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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, March 28, 2008

All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week

News that consumer spending increased by a tepid 0.1% last month contributed to declines for each of the 3 major indexes today. On the week, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S and P 500 Index declined, while the NASDAQ Composite advanced.

For the week, the DJIA lost 144.92 points (-1.172%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 3.07 (+0.136%), and the S and P 500 Index lost 14.29 points (-1.075%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,216.40 (-86.06)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,261.18 (-19.65)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,315.22 (-10.54)

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NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Future closed @ $105.62/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $930.90/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6331 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5796 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.466%

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Consumer Sentiment for March 2008

The Consumer Sentiment figure for this month (March 2008):

Predicted: 70.0
Actual: 69.5

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 70.8.

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Personal Income & Consumer Spending Report for February 2008

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

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

Personal Income
Predicted: +0.3%
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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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Final" Released Today for Q4, 2007

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

Predicted: +0.6%
Actual: +0.6%

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, 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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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Durable Goods Orders Report for February 2008 Released Today

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

Predicted: +0.7%
Actual: -1.7%

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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Durable Goods Orders Report for February 2008 Released Today

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

Predicted: +0.7%
Actual: -1.7%

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 February 2008

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

Predicted: 575,000

Actual New Home Sales: 590,000

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Change from One Month Previous: -1.8%
Change from One Year Previous: -29.8%

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Median Price for a New Home during February: $244,100
Average Price for a New Home during February: $296,400

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Click here for historical prices and a chart.


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Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the monthly New Home Sales report measures the number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for a given month.

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

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

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

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for March, 2008

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

Predicted: 73.0
Actual: 64.5

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

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

The baseline "100" score for the CCI is linked to 1985 survey data.

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

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

The CCI is almost always released on the last Tuesday of the month.

Last month, the CCI was 75.0.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Existing Home Sales for February 2008

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

Predicted: 4,850,000
Actual: 5,030,000

Change from One Month Previous: +2.9%
Change from One Year Previous: -23.8%

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.

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Median Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In February 2008: $195,900
Change from Last Year: -8.2%

Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In February 2008: $241,900
Change from Last Year: -7.0%

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Click here for historical prices and a chart.


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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, March 21, 2008

All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week

Each of the 3 major indexes enjoyed strong gains on the 4-day trading week. Wall Street was expecting the Fed to cut short-term rates by 100 basis points on Tuesday, but the FOMC opted instead for 75. The shallower-than-expected cut to interest rates helped to strengthen the dollar and caused commodities like gold and crude oil to decline. For the week, crude oil for future delivery fell by $8.37 (7.595%) to close at $101.84 per barrel, while New York Spot Gold declined by $92.40 (9.217%) to finish at $910.10 per ounce.

For the week, the DJIA gained 410.23 points (+3.433%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained $45.62 (+2.062%), and the S and P 500 Index added 41.37 points (+3.212%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,361.32 (+261.66)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,258.11 (+48.15)

S and P 500: Closed @ 1,329.51 (+31.09)

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NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Future closed @ $101.84/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $910.10/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.648 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5432 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.328%

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for March, 2008

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its diffuse index of current manufacturing conditions for this month (March):

Predicted: -20.0
Actual: -17.4

The "actual" figure above is an index of current manufacturing conditions within the Federal Reserve's Third District, which includes eastern Pennsylvania, all of Delaware and the southern half of New Jersey. Any figure below zero implies that manufacturing in the region is contracting, 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 Philadelphia Fed report.

Last month, the actual figure was -24.0.

For a national perspective of manufacturing conditions, check out the Institute of Supply Management's Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI).

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 15, 2008

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on March 15, 2008:

Predicted: 360,000
Actual: 378,000

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.

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Leading Economic Indicators for February, 2008

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

Predicted: -0.3%
Actual: -0.3%

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, March 18, 2008

Producer Price Index (PPI) for February, 2008

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

Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.3%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.5%


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, March 14, 2008

On The Week: DJIA Advanced, S&P 500 Declined and The NASDAQ Composite Moved Sideways

For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) advanced, the S&P 500 Index declined while the NASDAQ Composite was unchanged as commodities like crude oil and gold surged. Crude oil for future delivery ended the week at $110.21 per barrel, while New York Spot Gold finished at $1,002.50 per ounce.

For the week, the DJIA gained 57.40 points (+0.483%), the NASDAQ Composite Index was unchanged (+0.00%), and the S&P 500 Index declined by 5.23 points (-0.404%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,951.09 (-194.65)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,212.49 (-51.12)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,288.14 (-27.34)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $110.21/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $1,002.50/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.638 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5674 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 3.0%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.421%

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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February, 2008

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

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.0%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.0%

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 February, 2008: 211.693 (not seasonally adjusted)

Change from 02/2007 through 02/2008: +4.0%

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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Thursday, March 13, 2008

U.S. Retail & Food Services Sales Report for February, 2008

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: -0.6%

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


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: +2.6%.

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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Friday, March 07, 2008

All 3 Majors Declined On Both The Day and The Week On Bleak Jobs Report

All 3 major indexes lost ground on both the day and the week. The week began with discouraging news related to U.S. manufacturing, and ended with a dismal jobs report. Crude oil for future delivery ended the week at $105.15 per barrel, while the price on New York Spot Gold eased a bit.

For the week, the DJIA lost 372.70 points (-3.038%), the NASDAQ Composite Index fell by 58.99 points (-2.597%), and the S&P 500 Index declined by 37.26 points (-2.80%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,893.69 (-146.70)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,212.49 (-8.01)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,293.37 (-10.97)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $105.15/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $972.40/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6512 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5356 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 3.0%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.541%

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Employment Situation Report for February, 2008

The Employment Situation report for February, 2008 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.282%


Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +25K
Actual: -63K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.7 hrs
Actual: 33.7 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 5.0%
Actual: 4.8%

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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Monday, March 03, 2008

ISM Manufacturing Index for February, 2008

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

Predicted: 48.1%
Actual: 48.3%

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 50.7% (revised.)

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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