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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Consumer Sentiment for June, 2006

The Consumer Sentiment numbers for June, 2006 were released this morning:

Consensus: 82.5
Actual: 84.9

The Consumer Sentiment Index is compiled on a monthly basis by the University of Michigan; 500 U.S. households are queried about their own financial circumstances and about the economy in general. 200 questions are asked, e.g. "Do you think that right now is a good time to purchase a major household item, like a new microwave oven, TV set, or a new sofa?"

The Consumer Sentiment Index uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the Consumer Sentiment Index = 100. So any number that is below the 1966 baseline of 100 means that the folks who were polled recently aren't as optimistic about the U.S. economy as the sample that was polled back in 1966.

The Consumer Sentiment Index is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer insight into consumer spending.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.


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Personal Income & Consumer Spending for May, 2006

The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis this morning released their report on Consumer Spending and Personal Income for May, 2006:

Personal Consumption Expenditures
(a.k.a. Consumer Spending)

Consensus: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%

Personal Income
Consensus: +0.2%
Actual: +0.4%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in Consumer Spending and Personal Income for the entire United States. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).


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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Encouraging Comments from the Fed Helped the 3 Major Indices Enjoy Healthy Gains Today

The language in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement following today's interest rate hike helped all 3 major indexes advance today, as investors divined that today's rate increase may be the last for 2006. All 30 components in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) advanced today. 1,890,123,950 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Shares of DJIA component Caterpillar (CAT) gained $1.69 (+2.32%) to close @ $74.40.

Shares of DJIA component JP Morgan Chase (JPM) gained $1.41 (+3.42%) to close @ $42.68.

Shares of DJIA component Citigroup (C) gained $1.01 (+2.11%) to close @ $48.86.

Shares of DJIA component McDonald's (MCD) gained $1.59 (+4.97%) to close @ $33.56; the stock then lost $0.23 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of DJIA component Alcoa (AA) gained $1.35 (+4.42%) to close @ $31.90.

Shares of DJIA component American Express (AXP) gained $1.71 (+3.28%) to close @ $53.89.

Shares of DJIA component United Technologies (UTX) gained $1.96 (+3.20%) to close @ $63.29.

Shares of DJIA component 3M (MMM) gained $1.87 (+2.36%) to close @ $81.15; the stock then lost $0.35 in after-hours action this evening.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,190.80 (+217.24)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,174.38 (+62.54)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,272.87 (+26.87)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $73.52/barrel

NY Spot Gold gained $7.90 to close @ $586.10/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7872 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2704 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.25%


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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Final" Released Today for Q1, 2006

The final, real U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for the first-quarter of 2006 was released this morning:

Consensus: +5.6 %
Actual: +5.6 %

The above percentages represent the quarter-to-quarter change in the Gross Domestic Product for the United States. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure. The GDP report is produced by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Today's final GDP report contains the most authoritative data for Q1, 2006.

The GDP is a very broad measure of economic activity for the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy. The Commerce Department defines real GDP as, "the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States."

Here's a snippet from a press release (PDF) issued by the Commerce Department this morning:

"Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2006, according to final estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 1.7 percent.

The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the preliminary estimates issued last month. In the preliminary estimates, the increase in real GDP was 5.3 percent.

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, equipment and software, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The acceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter primarily reflected an upturn in PCE for durable goods, an acceleration in exports, an upturn in federal government spending, and an acceleration in equipment and software that were partly offset by a downturn in private inventory investment."


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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of June 24, 2006

The U.S. Department of Labor this morning released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on June 24, 2006:

Consensus: 310,000
Actual: 313,000

The above figures represent the number of new claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.


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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

All 3 Majors Advanced Today

All 3 major indexes advanced today as investors divined that two more quarter-point interest rate hikes by the Fed probably won't hinder corporate profits. 1,490,641,540 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Rising crude oil prices benefited a number of energy stocks today.

Shares of Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) component and global #1 oil company Exxon Mobil (XOM) gained $1.47 (+2.46%) to close @ $61.12.

Shares of U.S. #2 oil concern Chevron (CVX) gained $1.26 to close @ $61.36.

The J. Crew initial public offering happened yesterday. 18.8 million shares were sold @ $20 a piece; the company was expecting to sell shares in the $15 to $17 range. The J. Crew IPO ended up raising $376 million.
Shares of J. Crew (JCG) gained $5.55 to close @ $25.55 today, in the stock's first day of trading.

Shares of FedEx (FDX) fell by $1.04 (-0.91%) to close @ $112.97 on news that the United States Postal Service has struck a deal with UPS whereby UPS will carry U.S. mail on their planes. The deal could give UPS a revenue boost of up to $100 million a year.

Shares of United Parcel Service (UPS) added $0.70 to close @ $81.20.


Shares of Rambus (RMBS) fell by $2.58 to $20.55.


Shares of Nike (NKE) fell by $3.91 to close @ $79.72 on news of a decline in profits and an unfavorable profit forecast for the current quarter.


Shares of Wells Fargo (WFC) gained $1.11 to close @ $66.25.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 10,973.56 (+48.82)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,111.84 (+11.59)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,246.00 (+6.80)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $72.59/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $3.50 to close @ $578.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7974 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.254 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of June 23, 2006

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on June 23, 2006 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -3,400,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +15,200,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 343,700,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.


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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

All 3 Majors Declined Today on Higher Crude Prices and Bearishness Related to Interest Rates

The 3 major indices lost ground today as crude for future delivery got more expensive and the pall of bearishness related to impending interest rate hikes continued to affect the New York markets. 1,557,590,050 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Shares of Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) component General Motors (GM) fell by $1.85 to close @ $25.90. The company announced that sales for this month (June) will be low in comparison to sales from June, 2005, when many buyers took advantage of GM's "employee discount" promotion.

Shares of DJIA component Dupont (DD) fell by $1.16 to close @ $40.48. Vivendi sold 16.4 million shares of Dupont today.


Univision Communications has been sold to a group of investors who've agreed to pay a 13% premium above yesterday's closing stock price. Univision is the U.S. #1 Spanish-language broadcasting network.

Shares of Univision Communications (UVN) gained $1.97 to close @ $34.00.


Shares of U.S. #2 newspaper publisher Tribune (TRB) gained $1.57 to close @ $32.47 on news that the company is buying back 45 million shares.


Shares of global #1 Internet auctioneer eBay (EBAY) fell by $1.47 to close @ $28.25 on news that Google's GBuy service may be rolled out sooner than many expected. Google's GBuy service will compete directly with eBay's PayPal online payment system.

