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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for September 2008

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for this month (September 2008) was released by The Conference Board this morning:

Predicted: 55.0
Actual: 59.8

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 56.9

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Personal Income & Consumer Spending Report for August 2008

Earlier today, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis released their report on Consumer Spending and Personal Income during August 2008:

Personal Consumption Expenditures
(a.k.a. Consumer Spending)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: + less than 0.1%

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.2%
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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Friday, September 26, 2008

All 3 Majors Declined On The Week

All 3 majors lost points on the week. Congress rejected the Bush administration's $700 billion plan to purchase Wall Street's bad debt; investors reacted to the failed initiative by selling equities. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell by 777.68 points (6.98%) while the S and P 500 lost 106.62 points (8.79%).

For the week, the DJIA shed 245.31 points (-2.154%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 90.56 points (-3.983%), and the S&P 500 Index fell by 42.07 points (-3.352%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,143.13 (+121.07)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,183.34 (-3.23)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,213.01 (+3.83)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $106.89/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $877.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6843 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.4614 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.00%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.827%

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Final" Released Today for Q2, 2008

The final, real U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for the second quarter of 2008 was released this morning:

Predicted: +3.3%
Actual: +2.8%

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, 2008.

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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Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 20, 2008

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on September 20, 2008:

Predicted: 445,000
Actual: 493,000

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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Durable Goods Orders Report for August 2008 Released Today

The Durable Goods Orders report for August 2008 was released this morning:

Predicted: -1.6%
Actual: -4.5%

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, airplanes, 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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New Home Sales for August 2008

The August 2008 New Home Sales report was released this morning:

Predicted: 510,000

Actual New Home Sales: 460,000

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Change from One Month Previous: -11.5%

Change from One Year Previous: -34.5%

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Median Price for a New Home during August: $221,900

Average Price for a New Home during August: $263,900

Click here for historical prices and a chart.

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 24, 2008

Existing Home Sales for August 2008

The Existing Home Sales report for August 2008 was released by The National Association of RealtorsĀ® this morning:

Predicted: 4,920,000
Actual: 4,910,000
Change from One Month Previous: -2.2%
Change from One Year Previous: -10.7%

The "actual" figure above represents the preliminary, seasonally adjusted annual 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.

Median Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In August 2008: $203,100
Change from One Year Previous: -9.5%

Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In August 2008: $245,400
Change from One Year Previous: -8.9%

Click here for historical prices and a chart.

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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Friday, September 19, 2008

The NASDAQ and S&P 500 Advanced On The Week

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was the only one of the 3 major indexes to decline on the week. Merrill Lynch will be acquired by Bank of America, while Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The federal government is taking a 79.9% equity stake in conglomerate American International Group (AIG) in exchange for a two-year, $85 billion loan.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the only two major independent investment banks left on Wall Street, are set to become bank holding companies.

Effective Monday, AIG will no longer be a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA); AIG will be replaced by Kraft Foods (KFT).

Treasury secretary Henry Paulson has asked Congress to support a plan aimed at stabilizing domestic and global markets in which the federal government would spend around $700 billion to purchase undesirable mortgage-backed securities and other toxic loans.

On the week, the price on New York Spot Gold increased by $108.10 (14.155%).

For the week, the DJIA shed 33.55 points (-0.294%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 12.63 points (+0.559%), and the S and P 500 Index added 3.38 points (+0.272%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,388.44 (+368.75)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,273.90 (+74.80)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,255.08 (+48.57)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $104.55/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $871.80/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6913 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.4466 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.00%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.769%

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Leading Economic Indicators for August 2008

The Conference Board report on the nation's Leading Economic Indicators for August 2008 was released this morning:

Predicted: -0.2%
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 & Poor's 500 Index

  3. The interest rate spread between the yield on the 10-year Treasury Note 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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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August 2008

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August 2008:

Predicted: -0.1%
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 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 "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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The CPI figure for August 2008: 219.086 (not seasonally adjusted)

Change from 08/2007 through 08/2008: +5.4%

The baseline 100 score is pegged to 1982-1984 data. In other words, in general, 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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Monday, September 15, 2008

Industrial Production for August, 2008

The Industrial Production numbers for August, 2008 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: -0.3%
Actual: -1.1%

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 79.5%
Actual: 78.7%


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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Friday, September 12, 2008

All 3 Majors Added Points On The Week On Cheaper Crude Oil

All 3 major indexes advanced on the week as crude oil got cheaper. Investors were concerned about the health of Lehman Brothers, America's fourth largest investment bank.

For the week, the DJIA added 201.03 points (+1.792%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 5.39 points (+0.239%), and the S and P 500 Index advanced by 9.39 points (+0.756%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,421.99 (-11.72)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,261.27 (+3.05)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,251.70 (+2.65)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $101.18/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $763.70/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7029 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.4226 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.00%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.73%

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Producer Price Index (PPI) for August 2008

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for August 2008 was released this morning:

Predicted: -0.5%
Actual: -0.9%

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

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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U.S. Retail & Food Services Sales Report for August 2008

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for August 2008:

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: -0.3%

Minus Auto Sales
Predicted: -0.2%
Actual : -0.9%


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 from 12 months previous: +1.6%.

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 11, 2008

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of September 6, 2008

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on September 6, 2008:

Predicted: 440,000
Actual: 445,000

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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Import and Export Price Indexes for August 2008

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on US Import and Export Price Indexes for August 2008:

Import Prices
Predicted: -1.7%
Actual: -3.7%

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Export Prices
Actual:
-1.7%


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.

Click here to view the full Labor Department report.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

All 3 Majors Retreated On The Week

All 3 major indices retreated on the week despite cheaper crude oil and a stronger dollar. Earlier today, the Labor Department reported that the jobless rate jumped to 6.1% last month, while non-farm payrolls declined by 84,000.

For the week, the DJIA lost 322.59 points (-2.795%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 111.64 points (-4.715%), and the S and P 500 Index shed 40.52 points (-3.159%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,220.96 (+32.73)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,255.88 (-3.16)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,242.31 (+5.48)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $106.23/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $802.90/ounce

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

In New York, The Euro buys 1.4267 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.00%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.66%

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Employment Situation Report for August 2008

The Employment Situation report for August 2008 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: -75K
Actual: -84K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.7 hrs
Actual: 33.7 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 5.8%
Actual: 6.1%

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 04, 2008

Productivity and Labor Cost Report for Q2 2008 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 2008 (revised data):

Non-farm Productivity
Predicted: +3.3%
Actual: +4.3%

Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: -0.3%
Actual: -0.5%

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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of August 30, 2008

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on August 30, 2008:

Predicted: 420,000
Actual: 444,000

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 03, 2008

Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for August 2008

Earlier today, the outplacement company Challenger released their report on corporate layoffs for August 2008:

U.S. Job Cuts Announced during August 2008: 88,736

If corporate layoffs are high, consumer spending may decline, since there would be fewer 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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U.S. Factory Orders Report for July 2008

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories & Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for July 2008:

Predicted: +0.8%
Actual: +1.3%

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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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

ISM Manufacturing Index for August 2008

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released their Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) for August 2008:

Predicted: 49.9%
Actual: 49.9%

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 50.0% (revised.)

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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Construction Spending during July 2008

Earlier today, the U.S. Census Bureau -- which is part of the U.S. Commerce Department -- released the Construction Spending report for July 2008:

Predicted: -0.3%
Actual: -0.6%

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 previous: -4.8%

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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