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Economic Data (USA)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

All 3 Major Indexes Declined As Investors Worried About Interest Rates

Falling crude oil prices (thanks in part to a strong crude inventories report) weren't enough to counter today's new jobless claims report from the Labor Department indicating that unemployment is low--great for the economy, but the scarcity of job seekers may cause The Fed to worry about wage inflation and raise interest rates beyond current predictions.

An estimated 1.57 billion shares were traded on The Big Board today.

The worst performing component in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) today was General Motors; shares of GM fell by $0.60 (2.83%) to close @ $20.59 in regular trading; the stock then lost an additional $0.09 in after-hours action this evening.

More negative news for Sherwin-Williams today: the cost of inspecting and cleaning up 246,000 Rhode Island homes may go as high as $4.5 billion.

Shares of Sherwin-Williams fell by $1.15 (2.66%) to close @ $42.05 in regular trading; the stock then recovered $0.20 in after-hours action this evening.

An internal investigation @ Fannie Mae found that former Fannie CFO Timothy Howard was largely responsible for the $11 billion in accounting blunders.

Shares of Fannie Mae gained $1.23 (2.2%) to close @ $57.14.

Shares of Google gained $12.58 (3.44%) to close @ $378.07 in regular trading; the stock then added an additional $0.18 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of International Business Machines (IBM) fell by $1.15 (1.41%) to close @ $80.20.

Shares of Safeway gained $1.10 to close @ $24.35; Safeway is the U.S. #3 grocery store chain.

The cost of steel is rising in Europe and China; the rising prices boosted the stock of American steelmakers today.

Shares of U.S. Steel gained $2.05 to close @ $57.84.

Shares of Nucor Corp. gained $0.94 to close @ $86.33.

Shares of Sunoco gained $1.21 (1.61%) to close @ $76.22.

Shares of luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers added $1.05 to close @ $33.54.

Shares of Express Scripts fell by $5.31 to close @ $88.60; Express Scripts is the U.S. #3 prescription benefits management company.

Today's Numbers:

DJIA: Closed Lower @ 11,069.22 (-67.95)

NASDAQ: Closed Lower @ 2,279.32 (-3.85)

S&P 500: Closed Lower @ 1,287.79 (-4.88)


NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $60.86/barrel

New York Spot Gold closed Lower @ $548.80/ounce

Currently, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.8404 Euros

Currently, The Euro buys 1.19 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (WSJ Prime Rate) is 7.5%

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