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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Monday, April 30, 2018

PCE Price Index + Personal Income + Consumer Spending Report for March 2018

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its report on The PCE Price Index, Consumer Spending and Personal Income for March 2018:

Consumer Spending (Personal Consumption Expenditures)
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.4%

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Personal Income
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.3%

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Disposable Personal Income:  +0.3%

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The highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in Consumer Spending (aka Personal Consumption Expenditures), Personal Income and Disposable Personal Income for the entire United States.


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=====================

Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index
Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: 0.0%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +2.0%
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Core PCE Price Index
( = PCE Price Index minus food and energy)
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

  • Change from 12 months previous: +1.9%
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The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in the prices associated with domestic personal consumption.  The PCE Price Index is different from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in that it is a very broad measure of the prices associated with domestic products and services, while the CPI measures a more limited fixed basket of goods and services.

The broad nature of the PCE Price Index is key to why it is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation.  The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) pays very close attention to it.

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The "predicted" figures are what economists were expecting, while the "actual" figures are the true or real figure.


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Friday, April 27, 2018

Employment Cost Index for Q1, 2018

The Employment Cost Index (ECI) for the first quarter of 2018 was released by The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Predicted: +0.7%
Actual: +0.8%

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  • Reading from previous quarter: +0.6%
     
  • Change from 12 months previous (Y/Y): +2.7%

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The yellow-highlighter figure represents the quarter-to-quarter change for the ECI, which is the Labor Department's broadest measure of employee-compensation costs, and includes wages, salaries and benefits.

==================

  • Wages and Salaries: +0.9%

  • Benefits: +0.7%
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From the Labor Department website:


"...The Employment Cost Index (ECI) measures the change in the cost of labor, free from the influence of employment shifts among occupations and industries..."

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  • The ECI report for the second quarter of 2018 will be released on July 31, 2018.

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP): First Estimate for Q1, 2018

The U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "Advance" (first estimate) report for the first quarter of 2018 was released this morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

Predicted: +2.0%
Actual: +2.3%

The yellow-highlighted figure represents the quarter-to-quarter change in real gross domestic product for the entire United States.

The GDP is the broadest measure of economic activity in the entire United States, covering all sectors of the economy.

The "advance" estimate is based on data that are subject to future revision.

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Q1 2018 - First Estimate
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Q1 2018 - First Estimate

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  • On May 30, 2018, the Commerce Department will release a "preliminary" GDP report for Q1 2018, which will contain a second estimate (more accurate data.)

  • On June 28, 2018, a "final" GDP report will be released by the BEA, which will contain the government's third and best estimate for Q1 2018.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of April 21, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on April 21, 2018:

Predicted: 230,000
Actual: 209,000

The yellow-highlighted figure represents the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

  • Previous Week (revised): 233,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 229,250
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From today's report:

 "...This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202,000..."

"...Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal..."

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of April 20, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on April 20, 2018 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +2,200,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -99,000,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 429,700,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).



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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for April 2018

The Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) for this month (April 2018) was released by The Conference Board® this morning:

Predicted: 126.1
Actual: 128.7

================

Previous Month (revised): 127.0.

================

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

From Today's Report:

"...'Consumer confidence increased moderately in April after a decline in March,' said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 'Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved somewhat, with consumers rating both business and labor market conditions quite favorably. Consumers’ short-term expectations also improved, with the percent of consumers expecting their incomes to decline over the coming months reaching its lowest level since December 2000 (6.0 percent). Overall, confidence levels remain strong and suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the months ahead.'

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved modestly in April. The percentage saying business conditions are 'good' decreased from 37.6 percent to 35.2 percent, however those claiming business conditions are 'bad' also decreased, from 13.3 percent to 11.3 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also mixed. The percentage of consumers claiming jobs are 'plentiful' declined from 39.5 percent to 38.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are 'hard to get' also declined, from 15.7 percent to 15.2 percent.

Consumers were moderately more positive about the short-term outlook in April. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 23.2 percent to 24.5 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 10.2 percent to 9.7 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more positive. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.9 percent to 19.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs remained at 12.5 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement was virtually unchanged at 23.1 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 7.2 percent to 6.8 percent.
.."

