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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, March 30, 2007

The 3 Majors Declined About 1% For The Week

Each of the 3 major indexes lost a little over 1% this week, as the cost of crude oil and gold surged, and the dollar lost ground against the euro. 1,591,565,420 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA lost 126.66 points (-1.025%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 27.29 points (-1.127%), and the S and P 500 Index fell by 15.25 points (-1.073%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,354.35 (+5.60)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,421.64 (+3.76)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,420.86 (-1.67)

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WTI Crude Oil Future is currently @ $65.87/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $663.30/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7488 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3354 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.648%

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Construction Spending during February, 2007

Earlier today, the U.S. Census Bureau -- which is part of the U.S. Commerce Department -- released the Construction Spending report for February, 2007:

Predicted: -1.0%
Actual: +0.3%

Change from last year: -2.4%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in new public and private construction activity for the 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 Census Bureau report.

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Consumer Sentiment for March, 2007

Consumer Sentiment for March, 2007:

Predicted: 88.8
Actual: 88.4

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 "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 91.3.

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Personal Income & Consumer Spending Report for February, 2007

Earlier today, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis released their report on Consumer Spending and Personal Income during February, 2007:

Personal Consumption Expenditures
(a.k.a. Consumer Spending)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.6%

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.6%

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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Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 24, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on March 24, 2007:

Predicted: 320,000
Actual: 308,000

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

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

Predicted: +2.2%
Actual: +2.5%

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 true 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 Q4, 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 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to final 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 preliminary estimates issued last month. In the preliminary estimates, the increase in real GDP was 2.2 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 residential fixed investment and private inventory 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 and in equipment and software and a deceleration in nonresidential structures.

Final sales of computers contributed 0.22 percentage point to the fourth-quarter growth in real GDP after contributing 0.07 percentage point to the third-quarter growth. Motor vehicle output subtracted 1.18 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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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 23, 2007

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

Weekly Change: -900,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -12,300,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 328,400,000 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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Durable Goods Orders Report for February, 2007 Released Today

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

Predicted: +3.4%
Actual: +2.5%

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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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for March, 2007

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

Predicted: 107.0
Actual: 107.2

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 112.5.

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Redbook Numbers for The Week of March 24, 2007

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

Redbook Sales Figures: +4.3%

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 4.3% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in March of 2006.

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

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Monday, March 26, 2007

New Home Sales for February, 2007

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

Predicted: 980,000

Actual New Home Sales: 848,000

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Change from Last Month: -3.9%

Change from Last Year: -18.3%

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February, 2007 New Home Sales: Median Price: $250,000

February, 2007 New Home Sales: Average Price: $331,000


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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Friday, March 23, 2007

All 3 Majors Gained Over 3% for The Week

All 3 major indices gained over 3% for the week, despite a jump in crude oil prices, as investors reacted bullishly to the Fed's decision to keep the Fed Funds Target Rate at 5.25%, and to an encouraging report on existing home sales. 1,401,188,540 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA gained 370.60 points (+3.06%), the NASDAQ Composite Index added 76.27 points (+3.215%), and the S and P 500 Index gained 49.16 points (+3.544%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,481.01 (+19.87)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,448.93 (-2.81)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,436.11 (+1.57)

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WTI Crude Oil Future is currently @ $62.28/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $655.40/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7529 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3282 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.613%

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Existing Home Sales for February, 2007

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

Predicted: 6,260,000
Actual: 6,690,000 
Change from Last Month: +3.9%
Change from Last Year: -3.6%

Median Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In February, 2007: $212,800Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In February, 2007: $260,100


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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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Leading Economic Indicators for February, 2007

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

Predicted: -0.5%
Actual: -0.5%

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 10-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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 17, 2007

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

Predicted: 322,000
Actual: 316,000

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, March 21, 2007

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 16, 2007

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

Weekly Change: +4,000,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -9,300,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 329,300,000 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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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Redbook Numbers for The Week of March 17, 2007

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

Redbook Sales Figures: +3.7%

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 3.7% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in March of 2006.

