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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, September 28, 2007

All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week

All 3 major indices advanced on the week as the price on a barrel of crude oil for future delivery crept upward and the dollar continued to lose ground against the euro.

1,345,442,350 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA gained 75.44 points (+0.546%), the NASDAQ Composite Index added 30.28 points (+1.134%), and the S and P 500 Index gained 1.00 point (+0.066%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 13,895.63 (-17.31)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,701.50 (-8.09)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,526.75 (-4.63)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $81.66/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $743.10/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7009 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.4268 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 4.75%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.579%

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Consumer Sentiment for September, 2007

Consumer Sentiment for September, 2007:

Predicted: 84.3
Actual: 83.4

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 83.4.

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Construction Spending during August, 2007

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

Predicted: -0.5%
Actual: +0.2%

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.

Change from one year ago: -1.7%

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Personal Income & Consumer Spending Report for August, 2007

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

Personal Consumption Expenditures
(a.k.a. Consumer Spending)
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.6%

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

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, September 27, 2007

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 22, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on September 22, 2007:

Predicted: 320,000
Actual: 298,000

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 Q2, 2007

The final, real U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for the second quarter of 2007 was released this morning:

Predicted: +3.8 %
Actual: +3.8 %

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 Q2, 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."

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

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New Home Sales for August, 2007

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

Predicted: 835,000

Actual New Home Sales: 795,000

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Change from Last Month: -8.3%

Change from Last Year: -21.2%

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Median Price for a New Home during August: $225,700

Average Price for a New Home during August: $292,000


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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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 21, 2007

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 21, 2007 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +1,800,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -4,200,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 320,600,000 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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Durable Goods Orders Report for August, 2007 Released Today

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

Predicted: -3.1%
Actual: -4.9%

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, September 25, 2007

Redbook Numbers for The Week of September 22, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on September 22, 2007 were released this morning:

Redbook Sales Figures: +1.6%

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 1.6% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in September of 2006.

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

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Existing Home Sales for August, 2007

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

Predicted: 5,500,000
Actual: 5,500,000
Change from Last Month: -4.3%
Change from Last Year: -12.8%

Median Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In August, 2007: $224,500

Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In August, 2007: $269,300

The "actual" figure above represents the preliminary sales count of existing homes, co-ops and condominiums for last 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 September, 2007

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

Predicted: 104.0
Actual: 99.8
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 105.0.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week Thanks to Aggressive Rate Cut by The Fed

Each of the 3 major indexes gained more than two percent this week thanks in no small part to an aggressive, 50 basis point rate cut by the Fed. Crude oil and gold surged, and the dollar lost ground against key currencies like the euro and the Canadian dollar.

2,080,329,040 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA gained 377.67 points (+2.81%), the NASDAQ Composite Index added 69.04 points (+2.653%), and the S and P 500 Index gained 41.50 points (+2.796%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 13,820.19 (+53.49)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,671.22 (+16.93)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,525.75 (+7.00)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $81.62/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $731.00/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7097 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.4091 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 4.75%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.632%

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Leading Economic Indicators for August, 2007

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

Predicted: -0.3%
Actual: -0.6%

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 the 10-year Treasury Note and the Fed Funds

  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 September 15, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on September 15, 2007:

Predicted: 320,000
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, September 19, 2007

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 14, 2007

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 14, 2007 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -3,800,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -6,100,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 318,800,000 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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Housing Starts During August, 2007

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

Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,360,000
Actual: 1,331,000
From Last Month: -2.6%
From One Year Ago: -19.1%

Building Permits:
Actual: 1,307,000
From Last Month: -5.9%
From One Year Ago: -24.5%


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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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August, 2007

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

Predicted: +0.0%
Actual: -0.1%

Below is the CPI when food and energy are subtracted from the equation, also known as the "core CPI":

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.

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The CPI figure for August, 2007: 207.917 (not seasonally-adjusted.)

Change from a year ago: +2.0%

The baseline 100 score is pegged to 1982-1984 data. In other words, consumer prices have more than doubled since the early 80's.

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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, September 18, 2007

Redbook Numbers for The Week of September 15, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on September 15, 2007 were released this morning:

Redbook Sales Figures: +2.3

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 2.3% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in September of 2006.

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

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Producer Price Index (PPI) for August, 2007

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

Predicted: -0.3%
Actual: -1.4%

Below is the PPI when food and energy are subtracted from the equation, also known as the "core PPI":

Predicted: +0.1%
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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Friday, September 14, 2007

All 3 Majors Gained for The Week On Anticipated Rate Cut by The Fed

All 3 major indexes advanced this week, despite crude oil finishing above $79 per barrel, as investors got bullish in anticipation of an expected rate cut by the Fed next week. The price on NY Spot gold closed above the $708 mark.

