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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bernanke Testimony Helped All 3 Majors to Advance Today

All 3 major stock market indexes advanced today: investors were encouraged by testimony made by Fed chief Ben Bernanke before the U.S. House Committee on the Budget. 2,260,468,140 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,268.63 (+52.39)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,416.15 (+8.29)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,406.82 (+7.78)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $61.48/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $669.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7563 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3222 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.55%

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Preliminary" Released Today for Q4, 2006

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

Predicted: +2.3%
Actual: +2.2%

The above percentages represent the quarter-to-quarter change in the Gross Domestic Product for the United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and 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.

The final GDP report for Q4, 2006, which will contain the most authoritative data for the fourth quarter, will be released on March 29, 2007.

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 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to preliminary estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.0 percent.

The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the advance estimates issued last month. In the advance estimates, the increase in real GDP was 3.5 percent (see "Revisions" on page 3).

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, state and local government spending, and federal government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

The small acceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter primarily reflected a downturn in imports and accelerations in PCE, in exports, and in federal government spending that were partly offset by downturns in private inventory investment, in equipment and software, and in nonresidential structures.

Final sales of computers contributed 0.23 percentage point to the fourth-quarter growth in real DP after contributing 0.07 percentage point to the third-quarter growth. Motor vehicle output subtracted 1.24 percentage points from the fourth-quarter growth in real GDP after contributing 0.76 percentage point to the third-quarter growth."

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

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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 23, 2007

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 23, 2007 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,400,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +700,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 329,000,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can 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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New Home Sales for January, 2007

The January, 2007 New Home Sales report was released this morning:

Predicted New Home Sales for January, 2007: 1,080,000

Actual New Home Sales for January, 2007: 937,000

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December, 2006 New Home Sales (Revised): 1,123,000

January, 2006 New Home Sales: 1,173,000

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January, 2007 New Home Sales: Median Price: $239,800

January, 2007 New Home Sales: Average Price: $313,000


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 "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true 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 microwave ovens.

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

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

All 3 Majors Lost Over 3% Today

All 3 major indexes lost more than 3% today on news of an 8.8% drop for the Shanghai Composite Index and a 7.8 decline for U.S. Durable Goods Orders. 2,412,529,020 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,216.24 (-416.02)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,407.86 (-96.66)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,399.04 (-50.33)

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WTI Crude Oil Future closed @ $60.82/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $672.30/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7583 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3187 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.513%

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Existing Home Sales for January, 2007

The Existing Home Sales report for January, 2007 was released by The National Association of Realtors® this morning:

Predicted: 6,250,000
Actual: 6,460,000

Median Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In January, 2007: $210,600

Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In January, 2007: $257,400


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

The monthly Existing Home Sales report is released on or around the 25TH day of each month.

Click here to view the full NAR report.

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Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for February, 2007

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for this month (February, 2007) was released by The Conference Board this morning:

Predicted: 108.0
Actual: 112.5

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true 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 CCI is linked 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 private, 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 is almost always released on the last Tuesday of the month.

Last month, the CCI was 110.3.

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Durable Goods Orders Report for January, 2007 Released Today

The Durable Goods Orders report for January, 2007 was released this morning:

Predicted: -3.0%
Actual: -7.8%

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, microwave ovens, computers -- items that are built to last 3+ years.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure. The Durable Goods Orders report is produced by the Commerce Department.

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

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Redbook Numbers for The Week of February 24, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on February 24, 2007 were released this morning:

Redbook Sales Figures: +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 measure 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 February of 2006.