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

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Housing Starts in February, 2007

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

Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,450,000
Actual: 1,525,000
From Last Month: +9.0%
From One Year Ago: -28.5%

Building Permits:
Actual: 1,532,000
From Last Month: -2.5%
From One Year Ago: -28.6%


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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Friday, March 16, 2007

All 3 Majors Declined On Both The Day and The Week

All 3 major indexes retreated on both the day and the week, as crude oil prices fell and the dollar lost ground against the euro. 2,076,187,740 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA lost 165.91 points (-1.37%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 14.89 points (-0.628%), and the S and P 500 Index fell by 15.90 points (-1.146%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,110.41 (-49.27)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,372.66 (-6.04)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,386.95 (-5.33)

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WTI Crude Oil Future is currently @ $57.11/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $652.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7522 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3295 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.545%

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Industrial Production for February, 2007

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

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +1.0%

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 81.3%
Actual: 82.0%


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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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February, 2007

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

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.4%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

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 February, 2007: 203.499 (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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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Producer Price Index (PPI) for February, 2007

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

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +1.3%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.4%


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

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

Predicted: 325,000
Actual: 318,000

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, March 14, 2007

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 9, 2007

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

Weekly Change: +1,100,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -14,600,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 325,300,000 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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Import and Export Price Indexes for February 2007

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on US Import and Export Price Indexes for February 2007:

Import Prices
Predicted: +1.0
Actual: +0.2%

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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 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

Prices for imports increased 0.2 percent in February as a 2.0 percent increase in petroleum prices more than offset a modest decline in nonpetroleum prices. The advance in petroleum prices followed declines in four of the previous five months, and despite the February upturn petroleum prices decreased 2.6 percent over the past year. Nonpetroleum prices recorded a second consecutive 0.1 percent decline in February after rising 0.5 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively, in December and November. The price index for nonpetroleum imports advanced 2.1 percent over the past 12 months while overall import prices advanced 1.3 percent for the same period.

Decreases in the price indexes for capital goods and nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials both contributed to the February decline in nonpetroleum prices. Prices for capital goods fell 0.3 percent, the largest monthly drop for the index since July 2005. The decrease was driven by a 0.9 percent decline in the price index for computers, peripherals, and semiconductors. Led by lower prices for lumber and some metals, nonpetroleum industrial supplies and materials prices edged down 0.1 percent in February. The decrease was tempered by an upturn in natural gas prices.

In contrast, automotive vehicles prices and prices for foods, feeds, and beverages increased in February. The price index for automotive vehicles ticked up 0.1 percent, the first change for the index since a 0.2 percent advance in October. Foods, feeds, and beverages prices continued to trend upward, rising 0.2 percent in February. Higher fish prices more than offset declining fruits and vegetables prices.

Consumer goods prices were unchanged in February following 0.3 percent increases in each of the previous two months.


Export Goods


Export prices rose 0.7 percent in February, the largest increase since June 2006, and both agricultural prices and nonagricultural prices contributed to the advance. Agricultural prices increased 2.3 percent for the month and 16.9 percent over the past year. The February advance was primarily led by higher corn and soybeans prices, although rising prices for meat, fish, fruit, and wheat also contributed to the increase. Nonagricultural prices rose 0.6 percent for the month and 3.7 percent for the year ended in February. Overall export prices rose 4.7 percent for the February 2006-2007 period.

A 2.1 percent increase for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices was the largest contributor to the rise in nonagricultural prices. The advance was the largest for the index since May 2006 and was driven by higher prices for fuels, metals, and paper. Over the past 12 months, the index rose 9.6 percent.

Prices for each of the major finished goods areas recorded little movement in February. Automotive vehicles prices increased a modest 0.1 percent following 0.2 percent advances in each of the previous two months. In contrast, capital goods prices edged down 0.1 percent after increasing 0.2 percent in January. The price index for consumer goods was unchanged in February after a 0.9 percent jump the previous month."

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Redbook Numbers for The Week of March 10, 2007

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

Redbook Sales Figures: +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 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 3.4% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in March of 2006.

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

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U.S. Retail & Food Services Sales Report for February, 2007

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

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.1%

Minus Auto Sales
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual : -0.1%


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 February, 2006: +3.2%.

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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Monday, March 12, 2007

Treasury Budget for February, 2007

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

Predicted: -120,000,000,000
Actual: -$120,000,000,000

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, March 09, 2007

All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week

All 3 major indexes gained ground on the week, as the price on a barrel of crude for future delivery fell below the $60 mark. 1,437,671,380 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA gained 162.22 points (+1.339%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 19.55 points (+0.826%), and the S and P 500 Index added 15.68 points (+1.13%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,276.32 (+15.62)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,387.55 (-0.18)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,402.85 (+0.96)

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WTI Crude Oil Future is currently @ $59.69/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $650.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7619 Euros

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

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.589%

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Employment Situation Report for February, 2007

The Employment Situation report for February, 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: +0.4%


Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +95K
Actual: +97K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.8 hrs
Actual: 33.7 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 4.6%
Actual: 4.5%