Shares of Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) fell by $7.76 to close @ $44.14 on news that the company is purchasing a division of Intel that makes computer chips for popular handheld devices in a deal that's worth about $600 million.


Citizens Banking Corporation is paying $1.05 billion to purchase Republic Bancorp. The combined bank will be a major financial player in the Midwest.

Shares of Republic Bancorp (RBNC) gained $1.88 to close @ $12.45.

Shares of Citizens Banking (CBCF) fell by $2.37 to close @ $24.66.


Shares of Genentech (DNA) lost $1.22 to close @ $77.89 on news that the company won't pursue the development of its Avastin® drug as a treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer. Avastin, when combined with a specific type of chemotherapy, is an FDA approved treatment for colorectal cancer.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 10,924.74 (-120.54)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,100.25 (-33.42)

S + P 500: Closed @ 1,239.20 (-11.36)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $72.30/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $3.10 to close @ $581.70/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7974 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2542 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Existing Home Sales for May, 2006

The Existing Home Sales report for May, 2006 was released by The National Association of Realtors this morning:

Consensus: 6,650,000
Actual: 6,670,000

The U.S. Existing Home Sales report is a sales count of existing homes, co-ops and condominiums for a given month. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.


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Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) Report for June, 2006

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for this month (June, 2006) was released by The Conference Board this morning:

Consensus: 104.0
Actual: 105.7

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Every month, The Conference Board sends a questionnaire to 5,000 U.S. households. Survey participants are polled about their feeling regarding the current U.S. economy, the future of the U.S. economy, and about their own fiscal circumstances. On average, 3,500 participants complete and return the 5-question survey.

The baseline "100" score for the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is pegged to 1985 survey data.

When consumers feel good about the economy, they tend to do more spending, and vice versa.

Based in New York City, The Conference Board is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to, "create and disseminate knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society."

The CCI numbers are always released on the last Tuesday of the month.

Last month, the CCI was 103.2.

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Redbook Numbers for The Week of June 24, 2006

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on June 24, 2006 were released this morning:

Actual: +3.4%

The Redbook measures the weekly sales at chain stores, discount stores, and department stores--about 9,000 stores in total--and is therefore an important gauge of current consumer spending in the U.S. The above figure represents the year-to-year change in the Redbook sales figures, so sales are up by 3.4% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in June of 2005.

The weekly Johnson Redbook Index report is produced by Redbook Research.


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Monday, June 26, 2006

Mergers and Acquisitions Helped All 3 Major Indices to Advance Today

News of various mergers and acquisitions helped the 3 major indexes to gain ground today, despite an increased likelihood that the Fed will raise the benchmark Fed Funds Rate to 5.50% before pausing. 1,341,831,460 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Shares of Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) component General Motors (GM) gained $0.78 (+2.89%) to close @ $27.75; the stock then gained an additional $0.34 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of DJIA component Altria (MO) gained $0.91 (+1.28%) to close @ $72.16 on news that Irene Rosenfeld will take over as CEO of Altria's Kraft Foods unit. Kraft, the global #2 food seller, is currently restructuring, and will break away from parent Altria in the near future.


Shares of NYSE Group (NYX) gained $2.90 (+4.72%) to close @ $64.35; the stock then gained an additional $0.12 in after-hours action this evening. NYSE Group CEO John Thain told a French newspaper that resources are available if the company needs to raise it's bid for Euronext; Deutsche Boerse hasn't thrown in the towel in the fight for Euronext. The NYSE Group owns The New York Stock Exchange®.


Global #3 copper producer Phelps Dodge is buying Inco and Falconbridge.

Shares of Inco (N) gained $5.95 (+10.21%) to close @ $64.21.

Shares of Falconbridge (FAL) gained $2.50 to close @ $51.80.

Shares of Phelps Dodge (PD) fell by $6.72 (-8.10%) to close @ $76.23; the stock then lost an additional $0.23 in after-hours action this evening.


Johnson & Johnson is purchasing Pfizer's health products division which includes brands like Visine®, Rolaids®, Listerine® and Sudafed®.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) fell by $1.11 (-1.81%) to close @ $60.21.


Shares of Lowe's (LOW) gained $1.15 (+1.89%) to close @ $62.01.


Shares of Lennar (LEN) gained $1.14 to close @ $45.68.


Shares of Somera Communications (SMRA) gained $2.16 (+104.85%) to close @ $4.22.


Shares of Enzo Biochem (ENZ) gained $1.54 (+11.85%) to close @ $14.54.

Shares of Bradley Pharmaceuticals (BDY) fell by $1.03 (-8.59%) to close @ $10.96.

Shares of Biomet (BMET) fell by $1.80 to close @ $33.18.


Shares of Boston Scientific (BSX) fell by $1.20 to close @ $17.06 on news that a faulty part may cause defibrillators and pacemakers to fail without warning.


Shares of Excel Maritime Carriers (EXM) gained $1.08 (+12.00%) to close @ $10.08.


Shares of Sunoco (SUN) gained $1.27 (+2.03%) to close @ $63.94.


Shares of Leading Brands Inc. (LBIX) gained $1.12 (+33.43%) to close @ $4.47; the stock then gained an additional $0.21 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Prestige Brands Holdings (PBH) fell by $1.57 (-15.51%) to close @ $8.55; the stock then recovered $0.10 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Anadys Pharmaceuticals (ANDS) fell by $3.00 (-44.84%) to close @ $3.69.


Shares of ACS Motion Control Ltd (ACSEF) fell by $2.89 (-40.19%) fell by $4.30; the stock then lost an additional $0.30 in after-hours action this evening. The company very recently announced the loss of a major customer.

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,045.28 (+56.19)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,133.67 (+12.20)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,250.56 (+6.06)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $71.99/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $0.20 to close @ $584.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7929 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2612 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate is 8.00%


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New Home Sales for May, 2006

The May, 2006 New Home Sales report was released this morning:

Consensus: 1,145,000
Actual: 1,234,000

Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the monthly New Home Sales report measures the number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for a given month. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

The New Home Sales report is watched by economists and investors because it offers insight into the state of the U.S. housing market, and also provides data that can be used to predict sales of large household furniture and appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners and cooking ranges.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).


