highly experienced senior executives.

Impact Initiatives

We are committed to corporate philanthropy; economic and financial literacy advocacy; and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Our Brand Ambassadors

Stephens is proud to sponsor the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, and PGA TOUR Champions careers, as well as applaud the philanthropic endeavors, of our Brand Ambassadors.

Making Connections

We host many highly informative meetings each year with clients, industry decision makers, and thought leaders across the U.S. and in Europe.

Market Trends

Weekly Economic Review | March 4, 2024

Mar 4, 2024

Economic Review

The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims increased last week. The gains are likely to continue given recent layoff announcements. First time claims in regular state programs rose 13,000 to 215,000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised 202,000 for the week ending February 24th. The four-week moving average fell to 212,500 from 215,500 the prior week. Continuing claims, which include people who have received unemployment benefits for a week or more, rose 45,000 to 1.905 million for the week ending February 17th. The insured unemployment rate, the number of people currently receiving unemployment insurance as a percentage of the labor force, climbed back to 1.3% from 1.2% the prior week.

The Commerce Department reported sales of new homes edged higher in January as buyers moved into the market on lower mortgage rates at the beginning of the year. However, the Federal Reserve has since convinced the market that it is in no rush to lower borrowing costs and mortgage rates have climbed again. New housing inventory increased in January to 456,000 units, the most in more than a year. New home sales climbed 1.5% to a 661,000 annualized pace in January after reporting a downwardly revised 651,000 pace the prior month. New home sales, which account for about 10% of the residential market, are accounted for when contracts are signed, which makes this data a more timely indicator than existing home transactions.

The Commerce Department reported durable goods orders, which are bookings for goods and materials meant to last at least three years, fell 6.1% in January after declining 0.3% the prior month. Boeing received only three orders in January, down from 371 orders in December. Excluding transportation, durable orders fell 0.3% in January after dropping 0.1% in December. The non-military capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a proxy for business investment, increased 0.1% in January after falling 0.6% in December. The ratio of inventory to shipments climbed to 1.89 in January from 1.87 the prior month.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported the house price index of purchase-only homes increased 0.1% in December after gaining 0.4% in November. The year-on-year change in the house price index was 6.6% in December. The HPI is estimated using repeated observations of housing values for single-family homes on which at least two mortgages were originated and subsequently sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. The use of repeat transactions on the same unit helps to control for differences in the quality of the houses.

The S&P CoreLogic CaseShiller home price index rose 0.212% in December after gaining 0.24% in November. This is the tenth straight increase in prices, reflecting continuing buyer demand amid a still tight supply of listings. The index increased 6.13% in December from the same month in 2022. The index tracks changes in the value of homes in 20 metropolitan regions.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index plunged in February based on a weaker assessment of the labor market and concerns about the pace of future interest rate cuts. The index recorded a 106.7 in February from a downwardly revised 110.9 reading in January, previously reported as 114.8. The present situation index decreased to 147.2 in February from 154.9 in January. The expectations index fell to 79.8 in February from 81.5 the prior month.

The second estimate by the Commerce Department of the 4th quarter gross domestic product showed the economy expanded at a slightly slower pace at the end of last year than first reported. A downward revision to inventories masked stronger household spending and investment. The fourth quarter gain caps a surprisingly strong year that defied recession calls. Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.2% annualized rate in the 4th quarter, down from the initial estimate of 3.3%. Personal consumption, which accounts for about 70% of the economy, increased at a strong 3.0% annualized pace, up from the 2.8% initial estimate. Excluding food and energy, the gauge which is closely watched by the Fed rose 2.1%, higher than the 2.0% initial report. The GDP price index gained 1.6% in the 4th quarter, suggesting inflation is dropping to acceptable levels.

The Commerce Department reported the goods trade deficit widened in January as imports climbed at a faster pace than exports. The deficit increased 2.6% to $90.2 billion in January. Exports climbed 0.2% to $170.4 billion and imports increased 1.1% to $260.6 billion.

The Commerce Department reported wholesale inventories decreased 0.1% in January after climbing 0.4% in December. Year-on-year wholesale inventories are down 2.3%. Retail inventories increased 0.5% in January after climbing 0.6% in December and are up 5.1% year-on-year.

The Commerce Department reported personal income jumped 1.0% in January after gaining 0.3% the prior month. Personal spending climbed a weak 0.2% after gaining 0.7% the prior month. Spending weakness caused the savings rate to climb to 3.8% in January from 3.7% the prior month, well below the average pre-pandemic saving rate of about 6.3%. The strong income can be explained by January cost-of-living adjustments and the cold weather slowed spending. Monthly PCE inflation rose 0.3% in January after climbing 0.1% in December and year-on-year PCE dropped to 2.4%. The core PCE Deflator, the preferred inflation gauge by the Federal Reserve, climbed 0.4% in January, bringing the year-on-year gain to 2.8%. Disposable income, or the money left over after taxes, increased 0.3% in January.