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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International Trade Balance Level for January, 2007

The International Trade Balance Level for January, 2007 was released by The U.S. Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: $ -59,800,000,000
Actual: $ -59,100,000,000

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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Thursday, March 08, 2007

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

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

Predicted: 335,000
Actual: 328,000

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, March 07, 2007

All 3 Majors Declined As Crude Neared $62

All 3 major indexes retreated today as the price on a barrel of petroleum for future delivery jumped back up to near $62. 1,715,492,140 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,192.45 (-15.14)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,374.64 (-10.50)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,391.97 (-3.44)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $61.95/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $650.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.759 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3174 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.497%

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Consumer Credit Status Report for January, 2007 Released Today

The Consumer Credit status report for January, 2007 was released by the Fed earlier this afternoon:

Actual: +$6,500,000,000

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 March 2, 2007

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

Weekly Change: -4,800,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -10,900,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 324,200,000 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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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The 3 Majors Advanced Despite Negative Economic Reports

All 3 major indices gained ground today despite downbeat reports on U.S. productivity and factory orders. 1,840,135,250 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,207.59 (+157.18)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,385.14 (+44.46)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,395.41 (+21.29)

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WTI Crude Oil Future is currently @ $60.68/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $645.70/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7623 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3118 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.528%

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U.S. Factory Orders Report for January, 2007

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories & Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for January, 2007:

Predicted: -4.5%
Actual: -5.6%

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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Redbook Numbers for The Week of March 3, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on March 3, 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 March of 2006.

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

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Productivity and Labor Cost Report for Q4, 2006 (Revised) Released Today

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released their revised report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the fourth quarter of 2006:

Non-farm Productivity
Predicted: +1.6%
Actual: +1.6%

Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +3.0%
Actual: +6.6%

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 and Wall Street forecasters 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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Monday, March 05, 2007

All 3 Majors Declined Today Despite Cheaper Crude Prices

The price on a barrel of crude oil for future delivery got cheaper today, yet all 3 major indexes retreated. 1,996,014,420 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.


Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,050.41 (-63.69)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,340.68 (-27.32)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,374.12 (-13.05)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $60.25/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $636.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7627 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3111 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.518%

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Friday, March 02, 2007

All 3 Majors Declined On Both The Day and The Week

All 3 major indexes declined on both the day and the week. 1,869,391,230 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

For the week, the DJIA lost 533.38 points (-4.403%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 147.10 points (-6.212%), and the S and P 500 Index lost 64.02 points (-4.615%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,114.10 (-120.24)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,368.00 (-36.21)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,387.17 (-16.00)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $61.64/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $640.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7579 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3194 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.515%

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Consumer Sentiment for February, 2007

Consumer Sentiment for February, 2007:

Predicted: 93.3
Actual: 91.3

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.

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 96.9.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

All 3 Major Declined Today As Crude Oil Surged Above $62

All 3 major indexes declined today as the price on a barrel of crude oil for future delivery jumped above the $62 mark. 2,226,422,390 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange®.

Summary of The U.S. Markets:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,234.34 (-34.29)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,404.21 (-11.94)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,403.17 (-3.65)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future is currently @ $62.03/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $662.10/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7595 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3166 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.556%

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

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

Predicted: 12,600,000
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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ISM Manufacturing Index for February, 2007

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released their Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI):

Predicted: 49.7%
Actual: 52.3%

Every month, the ISM surveys purchasing and supply executives at hundreds of companies across the country that are involved in manufacturing in some form. The resulting index is watched closely by academics, economists and investors because manufacturing accounts for 12% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The PMI is a reliable barometer of U.S. manufacturing: when the PMI is above 50%, U.S. manufacturing is expanding; when it's below 50%, the manufacturing sector is contracting.

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

Last month, the PMI was 49.3.

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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Personal Income & Consumer Spending Report for January, 2007

Earlier today, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis released their report on Consumer Spending and Personal Income during January, 2007:

Personal Consumption Expenditures
(a.k.a. Consumer Spending)
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.5%

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +1.0%

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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 24, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on February 24, 2007:

Predicted: 325,000
Actual: 338,000

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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Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for February, 2007

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

U.S. Job Cuts Announced during February, 2007: 84,014

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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Construction Spending during January, 2007

Earlier today, the U.S. Census Bureau -- which is part of the U.S. Commerce Department -- released the Construction Spending report for January, 2007:

Predicted: -0.5%
Actual: -0.8%

Change from last year: -1.2%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in new public and private construction activity for the 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 Census Bureau report.

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