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Friday, June 23, 2006

All 3 Majors Lost Ground with Dow Closing Below 11K

The 3 major indices lost ground today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closing below 11,000.1,409,394,340 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

For the week, the DJIA fell by 0.2%, the NASDAQ Composite Index fell by 0.4%, and the S&P 500 Index fell by 0.6%.


Anadarko Petroleum is purchasing both Western Gas Resources and Kerr-McGee in two separate deals, which combined are worth about $21 billion. After all is said and done, Anadarko will be the U.S. #1 independent oil and gas producer.

Shares of Anadarko Petroleum (APC) fell by $3.49 (-7.21%) to close @ $44.90.

Shares of Western Gas Resources (WGR) gained $18.76 (+45.86%) to close @ $59.67.

Shares of Kerr-McGee (KMG) gained $18.31 (+36.40%) to close @ $68.61.


Shares of Qualcomm (QCOM) fell by $1.88 (-4.54%) to close @ $39.50; the stock then recovered $0.17 in after-hours action this evening. Qualcomm is the global #2 manufacturer of computer chips for cellular phones.


Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) gained $1.45 (+2.39%) to close @ $62.12.

Shares of Apache Corp. (APA) gained $2.16 (+3.55%) to close @ $62.96.


Shares of Comerica (CMA) fell by $2.14 (-4.05%) to close @ $50.70.


Shares of Google (GOOG) gained $4.91 (+1.23%) to close @ $404.86; the stock then gained an additional $0.39 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Six Flags (SIX) fell by $1.90 (-25.50%) to close @ $5.55 on news of lackluster attendance and the possibility that the company may sell 6 theme parks.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 10,989.09 (-30.02)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,121.47 (-1.51)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,244.50 (-1.10)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $70.78/barrel

NY Spot Gold gained $2.70 to close @ $585.00/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7992 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2512 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (WSJ Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Durable Goods Orders Report for May, 2006 Released Today

The Durable Goods Orders report for May, 2006 was released this morning:

Consensus: +0.4%
Actual: -0.3%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in orders for durable or hard goods for immediate or future delivery from U.S. manufacturers. Examples of durable goods: cars, washing machines, computers--items that are built to last 3+ years.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure. The U.S. Durable Goods Orders report is produced by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).


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Thursday, June 22, 2006

The 3 Major Indices Declined On Bearishness Related to A Slowing Economy

The 3 major indexes declined today as looming interest rate hikes and a slowing U.S. economy caused some bearishness in the New York markets. 1,463,147,510 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Shares of DJIA component General Motors (GM) gained $1.07 (+4.08%) to close @ $27.27.

Shares of Paccar (PCAR) fell by $1.26 to close @ $78.24.

Shares of Eaton (ETN) fell by $1.16 to close @ $72.89.


Shares of DJIA component Boeing (BA) fell by $1.79 (-2.09%) to close @ $84.06; the stock then recovered $0.44 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) fell by$2.21 to close @ $34.71. Bed Bath & Beyond is the U.S. #1 home furnishings chain.


Shares of Qualcomm (QCOM) fell by $2.82 to close @ $41.38. Qualcomm is the global #2 manufacturer of computer chips for cellular phones.


Shares of Univision Communications (UVN) fell by $1.04 to close @ $32.80.


Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) gained $1.27 (+2.14%) to close @ $60.67; the stock then gained an additional $0.18 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Apple Computer (AAPL) gained $1.72 (+2.97%) to close @ $59.58; the stock then gained an additional $0.24 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of NYSE Group (NYX) gained $1.00 (+1.68%) to close @ $60.70.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,019.11 (-60.35)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,122.98 (-18.22)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,245.60 (-6.60)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $70.66/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $5.50 to close @ $582.30/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7972 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2544 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Leading Economic Indicators for May, 2006

The Conference Board report on the nation's Leading Economic Indicators for May, 2006 was released this morning:

Consensus: -0.5 %
Actual: -0.6%

The above numbers represent the month-to-month change for the nation's leading economic indicators. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

The Leading Economic Indicators Index is a composite of 10 of the nation's economic data releases that's put together by The Conference Board. Statistically, the components listed below have shown a significant increase or decrease before national economic upturns or downturns, respectively:

  1. The Money Supply (M2)
  2. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
  3. The interest rate spread between 10-year Treasury Bonds and Fed Funds Target Rate

  4. Manufacturer's new orders for consumer goods or materials
  5. Manufacturer's new orders for non-defense capital goods
  6. Average weekly claims for unemployment insurance
  7. Average weekly manufacturing hours
  8. The Index of Consumer Expectations
  9. Vendor performance
  10. Building permits for new private housing


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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of June 17, 2006

The U.S. Department of Labor this morning released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on June 17, 2006:

Consensus: 305,000
Actual: 308,000

The above figures represent the number of new claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.


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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

All 3 Majors Advanced; The Dow Retakes 11K

The 3 major indexes advanced today; the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) returned to 11K territory. 1,658,490,630 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Shares of DJIA component Caterpillar (CAT) gained $1.48 (+2.08%) to close @ $72.47.

Shares of DJIA component Dupont (DD) gained $1.70 (+4.22%) to close @ $41.94.


Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) gained $2.46 (+4.31%) to close @ $59.48 on news of a record $1.96 billion in earnings for Q2, 2006.

Shares of Darden Restaurants (DRI) gained $1.74 (+4.89%) to close @ $37.30 on news of strong earnings. Darden is the parent company of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurant chains.


Shares of Google (GOOG) gained $14.96 (+3.86%) to close @ $402.13; the stock then gained an additional $0.74 in after-hours action this evening. Adobe has agreed to distribution deal that will place the Google Toolbar in various Adobe products, like the Macromedia Shockwave Player.


Shares of FedEx (FDX) gained $5.54 (+5.11%) to close @ $113.86 on news of strong profits.


Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) gained $1.81 (+3.14%) to close @ $59.40; the stock then gained an additional $0.59 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Apache Corp. (APA) gained $1.67 (+2.83%) to close @ $60.66.

Shares of Sunoco (SUN) gained $1.83 (+3.02%) to close @ $62.43.

Shares of ConocoPhillips (COP) gained $1.05 (+1.79%) to close @ $59.85; the stock then gained an additional $0.22 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Global Crossing (GLBC) gained $1.11 (+6.11%) to close @ $19.29 on news of encouraging comments from the folks at Goldman Sachs.


Shares of Univision Communications (UVN) fell by $1.56 (-4.41%) to close @ $33.84.


Shares of Lindsay Manufacturing (LNN) gained $3.33 (+15.35%) to close @ $25.03.