1,205,539,300 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA gained 329.14 points (+2.51%), the NASDAQ Composite Index added 36.48 points (+1.422%), and the S and P 500 Index gained 30.70 points (+2.112%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 13,442.52 (+17.64)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,602.18 (+1.12)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,484.25 (+0.30)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $79.10/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $708.60/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7207 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3876 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.462%

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Industrial Production for August, 2007

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

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2%

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 82.0%
Actual: 82.2%


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 August, 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 August, 2007 :

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.4
Actual: -0.3%

Export Prices

Actual:
+0.2%

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.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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

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

Predicted: +0.6%
Actual: +0.3%

Minus Auto Sales
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual : -0.4%


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.

Change since last year: +3.7%.

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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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Treasury Budget for August, 2007

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

Predicted: -$75,000,000,000
Actual: -$117,000,000,000

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, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 8, 2007

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on September 8, 2007:

Predicted: 325,000
Actual: 319,000

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, September 12, 2007

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of September 7, 2007

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on September 7, 2007 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: -7,100,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: -5,100,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 332,600,000 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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Redbook Numbers for The Week of September 8, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on September 8, 2007 were released this morning:

Redbook Sales Figures: +2.8

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 2.8% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in September of 2006.

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

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

International Trade Balance Level for July, 2007

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

Predicted: $ -59,500,000,000
Actual: $ -59,200,000,000

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, September 10, 2007

Consumer Credit Status Report for July, 2007 Released Today

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

Actual: +$7,500,000,000 (+3.75%)

The above figures represent the seasonally adjusted, month-to-month change in total outstanding, installment-based consumer credit; includes car loans and credit cards, but does not include real estate-secured loans, like mortgages.

Total Outstanding Consumer Debt in July: $2,441,800,000,000

Click here to view the full Federal Reserve report.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

All 3 Majors Declined On The Week

All 3 major indices shed points this week thanks in no small part to a weak August jobs report. Many on Wall Street shifted their money to the safety of U.S. treasuries: the yield on the 10-year treasury note fell to 4.368%. The price on NY Spot gold surged passed the $700 mark. Crude oil for future delivery closed at $76.70 per barrel.

1,461,574,720 shares were traded @ The New York Stock Exchange® today.

For the week, the DJIA lost 244.36 points, the NASDAQ Composite Index fell by 30.66 points, and the S and P 500 Index lost 20.44 points.

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 13,113.38 (-249.97)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,565.70 (-48.62)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,453.55 (-25.00)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $76.70/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $700.10/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7263 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3768 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 5.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.368%

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Employment Situation Report for August, 2007

The Employment Situation report for August, 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: +0.3%


Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +100K
Actual: -4K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.8 hrs
Actual: 33.8 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 4.7%
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, September 06, 2007

Gasoline Inventories Report for Week of August 31, 2007

The U.S. gasoline inventories report for the week that ended on August 31, 2007 was released this morning:

Change from Last Week: -1,500,000 Barrels

Change from One Year Ago: -15,800,000 Barrels

Current Gasoline Stocks: 191,100,000 Barrels

Diminishing gasoline inventories often translates to higher prices at the pump (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 Q2, 2007 Released Today (Revised)

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its quarterly report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the second quarter of 2007 (revised data):

Non-farm Productivity
Predicted: +2.5%
Actual: +2.6%

Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +1.5%
Actual: +1.4%

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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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Redbook Numbers for The Week of September 1, 2007

The Redbook numbers for the week that ended on September 1, 2007 were released this morning:

Redbook Sales Figures: +2.7

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 2.7% when compared to sales during the corresponding week back in September of 2006.

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

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Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for August, 2007

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

U.S. Job Cuts Announced during August, 2007: 79,459

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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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

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

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

Predicted: 12,000,000
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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Construction Spending during July, 2007

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

Predicted: +0.0%
Actual: -0.4%

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.

Change from one year ago: -2.0%

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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ISM Manufacturing Index for August, 2007

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released their Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) for August, 2007:

Predicted: 53.0%
Actual: 52.9%

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 53.8.

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

The New York Exchanges Are Closed Today

The New York exchanges, including:

The New York Stock Exchange®
The NASDAQ Stock Market®
The American Stock Exchange®
The New York Mercantile Exchange

are closed today in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

All New York exchanges will reopen tomorrow.

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