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 associated with 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 usually released on the last Tuesday of the month.




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New Home Sales During March 2018

The March 2018 New Home Sales report was released by the Commerce Department this morning:

Predicted: 630,000
Actual New Home Sales: 694,000

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Change from One Month Previous: +4.0%

Change from One Year Previous: +8.8%

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Median Price for a New Home during March 2018: $337,200

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Average Price for a New Home during March 2018: $369,900


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New Home Sales - March 2018
New Home Sales - March 2018

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Compiled jointly by the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the yellow-highlighted figure above is the seasonally adjusted and annualized number of newly-built homes with committed buyers for the indicated month.

The "predicted" figure is what economists 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, microwave ovens, etc.


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Monday, April 23, 2018

Existing Home Sales During March 2018

The Existing Home Sales report for March 2018 was released by The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) this morning:

Predicted: 5,513,000
Actual: 5,600,000

  •  Change from Previous Month: +1.1%
  •  Change from One Year Previous: -1.2%
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Inventory: 1,670,000 (3.6 months supply)

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The yellow-highlighted, "actual" figure above represents the preliminary, seasonally adjusted annualized sales count of existing homes, co-ops and condominiums for the indicated month. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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Median Price for A Used Home During March: $250,400

Change from One Year Previous: +5.8%

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Average Price for A Used Home During March: $290,100

Change from One Year Previous: +4.1%

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From today's report:

"...Despite consistently low inventory levels and faster price growth, existing-home sales bounced back in February after two straight months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sizeable sales increases in the South and West offset declines in the Northeast and Midwest.

Total existing-home sales -- https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales -- which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million in February from 5.38 million in January. After last month’s increase, sales are now 1.1 percent above a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales were uneven across the country in February but did increase nicely overall. 'A big jump in existing sales in the South and West last month helped the housing market recover from a two-month sales slump,' he said. 'The very healthy U.S. economy and labor market are creating a sizeable interest in buying a home in early 2018. However, even as seasonal inventory gains helped boost sales last month, home prices – especially in the West – shot up considerably. Affordability continues to be a pressing issue because new and existing housing supply is still severely subpar.'

See and share an infographic about home buyer and seller trends.

Added Yun, 'The unseasonably cold weather to start the year muted pending sales in the Northeast and Midwest in January and ultimately led to their sales retreat last month. Looking ahead, several markets in the Northeast will likely see even more temporary disruptions from the large winter storms that have occurred in March.'

The median existing-home price for all housing types in February was $241,700, up 5.9 percent from February 2017 ($228,200). February’s price increase marks the 72nd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 4.6 percent to 1.59 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 8.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.73 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 33 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace (3.8 months a year ago).

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage moved higher for the fifth straight month to 4.33 percent in February (highest since 4.34 percent in April 2014) from 4.03 percent in January. The average commitment rate for all of 2017 was 3.99 percent.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 37 days in February, which is down from 41 days in January and 45 days a year ago. Forty-six percent of homes sold in February were on the market for less than a month.

'Mortgage rates are at their highest level in nearly four years, at a time when home prices are still climbing at double the pace of wage growth,' said Yun. 'Homes for sale are going under contract a week faster than a year ago, which is quite remarkable given weakening affordability conditions and extremely tight supply. To fully satisfy demand, most markets right now need a substantial increase in new listings.'

Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index , measuring time-on-the-market data and listings views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in February were San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.; Midland, Texas; Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; and Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Calif.

First-time buyers were 29 percent of sales in February, which is unchanged from last month and down from 31 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2017 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34 percent.

NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty, says first-time buyers are seeing stiff competition for the available listings in their price range. 'Realtors® in several markets note that entry-level homes for first-timers are hard to come by, which is contributing to their underperforming share of overall sales to start the year.' she said. 'Prospective buyers should start conversations with a Realtor® now on what they want in a new home. Even with the expected uptick in new listings in coming months, buyers in most markets will likely have to act fast on any available listing that checks all their boxes.'

All-cash sales were 24 percent of transactions in February, which is up from 22 percent in January and the highest since last February (27 percent). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in February, which is down from 17 percent in January and unchanged from a year ago.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 4 percent of sales in February, down from 5 percent in January and 7 percent a year ago. Three percent of February sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales..."