Shares of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) gained $4.10 (+8.26%) to close @ $53.71.


Shares of Lifetime Fitness (LTM) gained $3.64 (+8.85%) to close @ $44.75.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,079.46 (+104.62)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,141.20 (+34.14)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,252.20 (+12.08)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $70.92/barrel

NY Spot Gold gained $10.00 to close @ $587.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7945 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2586 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of June 16, 2006

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on June 16, 2006 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,400,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +19,700,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 347,100,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.


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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Dow the Only Gainer Today As Investors Reacted to the Government Report on Housing Starts

Of the 3 major indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was the only gainer today, as investors divined that higher-than-expected housing starts last month may lead to the Fed raising the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate beyond 5.25% later this year. 1,495,421,150 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Shares of DJIA component Caterpillar (CAT) gained $1.04 (+1.49%) to close @ $70.99.


Shares of Kroger (KR) gained $1.01 (+5.19%) to close @ $20.47.


Shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) gained $1.51 (+1.05%) to close @ $145.26; the stock then gained an additional $0.34 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Apollo Group (APOL) fell by $2.91 (-5.31%) to close @ $51.91; the stock then recovered $0.34 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of CFC International (CFCI) gained $5.11 (+45.22%) to close @ $16.41.


Shares of Voxware (VOXW) gained $2.11 (+41.57%) to close @ $7.20.


Shares of Enersys (ENS) gained $1.45 (+8.23%) to close @ $19.06.


Shares of Actuant (ATU) fell by $10.12 (-17.85%) to close @ $46.58; the stock then lost an additional $0.48 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Praecis Pharmaceuticals (PRCS) fell by $1.72 (-33.40%) to close @ $3.43.


Shares of Golf Galaxy (GGXY) fell by $2.51 (-16.80%) to close @ $12.43.


Shares of Commercial Metals (CMC) fell by $1.43 (-6.42%) to close @ $20.84.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 10,974.84 (+32.73)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,107.06 (-3.36)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,240.12 (-0.02)

----------------------------------------------------------

NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $69.48/barrel

NY Spot Gold gained $8.00 to close @ $577.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7922 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2623 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Housing Starts in May, 2006

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released the Housing Starts report for May, 2006:

Housing Starts:
Consensus: 1,870,000
Actual: 1,957,000

Building Permits:
Actual: 1,932,000

The above is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in The United States for last month. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual figure.

If you're wondering about the demand for new homes in the United States, or about the American construction industry in general, then you should pay attention to the monthly Housing Starts report. The monthly Housing Starts report also offers insight into specific types of consumer spending: when housing starts are up, demand for the stuff that a consumer would purchase for a new home (large appliances, consumer electronics, furniture, etc.) tends to also rise--and vice versa.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).


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Redbook Numbers for The Week of June 17, 2006

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on June 17, 2006 were released this morning:

Actual: +3.3%

The Redbook measures the weekly sales at chain stores, discount stores, and department stores--about 9,000 stores in total--and is therefore an important gauge of current consumer spending in the U.S. The above figure represents the year-to-year change in the Redbook sales figures, so sales are up by 3.3% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in June of 2005.

The weekly Johnson Redbook Index report is produced by Redbook Research.


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The Cost of Doing Business Is Rising, and Small Business Owners Are Feeling The Pinch

What are Americans worried about these days? The war in Iraq? Of course.

But the 1-2 punch of rising inflation coupled with a slowing U.S. economy has many Americans whispering about stagflation, and small business owners are becoming pessimistic about the economic outlook for the second half of 2006; the prospect of further interest rate increases by the Fed is exacerbating the concerns of many business owners.

For more insight, here's a clip from yesterday's press release:

"Small business confidence appears to be waning because of inflation fears, according to a survey by SurePayroll, the nation’s largest online payroll service provider for small businesses.

Small Business Owner Optimism Plummets

From May to June, small business confidence, based on the number of small business owners describing themselves as optimistic about the economy, dropped a surprising 24%.

'We’ve seen slow hiring and rising salary costs in recent months, leading indicators of an inflationary environment,' says Michael Alter, president of SurePayroll. 'But we had no idea how radical the effect would be on the spirit of the small business owners. Many have quickly gone from the height of optimism to believing the bottom’s falling out — and that’s scary.'

Based on the June survey, 59% of respondents indicated they are optimistic about the economy, whereas the balance of respondents (41%) declared that they are pessimistic about the economy.

That’s a significant drop in optimism relative to SurePayroll’s May survey, in which 78% responded that they felt optimistic about the small business economy, with the remainder, 22%, indicating that they were pessimistic.

Inflation Fears Rising

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of surveyed small business owners believe inflation will have a negative impact on their business in 2006.

Many of the comments received during the survey process suggest that the fear of inflation may be dampening optimism even more than actual inflation:

  • One coffee shop owner noted that 'the less disposable cash that our customers feel they have, due to rising interest rates and higher mortgage rates, the less they spend on entertainment-coffee.'
  • A musical products e-retailer commented that 'I am somewhat concerned that increased shipping costs will decrease what customers have to spend on our products and increase our costs to obtain them.'

Other small business owners are clearly suffering from the effects of actual inflation, not just the prospect of future inflations:

  • A provider of driver education courses was quite blunt on the topic: 'Fuel costs are killing me.'
  • 'It's not good right now. I'm hoping it will get better soon so I'm not out of business.'

The majority of surveyed small businesses (53%) have seen their costs of doing business rise over the last several months.

Despite rising costs, many have been hesitant to pass along cost increases to their customers. Of those businesses that have incurred increasing supply costs, the vast majority (79%) have not raised their prices to pass along their increasing expenses to their customers.

However, 35% of those respondents are contemplating raising their prices in the future. In contrast, only 9% of those who have not experienced supply cost increases are contemplating raising prices.

No Cure, Thank You Very Much

The de facto cure for inflation is raising interest rates, which can have a cooling effect on the economy. However, despite their concerns about inflation, 78% of respondents believe the Fed should not raise interests in late June.

One survey respondent noted that 'While I am concerned about inflation, I am more concerned that climbing interest rates will make it more difficult to secure affordable loans.'

About SurePayroll’s Economic Commentary

Every month, SurePayroll publishes its small business economic indicators via the SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard. Based on employee and contractor paychecks for over 16,000 small businesses, SurePayroll’s indices give insights on small business hiring, salary levels and reliance on contractors. SurePayroll regularly augments its data indices with surveys on a variety of topics of interest to small business owners."


