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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Advance" Released Today for Q1, 2008

U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers for the first quarter of 2008 were released this morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis:

Predicted: +0.3%
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 is a very broad measure of economic activity for the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy.

The "advance" estimates are based on data that are incomplete or subject to future revision. Next month, the Commerce Department will release a "preliminary" report for the above-referenced quarter, which will contain more accurate data. A "final" GDP report will be released later this year, which will contain the most accurate and authoritative data on the above-referenced quarter.

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

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for April 2008

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

Predicted: 62.0
Actual: 62.3

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 64.5.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week

All 3 major indexes advanced on the week despite crude oil closing above $118 per barrel and a dispiriting report on consumer sentiment.

For the week, the DJIA added 42.50 points (+0.331%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 19.96 (+0.831%), and the S&P 500 Index rose by 7.51 points (+0.54%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,891.86 (+42.91)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,422.93 (-5.99)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,397.84 (+9.02)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $118.52/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $886.00/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6398 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.563 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.866%

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Consumer Sentiment for April 2008

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

Predicted: 63.2
Actual: 62.6

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 69.5.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of April 19, 2008

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on April 19, 2008:

Predicted: 375,000
Actual: 342,000

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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New Home Sales for March 2008

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

Predicted: 580,000

Actual New Home Sales: 526,000

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Change from One Month Previous: -8.5%

Change from One Year Previous: -36.6%

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Median Price for a New Home during March: $227,600

Average Price for a New Home during March: $292,200

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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Durable Goods Orders Report for March 2008 Released Today

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

Predicted: +0.6%
Actual: -0.3%

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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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Existing Home Sales for March 2008

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

Predicted: 4,950,000
Actual: 4,930,000
Change from One Month Previous: -2.0%
Change from One Year Previous: -19.3%

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 March 2008: $200,700
Change from Last Year: -7.7%

Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In March 2008: $247,700
Change from Last Year: -6.6%

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, April 18, 2008

All 3 Majors Gained Over 4 Percent On The Week

Each of the 3 major indexes gained more than 4% on the week despite crude oil for future delivery closing at more than $116 per barrel today.

For the week, the DJIA added 523.94 points (+4.251%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 112.73 (+4.922%), and the S&P 500 Index rose by 57.50 points (+4.314%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,849.36 (+228.87)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,402.97 (+61.14)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,390.33 (+24.77)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $116.69/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $916.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6327 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5806 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.743%

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Leading Economic Indicators for March 2008

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

The above numbers represent the month-to-month change for the nation's leading economic indicators. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The Leading Economic Indicators Index is a composite of 10 of the nation's economic data releases that's put together by The Conference Board. Statistically, the components listed below have shown a significant increase or decrease before national economic upturns or downturns, respectively:

  1. The Money Supply (M2)

  2. The Standard & 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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Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for April 2008

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

Predicted: -15.0
Actual: -24.9

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 -17.4.

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

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Housing Starts During March, 2008

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released the Housing Starts report for March, 2008:

Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,018,000
Actual: 947,000
From Last Month: -11.9%
From One Year Ago: -36.5%

Building Permits:
Actual: 927,000
From Last Month: -5.8%
From One Year Ago: -40.9%


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 March, 2008

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

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.3%

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 March, 2008: 213.528 (not seasonally adjusted)

Change from 03/2007 through 03/2008: +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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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Producer Price Index (PPI) for March, 2008

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

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +1.1%

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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Monday, April 14, 2008

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

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

Predicted: +0.0%
Actual: +0.2%

Minus Auto Sales
Predicted: +0.2%
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.

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, April 11, 2008

All 3 Majors Lost Over 2 Percent On The Week

Each of the 3 major indexes lost more than 2% on the week. Crude oil for future delivery closed above the $110 per barrel mark.

For the week, the DJIA lost 284.00 points (-2.252%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 80.74 (-3.405%), and the S&P 500 Index lost 37.57 points (-2.742%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,325.42 (-256.56)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,290.24 (-61.46)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,332.83 (-27.72)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $110.14/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $924.90/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6325 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.581 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.471%

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Friday, April 04, 2008

All 3 Majors Advanced by More Than 3 Percent On The Week

Each of the 3 major indexes gained more than 3% on the week despite news that nonfarm payrolls declined by 80,000 last month and the unemployment rate rose to 5.1%.

For the week, the DJIA added 393.02 points (+3.217%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 109.80 (+4.856%), and the S&P 500 Index gained 55.18 points (+4.195%).

Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 12,609.42 (-16.61)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,370.98 (+7.68)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,370.40 (+1.09)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $106.23/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $913.70/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6354 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5738 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.25%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.481%

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Employment Situation Report for March 2008

The Employment Situation report for March 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: +0.281%


Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: -50K
Actual: -80K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.7 hrs
Actual: 33.8 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 5.0%
Actual: 5.1%

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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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

U.S. Factory Orders Report for February 2008

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

Predicted: -0.6%
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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Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for March 2008

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

U.S. Job Cuts Announced during March 2008: 53,579

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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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

ISM Manufacturing Index for March 2008

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

Predicted: 48.0%
Actual: 48.6%

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 48.3%

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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Construction Spending during February 2008

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

Predicted: -1.1%
Actual: -0.3%

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: -3.5%

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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