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

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Monday, February 26, 2007

All 3 Majors Retreated Today

All 3 major indices declined today. 1,559,791,300 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,632.26 (-15.22)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,504.52 (-10.58)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,449.37 (-1.82)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $61.44/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $685.70/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7592 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3172 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.631%

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Friday, February 23, 2007

The NASDAQ Composite Was The Only Major to Advance This Week

All 3 major indexes declined today, and the NASDAQ Composite Index was the only major index to advance on the week, as bellwether commodities like crude oil and gold got more expensive. 1,453,128,180 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

For the week, the DJIA lost 120.09 points (-0.95%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 18.79 points (+0.753%), and the S and P 500 Index lost 4.35 points (-0.3%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,647.48 (-38.54)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,515.10 (-9.84)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,451.19 (-5.19)

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WTI Crude Oil Future closed @ $61.44/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $682.90/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7581 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.319 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.678%

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The DJIA Lost Over 50 Points As Crude Surpassed $60 per Barrel

The NASDAQ Composite was the only one of the three major stock market indices to gain today as the price on a barrel of crude oil for future delivery cruised passed the $60 mark. 1,476,714,160 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,686.02 (-52.39)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,524.94 (+6.52)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,456.38 (-1.25)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $60.88/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $676.30/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.762 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3124 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.73%

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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 16, 2007

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 16, 2007 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +3,700,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +900,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 327,600,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can 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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 17, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on February 17, 2007:

Predicted: 325,000
Actual: 332,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Of The 3 Majors, Only The NASDAQ Composite Gained Today

The NASDAQ Composite Index was the only one of the three major stock market indexes to advance today: the data in the January Consumer Price Index report caused investors to worry about inflation. 1,431,846,740 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,738.41 (-48.23)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,518.42 (+5.38)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,457.63 (-2.05)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $59.95/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $678.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7614 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3133 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.692%

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Leading Economic Indicators for January, 2007

The Conference Board report on the nation's Leading Economic Indicators for January, 2007 was released this morning:

Predicted: 0.3%
Actual: +0.1%

The above numbers represent the month-to-month change for the nation's leading economic indicators. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true 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 and Poor's 500 Index
  3. The interest rate spread between the yield on Ten-year Treasury Notes and the 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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Redbook Numbers for The Week of February 17, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on February 17, 2007 were released this morning:

Redbook Sales Figures: +2.9%

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 measure 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 2.9% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in February of 2006.

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

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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January, 2007

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January, 2007:

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.2%

Below is the CPI when food and energy are subtracted from the equation:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The above numbers represent the seasonally-adjusted, 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.

The CPI for January, 2007: 202.416 (the baseline 100 score is pegged to 1982-1984 data. In other words, consumer prices have more than doubled since the early 80's)


General categories that constitute the CPI 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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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

All 3 Majors Gained; A New Record For The DJIA

All 3 major indexes advanced today; the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed with a brand new record high: 12,786.64. 1,307,765,260 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,786.64 (+19.07)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,513.04 (+16.73)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,459.68 (+4.14)

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WTI Crude Oil Future closed @ $58.41/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $657.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7609 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3142 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.68%

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Monday, February 19, 2007

The New York Stock Exchange & The NASDAQ Stock Market Are Closed Today

The New York Stock Exchange® and the NASDAQ Stock Market® are closed today in observance of the President's Day holiday.

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $58.52/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $668.50/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7603 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3152 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.69%

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Friday, February 16, 2007

New Closing Record for The DJIA Today; All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained less than 3 points today, but the index still managed to close with a brand new record high: 12,767.57. All 3 major indices advanced on the week. 1,353,868,420 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA gained 186.74 points (+1.484%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 36.49 points (+1.483%), and the S and P 500 Index gained 17.48 points (+1.216%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,767.57 (+2.56)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,496.31 (-0.79)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,455.54 (-1.27)

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WTI Crude Oil Future closed @ $59.39/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $668.50/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7605 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3148 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.69%

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Consumer Sentiment (Preliminary) for February, 2007

The preliminary Consumer Sentiment Index for February, 2007 was released this morning:

Predicted: 96.0
Actual: 93.3

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 (and vice versa.)