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Monday, June 19, 2006

All 3 Major Indices Declined with The Dow Retreating Below the 11K Mark

Thanks in no small part to a slowing economy, coupled with inflation worries (stagflation?), the 3 major indexes declined today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closing below the 11K mark. 1,514,460,810 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Shares of DJIA component Alcoa (AA) fell by $0.99 (-3.29%) to close @ $29.10.


Shares of DJIA component 3M (MMM) fell by $1.08 (-1.34%) to close @ $79.43.


Shares of Vonage Holdings (VG) fell by $1.12 (11.67%) to close @ $8.48 on news that Verizon is suing the company over several instances of patent infringement related to voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) technology.


Shares of Symmetry Medical (SMA) fell by $3.36 (-17.84%) to close @ $15.47.


Shares of Google (GOOG) fell by $2.56 (-0.66%) to close @ $388.14; the stock then lost an additional $0.41 in after-hours action this evening.


Reduced tensions about Iran's nuclear program caused crude oil for future delivery to get cheaper today; many energy-related stocks declined as a result.

Shares of DJIA component Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell by $1.41 (-2.40%) to close @ $57.39.

Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) fell by $2.65 (-4.42%) to close @ $57.35.

Shares of Sunoco (SUN) fell by $3.14 (-4.91%) to close @ $60.86.

Shares of Chevron (CVX) fell by $1.20 (-2.04%) to close @ $57.51.

Shares of ConocoPhillips (COP) fell by $1.97 (-3.22%) to close @ $59.20.


Shares of Lehman Brothers (LEH) fell by $1.17 (-1.85%) to close @ $62.18; the stock then lost an additional $0.40 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of U.S. Steel (X) fell by $1.74 (-2.76%) to close @ $61.20; the stock then recovered $0.27 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) fell by $1.33 to close @ $46.97.

Shares of Phelps Dodge (PD) fell by $3.03 to close @ $77.07.


Shares of homebuilder Lennar (LEN) fell by $1.01 (-2.25%) to close @ $43.88.


Summary of The U.S. Markets
:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 10,942.11 (-72.44)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,110.42 (-19.53)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,240.14 (-11.40)

----------------------------------------------------------

NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $68.88/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $9.20 to close @ $569.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7954 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2572 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Friday, June 16, 2006

The 3 Majors Lost Some Ground Today; The Dow Advanced for The Week

All 3 major indices lost some ground today; 2,007,852,720 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 1.1%, the NASDAQ Composite Index fell by 0.2%, and the S&P 500 Index fell by 0.1%.


Shares of DJIA component Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) gained $1.16 (+3.64%) to close @ $33.04.


Shares of White Mountains Insurance Group (WTM) fell by $27.50 (-5.32%) to close @ $489.00 on news that subsidiary Folksamerica Reinsurance Company has boosted gross loss estimates for 2005 hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma by about $203 million.


Summary of The U.S. Markets
:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 11,014.55 (-0.64)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,129.95 (-14.20)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,251.54 (-4.62)

----------------------------------------------------------

NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $69.97/barrel

NY Spot Gold gained $11.60 to close @ $578.40/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.791 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2643 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Consumer Sentiment for June, 2006

The Consumer Sentiment numbers for June, 2006 were released this morning:

Consensus: 79.6
Actual: 82.4

The Consumer Sentiment Index is compiled on a monthly basis by the University of Michigan; 500 U.S. households are queried about their own financial circumstances and about the economy in general. 200 questions are asked, e.g. "Do you think that right now is a good time to purchase a major household item, like a new microwave oven, TV set, or a new sofa?"

The Consumer Sentiment Index uses a 1966 baseline, i.e. for 1966, the Consumer Sentiment Index = 100. So any number that is below the 1966 baseline of 100 means that the folks who were polled recently aren't as optimistic about the U.S. economy as the sample that was polled back in 1966.

The Consumer Sentiment Index is similar to the Consumer Confidence Index in that they both measure consumer attitudes and offer insight into consumer spending.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.


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Thursday, June 15, 2006

All 3 Majors Gained Today with The DJIA Retaking 11K Territory

All 3 major indexes gained ground today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gaining nearly 200 points and closing above the 11K mark. 1,970,612,340 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Shares of DJIA component Boeing (BA) gained $2.80 (+3.41) to close @ $84.81.

Shares of DJIA component Caterpillar (CAT) gained $3.37 (+4.99%) to close @ $70.85; the stock then gained an additional $0.74 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of NYSE Group (NYX) gained $3.61 (+7.09%) to close @ $54.50. The NYSE Group owns The New York Stock Exchange®.


Shares of Bear Stearns (BSC) gained $7.36 (+5.93%) to close @ $131.56; the stock then gained an additional $0.24 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Goldman Sachs Group (GS) gained $5.62 (+4.06%) to close @ $144.12; the stock then gained an additional $0.76 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Lehman Brothers (LEH) gained $2.81 (+4.61%) to $63.72.

Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) gained $1.74 (+3.13%) to close @ $57.33.


Crude oil prices continued on an upward trend today.

Shares of DJIA component Exxon Mobil (XOM) gained $1.32 (+2.28%) to close @ $59.12.

Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) gained $2.81 (+4.90%) to close @ $60.21; the stock then gained an additional $0.29 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Sunoco (SUN) gained $0.99 (+1.56%) to close @ $64.63; the stock then gained an additional $0.22 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of ConocoPhillips (COP) gained $2.29 (+3.85%) to close @ $61.75; the stock then gained an additional $0.25 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Chevron (CVX) gained $1.60 (+2.77%) to close @ $59.43.


Shares of BHP Billiton (BHP) gained $2.59 (+6.85%) to close @ $40.42; the stock then gained an additional $0.33 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Google (GOOG) gained $6.61 (+1.72%) to close @ $391.00.


Summary of The U.S. Markets
:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 11,015.19 (+198.27)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,144.15 (+58.15)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,256.16 (+26.12)

----------------------------------------------------------

NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $70.05/barrel

NY Spot Gold gained $4.60 to close @ $566.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7902 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2656 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of June 10, 2006

The U.S. Department of Labor this morning released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on June 10, 2006:

Consensus: 320,000
Actual: 295,000

The above figures represent the number of new claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

All 3 Majors Advanced Today with Boeing Gaining Over 6%

The 3 major indices advanced today despite worries about inflation and future interest rate increases by the Fed. 1,970,612,340 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Shares of Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) component Boeing (BA) gained $5.03 (+6.53) to close @ $82.01; the stock then gained an additional $0.64 in after-hours action this evening. Singapore Airlines will purchase twenty 787-9 Dreamliner jets from Boeing, a deal that's worth over $4.5 billion. News that wiring problems have resulted in a 6 month delay in delivery of the Airbus A380 Superjumbo also contributed to Boeing's advance today.

