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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Friday, February 27, 2009

All 3 Majors Lost More Than 4 Percent On The Week

Each of the 3 major indexes lost more than 4 percent on the week, with new bear-market lows for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500. The DJIA experienced its worst February since 1933.

Shares of DJIA component Citigroup (C) ended the week at $1.50 per share on news that the federal government will increase its stake in the banking giant.

On Tuesday, The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to an all-time record low of 25.0 this month.

For the week, the DJIA shed 302.74 points (-4.11%), the NASDAQ Composite Index declined by 63.39 points (-4.398%), and the S&P 500 Index lost 34.96 points (-4.54%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 7,062.93 (-119.15)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,377.84 (-13.63)

S&P 500: Closed @ 735.09 (-17.74)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $44.76/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $939.60/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7894 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2668 U.S. Dollars

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

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 3.041%

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Consumer Sentiment for February 2009

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

Predicted: 56.0
Actual: 56.3

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 61.2.

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

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

Predicted: -5.4%
Actual: -6.2%

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 actual or real figure. The GDP report is produced by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The final GDP report for Q4 2008, which will contain the most authoritative data for the fourth quarter, will be released on March 26, 2009.

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, February 26, 2009

New Home Sales for January 2009

The January 2009 New Home Sales report was released this morning:

Predicted: 330,000

Actual New Home Sales: 309,000

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Change from One Month Previous: -10.2%

Change from One Year Previous: -48.2%

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Median Price for a New Home during January: $201,100

Average Price for a New Home during January: $234,600

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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of February 21, 2009

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on February 21, 2009:

Predicted: 625,000
Actual: 667,000

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 January 2009

The Durable Goods Orders report for January 2009 was released this morning:

Predicted: -2.5%
Actual: -5.2%

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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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Existing Home Sales for January 2009

The Existing Home Sales report for January 2009 was released by The National Association of Realtors® this morning:

Predicted: 4,800,000
Actual: 4,490,000
Change from One Month Previous: -5.3%
Change from One Year Previous: -8.6%

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 January 2009: $170,300
Change from One Year Previous: -14.8%

Average Price for A Preowned, Single-Family
Home In January 2009: $212,900
Change from One Year Previous: -13.3%

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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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for February 2009

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

Predicted: 35.5
Actual: 25.0

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 37.4 (revised.)

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Friday, February 20, 2009

All 3 Majors Lost More Than 6% On The Week

All 3 major indices lost more than 6% on the week. Earlier today, investors were spooked after U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd said that some American banks may have to be nationalized for a short time. Financial stocks suffered. Shares of Citigroup (C) closed at $1.95 per share, while shares of Bank of America (BAC) closed at $3.79 per share.

Dodd is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

The price on New York Spot Gold moved closer to the $1,000 mark, closing the week at $993.20 per ounce.

For the week, the DJIA shed 484.74 points (-6.175%), the NASDAQ Composite Index declined by 93.13 points (-6.07%), and the S&P 500 Index lost 56.79 points (-6.868%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 7,365.67 (-100.28)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,441.23 (-1.59)

S&P 500: Closed @ 770.05 (-8.89)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $40.03/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $993.20/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7796 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2828 U.S. Dollars

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

10-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 2.772%

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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2009

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2009:

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: +0.1%
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 January 2009: 211.143 (not seasonally adjusted)

Change from 1/2008 through 1/2009: 0.063 (+0.0003%)

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, February 19, 2009

Leading Economic Indicators for January 2009

The Conference Board report on the nation's Leading Economic Indicators for January 2009 was released this morning:

Predicted: 0.0%
Actual: +0.4%

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 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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Producer Price Index (PPI) for January 2009

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for January 2009 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.8%

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

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.4%


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, February 18, 2009

Housing Starts During January 2009

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released the Housing Starts report for January 2009:

Housing Starts:
Predicted: 530,000
Actual: 466,000
Change From Previous Month: -16.8%
Change From One Year Previous: -56.2%

Building Permits:
Actual: 521,000
Change From Previous Month:: -4.8%
Change From One Year Previous: -50.5%


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, February 13, 2009

All 3 Majors Shed More Than 3% On The Week

All 3 major indices lost more than 3% on the week.

For the week, the DJIA shed 430.18 points (-5.195%), the NASDAQ Composite Index declined by 57.35 points (-3.603%), and the S&P 500 Index gave up 41.76 points (-4.808%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 7,850.41 (-82.35)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,534.36 (-7.35)

S&P 500: Closed @ 826.84 (-8.35)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $37.51/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $941.60/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7774 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2863 U.S. Dollars

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

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 2.882%

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Friday, February 06, 2009

All 3 Majors Advanced On The Week Despite Somber Economic Reports

All 3 major indices gained ground on the day and the week despite dismal economic news: consumer spending fell by 1.0% during December, U.S. manufacturing was still in decline during January and the jobless rate jumped to 7.6% last month.

For the week, the DJIA added 279.73 points (+3.496%), the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 115.29 point (+7.809%), and the S&P 500 Index advanced by 42.72 points (+5.173%).


Summary of The U.S. Markets for Today:

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DJIA: Closed @ 8,280.59 (+217.52)

NASDAQ: Closed @ 1,591.71 (+45.47)

S&P 500: Closed @ 868.60 (+22.75)

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NYMEX Crude Oil Future closed @ $40.17/barrel

NY Spot Gold closed @ $911.40/ounce

In New York, The U.S. Dollar buys 0.7727 Euros

In New York, The Euro buys 1.2941 U.S. Dollars

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

Ten-Year Treasury Note Yield is currently @ 2.98%

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Employment Situation Report for January 2009

The Employment Situation report for January 2009 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: -524K
Actual: -598K


Average Workweek
Predicted: 33.3 hrs
Actual: 33.3 hrs


Unemployment Rate
Predicted: 7.5%
Actual: 7.6%

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, February 05, 2009

U.S. Factory Orders Report for December 2008

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

Predicted: -3.0%
Actual: -3.9%

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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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of January 31, 2009

Earlier today, the Labor Department released the New Unemployment Insurance Claims report for the week that ended on January 31, 2009:

Predicted: 583,000
Actual: 626,000

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, February 04, 2009

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of January 30, 2009

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on January 30, 2009 was released this morning:

Weekly Change: +7,200,000 Barrels

Yearly Change: +46,100,000 Barrels

Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 346,100,000 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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Challenger Report on Corporate Layoffs for January 2009

Earlier today, the outplacement company Challenger released their report on corporate layoffs for January 2009:

U.S. Corporate Job Cuts Announced during January 2009: 241,749

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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Monday, February 02, 2009

Personal Income & Consumer Spending Report for December 2008

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

Personal Consumption Expenditures
(a.k.a. Consumer Spending)
Predicted: -0.9%
Actual: -1.0%

Personal Income
Predicted: -0.4%
Actual: -0.2%

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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Construction Spending during December 2008

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

Predicted: -1.2%
Actual: -1.4%

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: -3.6%

Click here to view the full Census Bureau report.

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ISM Manufacturing Index for January 2009

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released their Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) for January 2009:

Predicted: 32.6%
Actual: 35.6%

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: 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.

During the prior month, the PMI was 32.9% (revised.)

Click here to view the complete ISM report.

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