The National Association of Realtors reported the index of pending home re-sales declined in January by the most in five months as elevated mortgage rates and cold weather slowed housing demand. The number of contract signings decreased 4.9% in January after jumping 5.7% in December. Homebuyers are showing extra sensitivity to changes in mortgage rates in the current cycle. Pending home sales are based on houses under contract as reported by over 100 multiple listing services and 60 large real estate brokers. A sale is listed as pending when a seller accepts a sales contract on a property. Pending sales are a leading indicator in the housing sector as they reflect contracts signed, as opposed to actual closed and final sales.

The Commerce Department reported that construction spending decreased 0.2% in January. Spending on residential construction increased 0.2% while non-residential construction fell 0.4%. Government spending, which made up 22.8% of construction spending, decreased 0.9% and private spending gained 0.1%.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary index of consumer sentiment declined in February for the first time in three months as views about the economy deteriorated. The final sentiment index for the month dropped to 76.9 from 79.0 in January. The long-term inflation expectations remained unchanged at 2.9%. The one-year-ahead inflation expectations rose to 3.0% from 2.9% in January. The index of current conditions dropped to 79.4 from 81.9 the prior month while the index of expectations decreased to 75.2 from 77.1.

The Institute for Supply Management reported its manufacturing index shrank at a faster pace in February as orders, production and employment contracted. The manufacturing index recorded a 47.8 in February after a 49.1 reading in January. The new orders part of the index decreased to 49.2 in February from 52.5 in January and production fell to 48.4 in February from 50.4 the prior month. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the MBA index of mortgage applications decreased last week for the third straight week as mortgage rates held above 7.00%. The index fell 5.6% for the week ending February 23rd after falling 10.6% the prior week. Refinancing applications declined 7.3% to 395.9 from 427.0 the prior week. Home purchase mortgage applications declined 4.5% to 127.6. Refinancing made up 31.2% of applications with an average loan size of $249,200, while purchases average loan size was $430,000. The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged down to 7.04% from 7.06% the prior week.


Rates dropped last week on weak economic data and the yield curve flattened. Friday’s yields for the 2-, 5-, 10- & 30-year Treasury benchmarks securities closed at 4.53%, 4.16%, 4.18% and 4.33%. The 2yr/5yr, 5yr/10yr, 10yr/30yr and 2yr/30yr spreads closed at -37, 2, 15, and -20 basis points respectively.

Economic/Events Calendar


March 5

Jan Factory Orders (-3.0%)

9:00 Central

Jan Factory Orders Ex Transportation (-0.1%)

9:00 Central

Jan Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air (0.1%)

9:00 Central

Feb ISM Services Index (53.0)

9:00 Central


March 6

Mar 1st MBA Mortgage Applications

6:00 Central

Feb ADP Employment Change (150k)

7:15 Central

Jan JOLTS Job Openings (8,850k)

9:00 Central

Jan Wholesale Inventories (-0.1%)

9:00 Central

Jan Wholesale Trade Sales (0.2%)

9:00 Central

Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book

13:00 Central


March 7

Mar 2nd Initial Jobless Claims (217k)

7:30 Central

Jan Trade Balance (-$63.5b)

7:30 Central

4th Qtr Nonfarm Productivity (3.1%)

7:30 Central

4th Qtr Unit Labor Costs (0.7%)

7:30 Central

Jan Consumer Credit ($10.0b)

9:00 Central


March 8

Feb Change in Nonfarm Payrolls (200k)

7:30 Central

Feb Unemployment Rate (3.7%)

7:30 Central

Feb Average Hourly Earnings-YOY (4.3%)

7:30 Central

Feb Labor Force Participation Rate (62.6%)

7:30 Central

About the Expert

Troy Clark

Senior Vice President, Fixed Income Strategist, Fixed Income Sales & Trading

Mr. Clark has been in investment banking since 1983. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He has been a fixed income strategist at Stephens Inc. since 1996, developing investment strategies, policies and procedures for institutions consistent with overall asset/liability management.

Read full bio
Source: Bloomberg L.P.
  1. This report has been prepared solely for informative purposes as of its stated date and is not a solicitation, or an offer, to buy or sell any security. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the individual expressing the opinion and are subject to change. This report does not purport to be a complete description of the markets or developments referred to in the material. Information included in the report was obtained from internal and external sources which we consider reliable, but we have not independently verified such information and do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Prices, yields, and availability are subject to change with the market. There is no assurance any forward looking statements will be realized or any of the trends mentioned will continue. Nothing in this report is intended, or should be construed, as legal, accounting, regulatory or tax advice. Additional information available upon request. 2024 Stephens Inc., Member NYSE/SIPC.