Shares of DJIA component Caterpillar (CAT) gained $1.15 (+1.73%) to close @ $67.48.


Shares of Wachovia (WAC) fell by $1.01 to close @ $52.03.


Shares of Exelon (EXC) fell by $1.07 to close @ $57.24.


Crude oil prices surged upwards today, which benefited many energy-related stocks.

Shares of DJIA component Exxon Mobil (XOM) gained $1.15 (+2.03%) to close @ $57.80.

Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) gained $1.65 (+2.96%) to close @ $57.40.

Shares of Sunoco (SUN) gained $1.20 (+1.92%) to close @ $63.64.

Shares of ConocoPhillips (COP) gained $1.55 (+2.68%) to close @ $59.46; the stock then gained an additional $0.43 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Chevron (CVX) gained $1.05 (+1.85%) to close @ $57.83.


Summary of The U.S. Markets
:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 10,816.92 (+110.78)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,086.00 (+13.53)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,230.04 (+6.35)

----------------------------------------------------------

NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $69.60/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $0.50 to close @ $562.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7929 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2612 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May, 2006

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers for May, 2006 were released by The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Consensus: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%

Here are the numbers when food and energy are subtracted from the equation:

Consensus: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

The above numbers represent the month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and services that consumers buy, and is, therefore, a very important part of the overall inflation picture for the country.

General categories are:

  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Food & Beverages
  • Recreation
  • Miscellaneous Goods & Services (grooming expenses, etc.)

Click here to view the full Labor Department report
.


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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of June 9, 2006

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on June 9, 2006 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -900,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +16,700,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 345,700,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.


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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

All 3 Majors Declined Again Today, On Falling Commodities and Inflation Fears

All 3 major indexes declined again today on continued worries about inflation and interest rates; falling commodities prices contributed to the day's bearishness: crude for future delivery fell below the $69 mark and New York Spot Gold got $44.10 cheaper. 2,305,032,460 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Many energy-related stocks lost ground as crude got cheaper.

Shares of Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) component Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell by $1.59 (-2.73%) to close @ $56.84.

Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) fell by $1.73 (-3.01%) to close @ $55.75.

Shares of Sunoco (SUN) fell by $1.20 (-1.89%) to close @ $62.44.

Shares of ConocoPhillips (COP) fell by $1.72 (-2.88%) to close @ $57.91.


Shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) fell by $2.96 (-6.34%) to $43.75.


Shares of Google (GOOG) gained $4.985 (+1.31%) to close @ $386.525; the stock then lost $1.125 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Apple Computer (AAPL) gained $1.33 (+2.33%) to close @ $58.33; the stock then gained an additional $0.36 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Jabil Circuit (JBL) fell by $7.11 (21.93%) to close @ $25.31.


Shares of Goldman Sachs Group (GS) fell by $5.75 (-3.97%) to close @ $139.25.

Shares of Lehman Brothers (LEH) fell by $2.59 (-4.18%) to $59.42; the stock then lost an additional $0.66 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Merrill Lynch (MER) fell by $2.96 (-4.31%) to close @ $65.66.


Shares of Monster Worldwide (MNST) fell by $3.02 (-7.82%) to close $35.58; the stock then lost an additional $0.48 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Best Buy (BBY) gained $2.66 (+5.43%) to close @ $51.69; the stock then gained an additional $0.26 in after-hours action this evening.


Summary of The U.S. Markets
:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 10,706.14 (-86.44)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,072.47 (-18.85)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,223.69 (-12.71)

----------------------------------------------------------

NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $68.29/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $44.10 to close @ $562.70/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7969 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2548 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Producer Price Index (PPI) for May, 2006

The Producer Price Index (PPI) numbers for May, 2006 were released this morning:

Consensus: +0.5%
Actual: +0.2%

Here are the numbers when food and energy are subtracted from the equation:

Consensus: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%


The above numbers represent the month-to-month change in prices for a specific group of goods and capital equipment that producers buy in order to produce finished goods for consumers. The PPI is an important part of the overall inflation picture for the country because when costs go up for producers, producers will often pass those increased costs on to consumers.

The PPI is released by The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

The PPI is a family or amalgamation of indexes, including The:

  • All Commodities Index
  • Crude Energy Materials Index
  • Crude Foodstuffs & Feedstuffs Index
  • Crude Materials for Further Processing Index
  • Finished Goods Index
  • Finished Consumer Foods Index
  • Finished Consumer Goods Index
  • Finished Consumer Goods Excluding Foods Index
  • Finished Energy Goods Index
  • Finished Goods: Capital Equipment Index
  • Finished Goods Excluding Foods Index
  • Finished Goods Less Energy Index
  • Finished Goods Less Food & Energy Index
  • Fuels & Related Products & Power Index
  • Industrial Commodities Index
  • Intermediate Energy Goods Index
  • Intermediate Foods & Feeds Index
  • Intermediate Materials: Supplies & Components Index

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.


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U.S. Retail & Food Services Sales Report for May, 2006

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for May, 2006:

Consensus: +0.0%
Actual: +0.1%

Minus Auto Sales
Consensus: +0.5%
Actual : +0.5%


The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in total sales receipts for retailers that sell both durable and non-durable goods.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Here's a snippet from today's Commerce Department report:

"The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $364.2 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent (±0.7%)* from the previous month and up 7.6 percent (±0.8%) from May 2005. Total sales for the March through May 2006 period were up 7.6 percent (±0.3%) from the same period a year ago. The March to April 2006 percent change was revised from +0.5 percent (±0.7%)* to +0.8 percent (±0.3%).

Retail trade sales were up 0.1 percent (±0.7%)* from April and were 7.5 percent (±0.8%) above last year. Gasoline stations were up 21.9 percent (±2.1%) from May 2005 and sales of nonstore retailers were up 14.1 percent (±4.5%) from last year."
Click here to view the full report.


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Redbook Numbers for The Week of June 10, 2006

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on June 10, 2006 were released this morning:

Actual: +3.0%

The Redbook measures the weekly sales at chain stores, discount stores, and department stores--about 9,000 stores in total--and is therefore an important gauge of current consumer spending in the U.S. The above figure represents the year-to-year change in the Redbook sales figures, so sales are up by 3.0% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in June of 2005.