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  • The monthly Existing Home Sales report is released on or around the 25TH day of each month.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Leading Economic Index for March 2018

The Conference Board® released its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for March 2018 this morning:

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Index for March: 109.0 (The baseline 100 score is associated with 2016 data.)

Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.276%

  • Previous Month: 108.7 (+0.741%)

  • Two Months Previous: 107.9 (+0.841%)

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The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the month-to-month change for the index.  The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

The LEI 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:

  1. The Standard + Poor's 500 Index

  2. Average weekly claims for unemployment insurance

  3. Building permits for new private housing

  4. The interest rate spread between the yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury Note and Federal Funds

  5. ISM® Index of New Orders

  6. Manufacturer's new orders for consumer goods or materials

  7. Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders

  8. Average weekly manufacturing hours

  9. Average consumer expectations for business conditions

  10. Leading Credit Index™

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Leading Economic Index for March 2018
Leading Economic Index for March 2018


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From Today's Report:

"...'The U.S. LEI increased in March, and while the monthly gain is slower than in previous months, its six-month growth rate increased further and points to continued solid growth in the U.S. economy for the rest of the year,' said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. 'The strengths among the components of the leading index have been very widespread over the last six months. However, labor market components made negative contributions in March and bear watching in the near future.'..."

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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of April 14, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on April 14, 2018:

Predicted: 230,000
Actual: 232,000

The yellow-highlighted figure represents the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

  • Previous Week (unrevised): 233,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 231,250
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From today's report:

"...Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal..."

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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of April 13, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on April 13, 2018 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: -1,100,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -104,800,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 427,600,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).




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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Industrial Production + Manufacturing + Capacity Utilization During March 2018

The Industrial Production, Manufacturing and Capacity Utilization numbers for March 2018 were released by the Federal Reserve this morning:

Industrial Production:
Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.5%

Manufacturing:
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.1%

The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in manufacturing, and physical output from mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States.

Capacity Utilization Rate:
Predicted: 78.0%
Actual: 78.0

The Capacity Utilization Rate represents the use of available resources at mining operations, utility plants and factories for the entire United States last month.

The "predicted" figures are what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

From today's report:

"...Industrial production rose 0.5 percent in March after increasing 1.0 percent in February; the index advanced 4.5 percent at an annual rate for the first quarter as a whole. After having climbed 1.5 percent in February, manufacturing production edged up 0.1 percent in March. Mining output rose 1.0 percent, mostly as a result of gains in oil and gas extraction and in support activities for mining. The index for utilities jumped 3.0 percent after being suppressed in February by warmer-than-normal temperatures. At 107.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 4.3 percent higher in March than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector moved up 0.3 percentage point in March to 78.0 percent, a rate that is 1.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average..."




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Housing Starts During March 2018

The U.S. Commerce Department this morning released its Housing Starts report for March 2018:

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Housing Starts:
Predicted: 1,264,000
Actual: 1,319,000

Change From Previous Month: +1.9%
Change From One Year Previous: +10.9%

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Building Permits:
Predicted: 1,315,000
Actual: 1,354,000

Change From Previous Month: +2.5%
Change From One Year Previous: +7.5%

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Housing Starts: The top, yellow-highlighted figure is a measure of initial construction of single and multi-family residential units in the United States for the indicated month.  Seasonally adjusted annual rate.  The "predicted" figure is what economists 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 residential construction industry in general, then you should pay attention to the monthly Housing Starts report. This 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.


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Housing Starts - March 2018
Housing Starts - March 2018
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Monday, April 16, 2018

U.S. Retail And Food Services Sales Report for March 2018

The Commerce Department this morning released advanced estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services Sales for March 2018:

Predicted: +0.4%
Actual: +0.6%

The yellow-highlighted percentage represents the month-to-month change in total sales receipts for retailers that sell durable and non-durable goods, and retailers that provide food and beverage services.

=================

-- Previous Month (revised): -0.1%

-- Estimated Retail Sales During March: $494,600,000,000

-- Change from 12 Months Previous: +4.5%

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


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Saturday, April 14, 2018

All 3 Major Stock Market Indices Advanced On The Week

Summary of U.S. Markets for the Week Ending April 13, 2018:

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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed @ 24,360.14:

- added 427.38 points (+1.786%) on the week.
- lost 2,256.57 points (-8.478%) since the January 26, 2018 record-high close (26,616.71.)

