Weekly Market Update


Thursday, March 29, 2018

The U.S. economy grew faster than anticipated in the final quarter of 2017, a report from the Commerce Department showed on Wednesday. U.S. Gross domestic product was revised up to a 2.9% annualized rate from 2.5%, prodded by additional consumer spending. Consumption, the largest contributor to economic growth, rose at a 4% rate, revised up from a previous estimate of 3.8%. The final quarter of 2017 marked the third quarter in a row with GDP near-or-exceeding 3%, the pace the Trump administration set as a target for the economy. Though the full impact of tax cuts and government spending remains unclear, many economists have said that continued 3% growth may be too optimistic. Focusing on the current quarter, several forecasters have downgraded their estimates through the months. Business investment remained solid in the fourth quarter, with investment in structures rising at a 6.3% annual rate.

In Other News

  • The University of Texas System released a database of its graduates' earnings, a first-of-its-kind tool using Census Bureau data that its officials say is designed both to help prospective students and to show the benefits of investing in higher education.
  • As a part of its new outsourcing strategy, Harvard Management Co. plans on investing $300 million in a credit fund started by three credit specialists formerly employed by Harvard Management.
  • An alliance between four of Europe's leading universities -- Sorbonne, Heidelberg, Charles, and Warsaw -- is the first in what many expect to become a series of cross-border deals in the university sector.
  • Cleveland State University ("CSU") announced a partnership with Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, seeking to broaden access to medical school by offering more campus options to students. This plan comes seven years after CSU started its partnership with Northeast Ohio Medical University.
  • Public flagship universities like the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor are increasing out-of-state and international students amongst incoming freshmen. Out-of-state students help universities by bringing diversity to campus and paying high out-of-state tuition. Drawbacks include being perceived as giving too many seats to outsiders and not fostering socioeconomic diversity on campus.

Rating Agency Update

  • Moody's downgraded Kansas State University's rating from Aa2 to Aa3. The outlook is stable.
  • Moody's affirmed James A. Rhodes State College's A3 rating. The outlook is stable.
  • Moody's assigned A2 to Thomas Jefferson University's Series 2018A, B & C Bonds. The outlook is revised from stable to negative.
  • Moody's assigned Aa2 to East Carolina University's Series A & B Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.
  • Moody's upgraded Loyola University of Chicago's rating from A2 to A1. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P assigned AA- to East Carolina University's Series 2018A General Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P affirmed Assumption College's A- rating. The outlook is revised from stable to negative.
  • S&P assigned AA- to University of Connecticut's Series 2018A General Obligation Bonds. The outlook is negative.
  • S&P affirmed Frostburg State University's BBB- rating. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P affirmed High Point University's A- rating. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P affirmed Georgetown University's A rating. The outlook is stable.