The weekly Johnson Redbook Index report is produced by Redbook Research.


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Monday, June 12, 2006

All 3 Majors Declined On Continued Concern About Inflation and Interest Rates

The 3 majors indices declined today on continued concern about inflation and the potential for more interest rate hikes by the Fed. Earlier today, Sandra Pianalto, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and voting member of the interest-rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, became one of many central bankers who recently have expressed concerns about inflation. 1,617,401,100 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Shares of Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) component Caterpillar (CAT) fell by $1.20 (-1.78%) to close @ $66.32.


Shares of DJIA component Boeing (BA) fell by $2.62 (-3.25%) to close @ $77.88.


Shares of Comverse Technology (CMVT) fell by $3.09 (-13.11%) to close @ $20.48 on news that the company is delinquent in its regulatory filings.


Shares of Google (GOOG) fell by $5.03 (-1.30%) to close @ $381.54; the stock then recovered $0.47 in after-hours action this evening.


Shares of Goldman Sachs Group (GS) fell by $4.89 (-3.26%) to close @ $145.00; the stock then recovered $1.35 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Lehman Brothers (LEH) fell by $3.60 (-5.49%) to $62.01; the stock then lost an additional $0.66 in after-hours action this evening.

Shares of Merrill Lynch (MER) fell by $2.45 (-3.45%) to close @ $68.62.


Shares of Monster Worldwide (MNST) fell by $3.40 (-8.10%) to close $38.60.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 10,792.58 (-99.34)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,091.32 (-43.74)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,236.40 (-15.90)

----------------------------------------------------------

NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $70.00/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $1.40 to close @ $606.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.795 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2579 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Treasury Budget for May, 2006

The U.S. Treasury Budget numbers for May, 2006 were released today:

Consensus: -$39,000,000,000
Actual: -$42,800,000,000

The "actual" figure above represents the monthly balance on the U.S. federal government's "books" and is compiled by The Treasury Department. A positive number represents a surplus, while a negative represents a deficit.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.


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Friday, June 09, 2006

All 3 Majors Down For The Day, and For The Week

The 3 major indexes declined on the day and for the week: the possibility of another rate hike by the Fed has been putting a damper on many equities. 1,594,806,070 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell by 3.2%, the NASDAQ Composite Index fell by 3.8%, and the S&P 500 Index fell by 2.8%.


Shares of DJIA component Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell by $0.77 (1.29%) to close @ $58.80.


Shares of DJIA component 3M (MMM) fell by $1.18 (1.44%) to close @ $80.57.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 10,891.92 (-46.90)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,135.06 (-10.26)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,252.30 (-5.63)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $71.64/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $0.90 to close @ $608.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7912 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2639 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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U.S. Import and Export Price Indices for May, 2006

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released the Price Indices for U.S. Imports and Exports for May, 2006 :

Import Prices
Consensus: +0.7%
Actual: +1.6%

Export Prices
Actual: +0.7%


The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in prices for

  • Imports: the cost of goods produced in other countries and sold in the U.S.

  • Exports: the cost of goods produced in the U.S. and sold in other countries.


Together, these indices offer insight into the status of inflation in the United States, and for the global economy as well.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

The following is a snippet from today's Labor Department report:

"Import Goods

The 1.6 percent rise in May followed a 2.1 percent increase in April, and marked the largest 2-month jump for the index since October 1990. A 5.2 percent rise in petroleum prices and a 0.6 percent advance in nonpetroleum prices both contributed to the overall increase in May. The advance in petroleum prices was the third consecutive monthly increase for the index, but was less than half the 11.5 percent jump recorded in April. Petroleum prices rose 45.7 percent for the year ended in May. The 0.6 percent increase in nonpetroleum prices last month was the largest monthly change since October and followed a comparatively modest 0.1 percent advance in April. Over the past 12 months, nonpetroleum import prices rose 1.5 percent while overall import prices increased 8.3 percent.

The May increase in nonpetroleum prices was led by a 2.5 percent advance in prices for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials. That increase was primarily driven by a continued rise in metals prices, although higher prices for building materials and chemicals were also contributing factors. The price index for unfinished metals rose 7.8 percent in May, which was the largest monthly increase for that index since monthly publication began back in September 1988. Prices for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials rose 9.0 percent for the year ended in May.

Higher prices for consumer goods; foods, feeds and beverages; and automotive vehicles also contributed to the May increase in nonpetroleum prices. Consumer goods prices advanced 0.3 percent in May, but declined 0.1 percent over the past 12 months. Foods, feeds, and beverages prices rose 1.3 percent for the month and prices for automotive vehicles ticked up 0.1 percent. Over the past year, the price indexes for foods, feeds, and beverages and automotive vehicles increased 1.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Capital goods prices were unchanged in May and down 1.6 percent for the May 2005-2006 period.


Export Goods

Export prices increased for the sixth consecutive month, rising 0.7 percent in May following a 0.6 percent advance in April. Higher nonagricultural prices and a turnaround in agricultural prices both contributed to the May increase. Agricultural prices rose 0.8 percent in May after falling in each of the three previous months, and were led by rising soybean prices. Despite the increase, prices for agricultural exports declined 1.4 percent for the year ended in May. Nonagricultural prices rose 0.6 percent in May after increasing 0.7 percent in April, and advanced 3.8 percent over the past year. Overall export prices rose 3.4 percent for the year ended in May.

The increase in nonagricultural prices was led by a 1.7 percent advance in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices. Continued higher prices for metals and fuel, as well as an upturn in chemicals prices all contributed to the increase. The price index for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials rose 11.6 percent over the past 12 months.

Prices for each of the major finished goods areas also rose in May; consumer goods prices increased 0.5 percent, and the price indexes for both capital goods and automotive vehicles ticked up 0.1 percent. For the year ended in May, consumer goods prices increased 1.0 percent, automotive vehicles prices increased 1.1 percent, and capital goods prices increased 0.2 percent."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.


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International Trade Balance Level for April, 2006

The International Trade Balance Level for April, 2006 was released by The U.S. Commerce Department today:

Consensus: $ -65,000,000,000
Actual: $ -63,400,000,000

The "actual" figure above represents the balance of trade--imports vs. exports--between the United States and all other countries, and includes both goods and services. A negative number represents a trade deficit, while a positive number represents a trade surplus.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Click here to view the full Commerce Department report (PDF).