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S and P 500 Index closed @ 2,656.30:

- added 51.83 points (+1.99%) on the week.
- lost 216.57 points (-7.538%) since the January 26, 2018 record-high close (2,872.87.)

--------------------------- 

NASDAQ Composite Index closed @ 7,106.65:

- added 191.54 points (+2.77%) on the week.
- lost 481.67 points (-6.348%) since the March 12, 2018 record-high close (7,588.32.)

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- NYMEX Crude Oil for Future Delivery closed @ $67.39 per barrel

- Comex Gold for April delivery closed @ $1,347.90 per ounce

- In New York, the U.S. dollar buys 0.81103 euros

- In New York, the euro buys 1.2330 U.S. dollars

- The United States Prime Rate is 4.75%

- The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 1.50% - 1.75%

- The yield on the 10-Year Treasury Note is currently @ 2.82%


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Standard and Poor's 500 Index Chart Through April 13, 2018
Standard and Poor's 500 Index Chart Through April 13, 2018

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for February 2018

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for February 2018 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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Job Openings

Predicted: 6,143,000
Actual:    6,052,000

  • Previous Month (revised): 6,228,000

  • One Year Previous: 5,618,000

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Hires: 5,507,000

Total Separations: 5,192,000

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The above, yellow-highlighted percentage represents the estimated number of job openings in the United States during the indicated month. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

Here's how the Labor Department defines Total Separations:

"Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm."

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Import and Export Price Indexes for March 2018

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released its report on U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes for March 2018:

Import Prices
Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: 0.0%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.6%

===============

Export Prices
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.3%

Change From 12 Months Previous: +3.4%

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The above percentages, highlighted in yellow, represent the month-to-month change in prices for:

  • Imports: the cost of goods produced in other countries and sold in the United States.
  • Exports: the cost of goods produced in the USA and sold in other countries.

Together, these indexes offer insight into the status of inflation in the United States, and for the global economy as well. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.



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New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of April 7, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on April 7, 2018:

Predicted: 230,000
Actual: 233,000

The yellow-highlighted figure represents the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

  • Previous Week (unrevised): 242,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 230,000
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From today's report:

"...Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal..."

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of April 6, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on April 6, 2018 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: +3,300,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -104,700,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 428,600,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for March 2018

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index (SBOI) for March 2018:

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Predicted: 107.0
Actual: 104.7

  • Change from Previous Month: -2.695% (-2.9 points)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: 0% (0 point)

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The previous month's SBOI reading was 107.6.

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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - March 2018
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - March 2018

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Small Business Outlook - March 2018
Small Business Outlook - March 2018

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From today's report:


"...The small business optimism index reached its 16th consecutive month in the top five percent of 45 years of survey readings, according to the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends survey, released today. The 104.7 March reading, down from 107.6 in February, remains among the highest in survey history and for the first time since 1982, taxes received the fewest number of votes as the number one problem. Taxes as the number one problem has declined since November 2017, the month before the tax bill passed, from 22 percent to 13 percent in March.

'It has been a remarkable 16 months for small business optimism,' said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. 'This is the first time in 35 years where the fewest number of small business owners have told us that taxes are their number one business problem. They’ve been so optimistic that they feel confident enough to raise wages and invest in their business, which grows the economy.'

Survey components include a net 20 percent of owners are planning to create jobs, up two points from last month. Reports of improved earnings trends were the second best since 1987. Twenty-eight percent believe now is a good time to expand, down four points from February but continues a solid reading.

Small business owners expecting better business conditions fell 11 points to a net 32 percent and expected sales fell to a net 20 percent, though both remain at historically high levels.

'Although expected sales and expected business conditions posted large declines, it was from historically high levels and this still left the overall Index reading among the 20 best in survey history,' said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. 'Hiring and spending on new buildings and land acquisition remained at strong levels, a good sign of confidence in economic prospects.'

Twenty-six percent plan capital outlays in the next few months, down three points from February. Plans were the most frequent in manufacturing, where there is a demand for productivity-enhancing investments. A seasonally-adjusted net eight percent of owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months.

