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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, January 30, 2009

DJIA and S&P 500 Suffer Their Worst January Ever

All 3 major indices declined on the day and the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 Index both suffered their worst January on record. For the month, the DJIA lost 775.53 points (8.837%) while the broader S&P 500 lost 77.37 points (8.566%).

For the week, the DJIA lost 76.70 points (-0.95%), the NASDAQ Composite Index declined by 0.87 point (-0.059%), and the S and P 500 Index lost 6.07 points (-0.73%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 8,000.86 (-148.15)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,476.42 (-31.42)

S and P 500: Closed @ 825.88 (-19.26)

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NYMEX Crude Oil for Future Delivery closed @ $41.68/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $927.10/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7805 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2812 U.S. Dollars

The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 0% - 0.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 2.844%

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Advance" Released Today for Q4, 2008

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

Predicted: -5.4%
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 is the broadest measure of economic activity in 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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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Durable Goods Orders Report for December 2008 Released Today

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

Predicted: -2.0%
Actual: -2.6%

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 December 2008

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

Predicted: 400,000

Actual New Home Sales: 331,000

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Change from One Month Previous: -14.7%

Change from One Year Previous: -44.8%

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Median Price for a New Home during December: $206,500

Average Price for a New Home during December: $246,900

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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of January 24, 2009

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on January 24, 2009:

Predicted: 575,000
Actual: 588,000

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, January 28, 2009

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of January 23, 2009

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on January 23, 2009 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +6,200,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +45,900,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 338,900,000 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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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for January 2009

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for this month (January 2009) was released by The Conference Board this morning:

Predicted: 39.0
Actual: 37.7

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 feelings regarding the U.S. economy, current and future, 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 38.6 (revised.)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Existing Home Sales for December 2008

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

Predicted: 4,400,000
Actual: 4,740,000
Change from One Month Previous: +6.5%
Change from One Year Previous: -3.5%

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 December 2008: $175,400
Change from One Year Previous: -15.3%

Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In December 2008: $216,000
Change from One Year Previous: -15.0%

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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Leading Economic Indicators for December 2008

The Conference Board report on the nation's Leading Economic Indicators for December 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 and Poor's 500 Index
  3. The interest rate spread between the yield on the benchmark 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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Friday, January 23, 2009

All 3 Majors Lost More Than 2% On The Week

Each of the 3 major indices lost more than 2% on the week. For the week, crude oil for future delivery advanced by $9.96 (27.28%) to finish at $46.47 per barrel in New York, despite a marked increase in U.S. stockpiles.

For the week, the DJIA lost 203.66 points (-2.459%), the NASDAQ Composite Index declined by 52.04 points (-3.403%), and the S and P 500 Index lost 18.17 points (-2.137%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 8,077.56 (-45.24)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,477.29 (+11.80)

S and P 500: Closed @ 831.95 (+4.45)

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NYMEX Crude Oil for Future Delivery closed @ $46.47/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $898.30/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7711 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2969 U.S. Dollars

The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 0% - 0.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 2.622%

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of January 16, 2009

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on January 16, 2009 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +6,100,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +43,300,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 332,700,000 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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of January 17, 2009

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on January 17, 2009:

Predicted: 610,000
Actual: 589,000

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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Housing Starts During December 2008

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

Housing Starts:
Predicted: 615,000
Actual: 550,000
Change From Previous Month: -15.5%
Change From One Year Previous: -45.0%

Building Permits:
Actual: 549,000
Change From Previous Month:: -10.7%
Change From One Year Previous: -50.6%


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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Friday, January 16, 2009

All 3 Majors Declined On The Week with The S&P 500 Dropping 4.5%

All 3 major indices declined on the week. Crude oil for future delivery finished the week at $36.51 per barrel in New York.

For the week, the DJIA lost 317.96 points (-3.698%), the NASDAQ Composite Index declined by 42.26 points (-2.689%), and the S and P 500 Index lost 40.23 points (-4.518%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 8,281.22 (+68.73)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,529.33 (+17.49)

S and P 500: Closed @ 850.12 (+6.38)

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NYMEX Crude Oil for Future Delivery closed @ $36.51/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $842.40/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7538 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3266 U.S. Dollars

The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 0% - 0.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 2.304%

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Consumer Sentiment for January 2009

The Consumer Sentiment figure for this month (January 2009):

Predicted: 59.0
Actual: 61.9

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 60.1.

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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2008

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

Predicted: -0.9%
Actual: -0.7%

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

Predicted: +0.1%
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 December 2008: 210.228 (not seasonally adjusted)

Change from 12/2007 through 12/2008: +0.1%

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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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for January 2009

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

Predicted: -35.0
Actual: -24.3

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 -36.1 (revised.)

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 January 10, 2009

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on January 10, 2009:

Predicted: 500,000
Actual: 524,000

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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Producer Price Index (PPI) for December 2008

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

Predicted: -2.0%
Actual: -1.9%

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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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

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

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

Predicted: -1.2%
Actual: -2.7%

Minus Auto and Auto Parts Sales
Predicted: -1.73%
Actual : -3.1%


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.

  • Change from 12 months previous: -9.8%
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, January 09, 2009

All 3 Majors Lost More Than Three Percent On The Week

Each of the 3 major indices lost more than 3% on the week as a diverse group of companies including Alcoa, Walgreens and EMC Corp. announced job cuts. The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls shrank by 524,000 last month while the unemployment rate jumped to 7.2%. Crude oil for future delivery finished the week at $40.83 per barrel in New York.

For the week, the DJIA lost 435.51 points (-4.82%), the NASDAQ Composite Index declined by 60.62 points (-3.714%), and the S and P 500 Index lost 41.45 points (-4.448%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 8,599.18 (-143.28)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,571.59 (-45.42)

S and P 500: Closed @ 890.35 (-19.38)

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NYMEX Crude Oil for Future Delivery closed @ $40.83/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $853.60/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7422 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3473 U.S. Dollars

The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 0% - 0.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 2.407%

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Employment Situation Report for December 2008

The Employment Situation report for December 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: +0.3%


Non-farm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: -500K
Actual: -524K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.5 hrs
Actual: 33.3 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 7.0%
Actual: 7.2%

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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Friday, January 02, 2009

All 3 Majors Gained More Than Six Percent On The Week

Each of the 3 major indexes advanced by more than 6% on the 4-day trading week despite a dismal report on U.S. manufacturing and record low consumer confidence.

For the week, the DJIA gained 519.14 points (+6.096%), the NASDAQ Composite Index added 101.97 points (+6.664%), and the S and P 500 Index advanced by 59.00 points (+6.76%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 9,034.69 (+258.30)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,632.21 (+55.18)

S and P 500: Closed @ 931.80 (+28.55)

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NYMEX Crude Oil for Future Delivery closed @ $46.34/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $874.90/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7183 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.3922 U.S. Dollars

The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 0% - 0.25%

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 2.416%

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ISM Manufacturing Index for December 2008

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

Predicted: 35.5%
Actual: 32.4%

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: A PMI above 50% implies that U.S. manufacturing expanded during the month in question; when it's below 50%, it implies that the manufacturing sector contracted.

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 36.2%

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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