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 "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Producer Price Index (PPI) for January, 2007

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for January, 2007 was released this morning:

Predicted: -0.5%
Actual: -0.6%

Below is the PPI when food and energy are subtracted from the equation:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%


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 Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true 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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Housing Starts in January, 2007

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released the Housing Starts report for January, 2007:

Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,600,000
Actual: 1,408,000

Building Permits:
Actual: 1,568,000

The above is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in The United States for last month. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real 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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Thursday, February 15, 2007

All 3 Majors Advanced; DJIA Sets New Closing Record

All 3 major indices advanced today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closing at 12,765.01: a brand new, all-time record-high close. Investors reacted to declining industrial production and waning import prices: the Fed is now somewhat more likely to lower short-term interest rates later this year. 1,376,906,650 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,765.01 (+23.15)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,497.10 (+8.72)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,456.81 (+1.51)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $57.84/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $668.40/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7618 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3127 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.71%

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Industrial Production for January, 2007

The Industrial Production numbers for January, 2007 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: -0.1%
Actual: -0.5%

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 81.6%
Actual: 81.2%


The above Industrial Production numbers represent the month-to-month change in physical output from mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States.

The Capacity Utilization Rate percentages represent the use of available resources at mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States last month.

The "predicted" figures are what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Federal Reserve report.

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U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for January, 2007

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released the price indexes for U.S. imports and exports for January, 2007 :

Import Prices
Predicted: -1.0
Actual: -1.2%

Export Prices

Actual:
+0.3%

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 indexes offer insight into the status of inflation in the United States, and for the global economy as well. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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

"Import Goods

Import prices fell 1.2 percent in January after increases of 1.1 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, in December and November. A 7.3 percent decrease in petroleum prices drove the overall January drop, as petroleum prices resumed a recent downward pattern after increasing 4.6 percent in December. Nonpetroleum prices were unchanged in January after a 0.5 percent advance the previous month. Prices for nonpetroleum imports rose 1.6 percent over the 12 months ended in January.

Changes in prices for nonpetroleum imports were highlighted by a turnaround in the index for nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices, which declined 1.0 percent. The January decrease followed increases of 1.7 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, in December and November. The drop in nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices was driven by a downturn in natural gas prices. In the previous two months, natural gas prices had led the advance in nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices. Capital goods prices edged down 0.1 percent, declining for the first time since a 0.1 percent decrease in April 2006.

In contrast, the price index for consumer goods rose 0.3 percent. The increase in consumer goods prices was driven by higher prices for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical preparatory materials. The price indexes for foods, feeds, and beverages and for automotive vehicles also increased in January, advancing 1.5 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. A 4.9 percent increase in vegetables prices led the January rise in foods, feeds, and beverages prices. In December, the index for foods, feeds, and beverages had increased 0.7 percent. The modest increase in prices for automotive vehicles in January followed a 0.1 percent drop in December.


Export Goods

Export prices increased 0.3 percent in January as higher prices for both agricultural and nonagricultural exports contributed to the rise. The advance in the prices for overall exports followed increases of 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, in December and November. For the year ended in January, export prices rose 4.1 percent. The 0.7 percent increase in agricultural prices was led by higher prices for vegetables and meat, which more than offset lower prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans. Agricultural prices rose 13.5 percent over the past 12 months. Nonagricultural prices also increased in January, rising 0.3 percent.

A 0.3 percent advance in nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices led the January increase in nonagricultural prices. Metals prices continued to rise in January. However, prices for fuels and lubricants, up over the past 12 months, fell in January. For the year ended in January, nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices rose 8.4 percent.

Prices for each of the major finished goods areas also increased in January. The price index for capital goods, which makes up about 40 percent of overall exports, rose 0.2 percent for the month and 0.9 percent over the past year. Automotive vehicles prices increased 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month. Prices for automotive vehicles rose 1.5 percent for the year ended in January. The price index for consumer goods advanced 0.8 percent for the month and 2.4 percent for the January 2006-2007 period."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 10, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on February 10, 2007:

Predicted: 310,000
Actual: 357,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