As reported in NFIB’s Jobs Report on Thursday, labor quality remains as the top issue facing small business owners, with 89 percent of those hiring or trying to hire reporting few or no qualified applicants. Down one point from February, 21 percent selected Finding Qualified Labor as their top business problem, above taxes, weak sales, or the cost of regulations as their top challenge. A net 19 percent reported plans to raise compensation in response to the tight labor market.

'Small businesses have led the economy to what appears to become 12 months of three percent GDP growth,' said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. 'It is evident that the small business sector has responded positively to the current management in Washington and its economic policies.'

Profit trends declined one point to a net negative four percent reporting quarter on quarter profit improvements, one of the best readings in survey history. Reports of earnings gains surged 11 points in January and hasn’t gone down since..."

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  • Small business survey questions can be found at the end of today's report.
  • The baseline "100" score is associated with 1986 survey data.
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Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2018

Earlier this morning, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2018:

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Predicted: 0.0%
Actual: -0.1%

(Change from 12 months previous: +2.4%)

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Below is the CPI when food and energy are removed, also known as core CPI:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.2%

(Change from 12 months previous: +2.1%)

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The above, yellow-highlighted figures 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 were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

General categories that constitute the CPI are:

  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Food and Beverages
  • Recreation
  • Miscellaneous Goods and Services (grooming expenses, etc.)



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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for March 2018

The Producer Price Index - Final Demand (PPI-FD) for March 2018 was released this morning:

Predicted: +0.1%
Actual: +0.3%

Change from 12 months previous: +3.0%

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Below is the PPI-FD when food and energy are removed:

Predicted: +0.2%
Actual: +0.3%

Change from 12 months previous: +2.7%

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The above, yellow-highlighted percentages represent the month-to-month change in prices received by domestic producers of goods and services, for goods, services and construction in the United States, for final demand.

Final Demand = personal consumption (consumers), exports, government purchases and capital investment.

The PPI-FD is released by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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




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Friday, April 06, 2018

All 3 Major Stock Market Indices Lost Ground On The Week

Summary of U.S. Markets for the Week Ending April 6, 2018:

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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed @ 23,932.76:

- lost 170.35 points (-0.7068%) on the week.
- lost 2,683.95 points (-10.084%) since the January 26, 2018 record-high close (26,616.71.)

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S and P 500 Index closed @ 2,604.47:

- lost 36.40 points (-1.378%) on the week.
- lost 268.40 points (-9.343%) since the January 26, 2018 record-high close (2,872.87.)

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NASDAQ Composite Index closed @ 6,915.11:

- lost 148.33 points (-2.1%) on the week.
- lost 673.21 points (-8.872%) since the March 12, 2018 record-high close (7,588.32.)

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- NYMEX Crude Oil for Future Delivery closed @ $62.06 per barrel

- Comex Gold for April delivery closed @ $1,336.10 per ounce

- In New York, the U.S. dollar buys 0.81420 euros

- In New York, the euro buys 1.2282 U.S. dollars

- The United States Prime Rate is 4.75%

- The Target Range for the Fed Funds Rate is 1.50% - 1.75%

- The yield on the 10-Year Treasury Note is currently @ 2.77%


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Standard and Poor's 500 Index Chart Through April 6, 2018
Standard and Poor's 500 Index Chart Through April 6, 2018

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Employment Situation Report for March 2018

The Employment Situation Report for March 2018 was released by The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:

Nonfarm Payrolls (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +175,000
Actual: +103,000


U-3 Unemployment Rate (Headline)
Actual: 4.1%
Previous Month: 4.1%
12 Months Ago: 4.5%

U-6 Unemployment Rate*
Actual: 8.0%
Previous Month: 8.2%
12 Months Ago: 8.8%

Average Hourly Earnings (month-to-month change)
Predicted: +0.3%
Actual: +0.2992%

Average Hourly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Predicted: +2.7%
Actual: +2.7193%

Average Weekly Earnings (year-on-year change)
Actual: +3.3186%

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.9%
Previous Month: 63.0%

Average Workweek
Predicted: 34.5 hours
Actual: 34.5 hours

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 and b) 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 were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

From today's report:

"...In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $26.82 [+0.2992%]. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or [2.7193%]. Average hourly earnings for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $22.42 [+0.1787%] in March.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised down from +239,000 to +176,000, and the change for February was revised up from +313,000 to +326,000. With these
revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 50,000 less than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government
agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
202,000 over the last 3 months..." [Establishment Survey Data]
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 * =  The U-6 Unemployment Rate is defined as:

"Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force."