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Thursday, June 08, 2006

S&P 500 and DJIA Gained, But The NASDAQ Lost Some Ground Today On Cheaper Commodities and A Stronger Dollar

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S + P 500 indices advanced, but the NASDAQ lost ground today as many commodities got cheaper and the dollar gained against the euro. 2,553,977,220 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Shares of DJIA component Procter + Gamble (PG) gained $1.50 to close @ $54.74.


Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) fell by $0.97 to close @ $27.03.


The price on many commodities fell today, including zinc, silver, aluminum and platinum. Copper fell by about 6.2%, and New York Spot Gold declined by $18.70.

Shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper + Gold (FCX) fell by $1.32 to close @ $49.93.


The European Central Bank (ECB) elected to raise their benchmark lending rate to 2.75% today; the central banks of South Korea, Denmark, Turkey, Thailand, South Africa and India also boosted rates. Fed Funds traders expect that the Fed will raise the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate to 5.25% at the June 29 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 10,938.82 (+7.92)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,145.32 (-6.48)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,257.93 (+1.78)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $70.03/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $18.70 to close @ $609.10/ounce

Currently, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7914 Euros

Currently, The Euro buys 1.2636 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of June 3, 2006

The U.S. Department of Labor this morning released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on June 3, 2006:

Consensus: 325,000
Actual: 302,000

The above figures represent the number of new claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "consensus" is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.


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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All 3 Major Indexes Lost Ground Today; The Dow Sank Below 11K

All 3 major indices lost ground today as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) sank below the 11K mark. 1,834,688,270 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Shares of DJIA component Boeing (BA) gained $0.81 (+1.00%) to close @ $81.46.

Shares of DJIA component DuPont (DD) fell by $1.08 (2.56%) to close @ $41.09.

Shares of DJIA component Caterpillar (CAT) fell by $1.74 (-2.54%) to close @ $66.74.


Cheaper crude oil sent energy stocks lower today.

Shares of DJIA component Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell by $1.58 (-2.62%) to close @ $58.85.

Shares of Sunoco (SUN) fell by $1.41 (-2.09%) to close @ $66.00.

Shares of Chevron (CVX) fell by $1.76 (-2.99%) to close @ $57.17.

Shares of Valero Energy (VLO) fell by $2.19 (-3.60%) to close @ $58.66.

Shares of ConocoPhillips (COP) fell by $1.38 (-2.23%) to close @ $60.52.


Shares of Google (GOOG) fell by $3.48 (-0.89%) to close @ $386.51; the stock then recovered $1.79 in after-hours trading this evening.


Shares of Nucor (NUE) fell by $3.48 (-6.77%) to close @ $47.92; the stock then recovered $0.46 in after-hours trading this evening.


The specter of further interest rate hikes by the Fed continues to effect a broad range of stocks, including companies that produce home furnishings (investor thought process goes something like this: higher interest rates = less home-buying = less shopping for home furnishings.)

Shares of DJIA component La-Z-Boy (LZB) fell by $1.84 (-13.06%) to close @ $12.25.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 10,930.90 (-71.24)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,151.80 (-10.98)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,256.15 (-7.70)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $70.52/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $1.70 to close @ $627.80/ounce

Currently, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7823 Euros

Currently, The Euro buys 1.2783 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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Consumer Credit Status Report for April, 2006 Released Today

The Consumer Credit status report for April, 2006 was released by the Federal Reserve earlier this afternoon:

Consensus: +$3,500,000,000
Actual: +$10,600,000,000

The above figures represent the month-to-month change in total outstanding, installment-based consumer credit; includes car loans and credit cards.

The "consensus" is what Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the actual or real figure.

Click here to view the full Federal Reserve report.


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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of June 2, 2006

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on June 2, 2006 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,100,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +15,800,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 346,600,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Click here for a more detailed summary of The Week in Petroleum.


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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The 3 Majors Declined Today As Investors' Knees Continued to Knock About The Potential for More Interest Rate Hikes by The Fed

All 3 major indices lost ground today as comments by Federal Reserve officials William Poole, Thomas Hoenig, and Susan Bies fueled speculation that the Fed will raise the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate again on June 29. 1,892,843,630 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Shares of Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) component Boeing (BA) fell by $1.48 (-1.80%) to close @ $80.65.


Google has released a new online spreadsheet program with very basic functionality: no charts, macros, etc. The folks @ Microsoft are probably very pleased that Google's online spreadsheet app' can't really compete with the sophisticated and well-established MS Excel.

Shares of Google (GOOG) gained $15.55 (+4.15%) to close @ $389.99; the stock then gained an additional $0.76 in after-hours trading this evening.

Shares of DJIA component Microsoft (MSFT) fell by $0.37 (-1.64%) to close @ $22.13.


Shares of DJIA component General Motors (GM) fell by $0.80 (-3.07%) to close @ $25.25 on news that plans to cut costs by about $1 billion this year may not be realized.


Shares of NYSE Group (NYX) fell by $3.00 (-4.72%) to close @ $60.50. The NYSE Group owns The New York Stock Exchange® and is currently pushing for a "merger of equals" with Paris-based Euronext. Today, however, French President Jacques Chirac made a public statement supporting the joining of Euronext with Deutsche Boerse.


Shares of U.S. Steel (X) fell by $1.11 (-1.71%) to close @ $63.91; the stock then lost an additional $0.22 in after-hours trading this evening.


With the possibility of more interest rate hikes by the Fed--and the associated increased cost of borrowing for big-ticket items like homes--shares of many home builders declined today.

Shares of KB Home (KBH) fell by $3.28 (-6.68%) to close @ $45.82.

Shares of Lennar (LNR) fell by $1.50 (-3.23%) to close @ $45.00.

Shares of D.R. Horton (DHI) fell by $1.40 to close @ $23.41.

Shares of Pulte Homes (PHM) fell by $1.64 to close @ $28.11; the stock then recovered $0.28 in after-hours trading this evening.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

----------------------------------------------------------

DJIA: Closed @ 11,002.14 (-46.58)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,162.78 (-6.84)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,263.85 (-1.44)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $72.31/barrel

NY Spot Gold fell by $13.70 to close @ $629.50/ounce

Currently, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7792 Euros

Currently, The Euro buys 1.2833 U.S. Dollars

The U.S. Prime Rate (Fed Prime Rate) is 8.00%


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