All 3 Majors Advances; New Record-High Close for The DJIA

All 3 major indices advanced today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closing at 12,741.86: a new, all-time record-high close: investors reacted bullishly to testimony made by Fed boss Ben Bernanke before the U.S. Senate. 1,521,231,130 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,741.86 (+87.01)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,488.38 (+28.50)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,455.30 (+11.04)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $57.95/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $668.00/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7614 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3134 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.73%

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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 9, 2007

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 9, 2007 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -600,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -1,700,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 323,900,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can 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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U.S. Retail & Food Services Sales Report for January, 2007

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for January, 2007:

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.0%

Minus Auto Sales
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual : +0.3%


The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in total sales receipts for retailers that sell durable & non-durable goods, and retailers that provide food & beverage services.

Retail & Food Services Sales since January, 2006: +2.3%.

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full report.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

All 3 Majors Closed Higher Today

All 3 major indices advanced today as Alcoa and General Motors surged. 1,455,434,410 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,654.85 (+102.30)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,459.88 (+9.50)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,444.26 (+10.89)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $58.91/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $664.10/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7675 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3029 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.814%

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Redbook Numbers for The Week of February 10, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on February 10, 2007 were released this morning:

Redbook Sales Figures: +2.5%

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 measure 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 2.5% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in February of 2006.

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

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International Trade Balance Level for December, 2006

The International Trade Balance Level for December, 2006 was released by The U.S. Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: $ -59,800,000,000
Actual: $ -61,200,000,000

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 "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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

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Monday, February 12, 2007

All 3 Major Indices Declined Today

All 3 major indexes declined today as forecasts for warmer weather in the Northeast USA contributed to a drop in crude oil prices. 1,322,496,940 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,552.55 (-28.28)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,450.38 (-9.44)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,433.37 (-4.69)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $57.90/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $661.30/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7697 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2992 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.804%

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Treasury Budget for January, 2007

The U.S. Treasury Budget monthly account for January, 2007 was released today:

Predicted: +40,000,000,000
Actual: +$38,200,000,000

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 "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

All 3 Majors Declined On Both The day and The Week

All 3 major indexes declined on both the day and the week as the price on crude oil for future delivery closed near the $60 mark. 1,642,465,640 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

For the week, the DJIA lost 72.66 points (-0.578%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 16.06 points (-0.653%), and the S and P 500 Index lost 10.33 points (-0.718%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,580.83 (-56.80)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,459.82 (-28.85)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,438.06 (-10.25)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $59.89/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $666.70/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7684 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3014 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.784%

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

All 3 Majors Declined Today As Crude Edged Closer to $60

All 3 major indexes declined today as the price on a barrel of crude oil for future delivery edged closer to the $60 mark. 1,604,923,960 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,637.63 (-29.24)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,488.67 (-1.83)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,448.31 (-1.71)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $59.72/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $659.10/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7686 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.301 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.73%

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 3, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on February 3, 2007:

Predicted: 312,000
Actual: 311,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

All 3 Majors Gained Today

All 3 major indices advanced today as crude oil for future delivery dropped below the $58 mark. 1,481,106,520 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,666.87 (+0.56)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,490.50 (+19.01)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,450.02 (+2.02)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $57.88/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $651.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7678 Euro

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3024 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.745%

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Consumer Credit Status Report for December, 2006 Released Today

The Consumer Credit status report for December, 2006 was released by the Fed earlier this afternoon:

Actual: +$6,000,000,000

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


Click here to view the full Federal Reserve report.

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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of February 2, 2007

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on February 2, 2007 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -400,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +3,800,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 324,500,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories can 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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Productivity and Labor Cost Report for Q4, 2006 Released Today (Preliminary)

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its quarterly report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the fourth quarter of 2006 (preliminary data):

Non-farm Productivity
Predicted: +2.2%
Actual: +3.0%

Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +2.0%
Actual: +1.7%

The above percentages represent the quarter-to-quarter change in non-farm productivity and unit labor costs.

For non-farm productivity, a positive number represents an improvement in the efficiency of producing domestic goods and services in the U.S., and therefore can signify a favorable inflationary outlook, and vice versa.