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Thursday, April 05, 2018

New Unemployment Insurance Claims for The Week of March 31, 2018

Earlier today, the Labor Department released its weekly report on New Jobless Insurance Claims for the week that ended on March 31, 2018:

Predicted: 230,000
Actual: 242,000

The yellow-highlighted figure represents the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits for the entire United States. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

  • Previous Week (revised): 218,000
  • 4-Week Moving Average: 228,250
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From today's report:

"...Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal..."

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for March 2018

Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM®) released their Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) for March 2018:

Predicted: 59.0%
Actual: 58.8%

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Previous month: 59.5%

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The NMI is a reliable barometer of the U.S. services sector; above 50% implies expansion, while a reading below 50% implies that the services sector contracted.

Service categories include: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing + Hunting; Mining; Utilities; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Transportation + Warehousing; Information; Finance + Insurance; Real Estate, Rental + Leasing; Professional, Scientific + Technical Services; Management of Companies + Support Services; Educational Services; Health Care + Social Assistance; Arts, Entertainment + Recreation; Accommodation + Food Services; Public Administration; and Other Services (services such as Equipment + Machinery Repairing; Promoting or Administering Religious Activities; Grantmaking; Advocacy; and Providing Dry-Cleaning + Laundry Services, Personal Care Services, Death Care Services, Pet Care Services, Photofinishing Services, Temporary Parking Services, and Dating Services).

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From today' report:

"...Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in March for the 98th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®..."

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Here's a sampling of comments made by survey participants:

  •     "The unbelievable amount of market volatility in construction-related materials that started with lumber continues with the tariffs on steel and aluminum. Accurate, long-term planning has become incredibly difficult, as distributors that historically held costs for at least 30 days are now, in some cases, committing to only seven days, as prices can change drastically in that time."
     (Construction)

  •     "Interest rate hike [and] tariffs are likely to impact cost and price of goods and services."
     (Finance and Insurance)

  •     "Still feeling effects of plants in Puerto Rico being down, or not back to full capacity of IV solutions and plastic tubing sets."
     (Health Care and Social Assistance)

  •     "Business is stronger than forecast in March. Strategic sales continue to exceed forecast in March, as they have all quarter."
     (Management of Companies and Support Services)

  •     "Increased level of activity and pricing overall."
     (Mining)

  •     "As the first quarter end approaches, business outlook is steady, but not nearing growth forecast in Q4 2017."
     (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)

  •     "Housing market [is] still strong, despite a shortage of construction workers."
     (Public Administration)

  •     "Q1 was positive, despite weather conditions that affected operations on the East Coast. The outlook remains positive going into Q2."
     (Transportation and Warehousing)

  •     "Overall, business has been slower than [the] previous quarter; however, we expect it to increase in the second quarter of 2018."
     (Wholesale Trade)


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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) History - March 2018
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) History - March 2018
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Crude Oil Inventories Report for Week of March 30, 2018

The U.S. Crude Oil Inventories report for the week that ended on March 30, 2018 was released this morning:

-- Change from Last Week: -4,600,000 Barrels

-- Change from Last Year (Y/Y): -110,200,000 Barrels

-- Current U.S. Crude Oil Stocks: 425,300,000 Barrels

Diminishing crude oil inventories often translate to higher crude oil prices (and vice versa), but not always.

The report is produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).



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U.S. Factory Orders During February 2018

The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released their report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders -- also known as Factory Orders -- for February 2018:

Predicted: +1.7%
Actual: +1.2%


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  • February 2018 New Orders: $498,000,000,000.

  • Previous Month (revised): -1.3% ($492,000,000,000.)

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The yellow-highlighted percentage is 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 were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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U.S. Factory Orders - February 2018
U.S. Factory Orders - February 2018
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