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Economy

Economic Indicators (USA)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

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

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

Predicted: +2.4%
Actual: +1.9%

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, July 29, 2008

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for July 2008

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

Predicted: 50.0
Actual: 51.9

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 50.4 (revised.)

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Friday, July 25, 2008

The DJIA and S&P 500 Declined On The Week

All 3 major indexes advanced on the day, but only the NASDAQ Composite Index added points on the week. Crude oil for future delivery got cheaper, closing at $123.26 per barrel today.

For the week, the DJIA dropped 125.88 points (-1.095%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 27.75 points (+1.216%), and the S&P 500 Index lost 2.92 points (-0.232%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,370.69 (+21.41)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,310.53 (+30.42)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,257.76 (+5.22)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $123.26/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $928.40/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6366 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5708 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.00%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.111%

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New Home Sales for June 2008

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

Predicted: 505,000

Actual New Home Sales: 530,000

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Change from One Month Previous: -0.6%

Change from One Year Previous: -33.2%

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Median Price for a New Home during June: $230,900

Average Price for a New Home during June: $298,600

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 June 2008 Released Today

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

Predicted: -0.4%
Actual: +0.8%

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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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Existing Home Sales for June 2008

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

Predicted: 4,940,000
Actual: 4,860,000
Change from One Month Previous: -2.6%
Change from One Year Previous: -15.5%

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 June 2008: $215,100
Change from One Year Previous: -6.1%

Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In June 2008: $257,500
Change from One Year Previous: -6.8%

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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Monday, July 21, 2008

Leading Economic Indicators for June 2008

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

Predicted: -0.1%
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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Friday, July 18, 2008

All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week

All 3 major indexes added points on the week as crude oil for future delivery got cheaper, closing below the $130 per barrel mark today.

For the week, the DJIA added 396.03 points (+3.568%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 43.70 points (+1.952%), and the S&P 500 Index advanced by 21.19 points (+1.71%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,496.57 (+49.91)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,282.78 (-29.52)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,260.68 (+0.36)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $128.88/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $954.60/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.631 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5848 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.00%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 4.081%

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Consumer Price Index (CPI) for June 2008

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

Predicted: +0.8%
Actual: +1.1%

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

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

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 June, 2008: 218.815 (not seasonally adjusted)

Change from 06/2007 through 06/2008: +5.0%

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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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Producer Price Index (PPI) for June 2008

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

Predicted: +1.4%
Actual: +1.8%

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

Predicted: +0.3%
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 June 2008

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

Predicted: +0.5%
Actual: +0.1%

Minus Auto Sales
Predicted: +1.0%
Actual : +0.8%


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: +3.0%.

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, July 11, 2008

All 3 Majors Declined On The Week On Jitters Related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

All 3 majors lost value on the day and on the week as investors worried about the health of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Once again, crude oil for future delivery ended the week above $145 per barrel. Both the DJIA and S&P 500 ended the week in bear market territory.

For the week, the DJIA lost 188.00 points (-1.665%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 6.30 points (-0.281%), and the S&P 500 Index fell by 23.41 points (-1.854%).


Since closing with record highs on October 9, 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has now lost 3,063.99 points (21.631%), while the broader S&P 500 Index has lost 325.66 points (20.807%.)


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,100.54 (-128.48)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,239.08 (-18.77)

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,239.49 (-13.90)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $145.08/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $964.60/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6275 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5937 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.00%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.94%

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Friday, July 04, 2008

All 3 Majors Lost Value On The Week As Crude Oil Continued to Climb

All 3 majors lost value on the 4-day trading week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closing in bear market territory. Crude oil for future delivery closed @ $145.29 per barrel earlier today.

For the week, the DJIA lost 57.97 points (-0.511%), the NASDAQ Composite Index lost 70.25 points (-3.034%), and the S&P 500 Index fell by 15.48 points (-1.211%).


Since closing with record highs on October 9, 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has now lost 2,875.99 points (20.304%), while the broader S&P 500 Index has given up 302.25 points (19.311%.)


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 11,288.54 (+73.03)*

NASDAQ: Closed @ 2,245.38 (-6.08)*

S&P 500: Closed @ 1,262.90 (+1.38)*

* = Thursday close.

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $145.29/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $933.60/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.6369 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.5702 U.S. Dollars

The Federal Funds Target Rate is 2.00%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.973%

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Employment Situation Report for June 2008

The Employment Situation report for June 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: +0.3%


Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: -50K
Actual: -62K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.7 hrs
Actual: 33.7 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 5.5%
Actual: 5.5%

Economist, academics, central bankers and investors pay very close attention to the monthly Employment Situation report as it offers penetrating insight as to the current and near-future state of the overall U.S. economy. If a) Americans are earning more money, b) unemployment is low and c) the economy is creating new jobs, this typically translates to more money being pumped into the economy (and vice versa.)

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

Click here to view the full Department of Labor report.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for June 2008

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

U.S. Job Cuts Announced during June 2008: 81,755

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 May 2008

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

Predicted: +0.6%
Actual: +0.6%

The above percentages represent the month-to-month change in orders for both durable and nondurable goods made by from U.S. manufacturers. The "predicted" figure is what economists and Wall Street forecasters were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

ISM Manufacturing Index for June 2008

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

Predicted: 48.7%
Actual: 50.2%

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

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

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

Last month, the PMI was 49.6% (revised.)

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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