The Unit Labor Costs report measures the costs related to producing each unit of output. A positive number can be a harbinger of rising inflation, and vice versa.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Modest Gain for Each of the 3 Majors Today

All 3 major indexes advanced today, albeit modestly. 1,478,749,520 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,666.31 (+4.57)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,471.49 (+0.89)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,448.00 (+1.01)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $59.36/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $652.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7699 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2988 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.765%

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Redbook Numbers for The Week of February 3, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on February 3, 2007 were released this morning:

Redbook Sales Figures: +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 measure 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 February of 2006.

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

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Monday, February 05, 2007

The DJIA Was The Only Major Index to Advance Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was the only major index to advance today, as the price on a barrel of crude oil for future delivery crept closer to the $60 mark. 1,413,708,770 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,661.74 (+8.25)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,470.60 (-5.28)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,446.99 (-1.40)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $59.11/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $647.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7737 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2924 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.808%

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Friday, February 02, 2007

All 3 Majors Gained for The Week Despite Higher Crude Oil Prices

All 3 major indexes advanced this week despite the price on crude oil for future delivery rising by $3.60. On the day, both the NASDAQ Composite and S and P 500 gained, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) retreated. 1,432,817,950 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA gained 166.47 points (+1.333%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 40.39 points (+1.658%), and the S and P 500 Index gained 26.21 points (+1.843%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,653.49 (-20.19)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,475.88 (+7.50)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,448.39 (+2.45)

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WTI Crude Oil Future closed @ $59.02/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $645.70/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7715 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2961 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.827%

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U.S. Factory Orders Report for December, 2006

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories & Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for December, 2006:

Predicted: +1.9%
Actual: +2.4%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in orders for both durable and nondurable goods made by from U.S. manufacturers. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Consumer Sentiment for January, 2007

Consumer Sentiment for January, 2007:

Predicted: 98.0
Actual: 96.9

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 "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Last month, the Consumer Sentiment Index was 91.7.

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Employment Situation Report for January, 2007

The Employment Situation report for January, 2007 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2%


Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +160K
Actual: +111K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.9 hrs
Actual: 33.8 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 4.5%
Actual: 4.6%

Economist, academics, central bankers and investors pay very close attention to the monthly Employment Situation report as it offers penetrating insight as to the current and near-future state of the overall U.S. economy. If a) Americans are earning more money, b) unemployment is low and c) the economy is creating new jobs, this typically translates to more money being pumped into the economy (and vice versa.)

The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Department of Labor report.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

All 3 Majors Gained with A Brand New Record High for The DJIA

All 3 major indexes advanced today; the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 12,673.68, a new record high. 1,695,290,470 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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

DJIA: Closed @ 12,673.68 (+51.99)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,468.38 (+4.45)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,445.94 (+7.70)

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

WTI Crude Oil Future is currently @ $57.47/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $656.30/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.768 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.302 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.837%

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U.S. Motor Vehicle Sales Report for January, 2007

The Domestic Motor Vehicle Sales report for January, 2007 was released this afternoon:

Predicted: 12,900,000
Actual: 12,600,000

The above figures represent unit sales of American-made cars, minivans, SUV's and light trucks. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Personal Income & Consumer Spending In December, 2006

Earlier today, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis released their report on Consumer Spending and Personal Income in December, 2006:

Personal Consumption Expenditures
(a.k.a. Consumer Spending)
Predicted: +0.7%
Actual: +0.7%

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +0.5%

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

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

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Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for January, 2007

Earlier today, the outplacement company Challenger released their report on corporate layoffs for January, 2007:

U.S. Job Cuts Announced during January, 2007: 62,975

When the corporate layoff numbers are high, consumer spending may decline, since there are less people with steady jobs.

When corporate layoffs are low, this can mean that the job market is relatively tight, which can be a harbinger of wage inflation.

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of January 27, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on January 27, 2007:

Predicted: 315,000
Actual: 307,000

The above figures represent the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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