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May 2009 - Fed and Economy Watch

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Notice: 'Top News' and 'Fed and Economy Watch', have been combined into a new channel called 'MND Newswire'. Check back daily for the latest housing and economic news.

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  • Q1 GDP Contracted by 5.7%, Less than Original Estimate

    by Patrick McGee on May 29 2009, 9:15 AM

    Gross Domestic Product ― the measure of total U.S. output of goods and services from ocean to ocean ― contracted at a slower pace in the first quarter than originally reported, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Looking ahead, the nationwide contraction appears to be slowing. The Q1 report indicated that output contracted by an annual rate of 5.7% rather than the -6.1% originally reported. Improvements were seen in construction, inventories, foreign trade, and government spending. However, analysts
  • Durable Goods Rise but Downward Revisions are Harsh

    by Patrick McGee on May 28 2009, 9:10 AM

    Data releases at 8:30 am EDT saw Durable Goods surpass expectations in April with the biggest monthly advance in 15 months, while the Jobless Claims survey saw an insignificant drop in initial claims and yet another major increase in continuing claims. New orders for durable goods ― ‘hard’ goods such as cars, appliances, and electronics ― increased by 1.9% in April, a much better results than expectations for a 0.5% gain. This is the biggest monthly gain since the recession began in December
  • The Day Ahead: Busy Day Led by Output, Labor, and Housing Data

    by Patrick McGee on May 28 2009, 8:23 AM

    Thursday will be a busy day with two key data releases an hour before the opening bell and another housing report half an hour into the session. There are also two energy-releases, multiple Treasury auctions, and once markets close Richard Fisher from the Dallas Federal Reserve will speak in Washington on the economic outlook. Prior to the data releases, investor sentiment looks set to pare some of Wednesday’s losses. S&P 500 futures are up 2.9 points to 895.4, Dow futures have climbed
  • The Day Ahead: Investor Sentiment Buoyed Ahead of Housing Data

    by Patrick McGee on May 27 2009, 8:40 AM

    Investor sentiment remains optimistic this morning after markets surged on Tuesday following a consumer confidence report that rose beyond all forecasts. European and Asian markets followed suit on Wednesday, with the Nikkei closing with a gain of 1.37%, the Shanghai up 1.71%, the German Dax up 0.13%, and the Eurostoxx climbing 0.32%. The only major release for the U.S. on Wednesday is the April report for Existing Home Sales, to be published at 10 am. Analysts expect to see a small gain in sales
  • Consumer Confidence Soars in May to 8-Month High

    by Patrick McGee on May 26 2009, 10:24 AM

    The Conference Board’s measure of Consumer Confidence shattered expectations in May, surging beyond all forecasts to a score of 54.9, just more than 14 points higher than April’s upwardly revised 40.8. The score marks the highest level since September. Analysts were expecting a gain in the month due to the two-month rally in the stock market, but the consensus expectation was only 42.6, with the highest of expectations at 47. In reality, the jump was the biggest one-month climb in almost
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  • The Week Ahead: Three Days of Housing Data to Dominate Headlines

    by Patrick McGee on May 26 2009, 9:14 AM

    The final week of May is a big one for the real estate market as housing data dominates the headlines for the next three days. Tuesday sees the Case Shiller report on home prices for March as well as the first quarter; on Wednesday markets will receive the latest data on Existing Home Sales; and on Thursday April’s New Home Sales release is published. Overall, the reports are likely to show the recession slowing down but signs of full stabilization are still in the distance. This week should
  • The Day Ahead: Futures Point Upward on Slow Friday

    by Patrick McGee on May 22 2009, 8:29 AM

    Friday won’t see a single data release, but there’s plenty on the minds of investors as worries abound that the U.S. currency could lose its AAA-rating . In addition, two gloomy speeches from central bank officials Thursday evening brought the U.S. dollar down a notch overnight. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke speaks to graduates of Boston College Law School at 2pm, but there’s no Q&A. Judging by his graduation speech to Harvard last year, there’s little potential
  • Improvement Seen in Leading Indicators and Philly Business Conditions

    by Patrick McGee on May 21 2009, 10:31 AM

    Following a disappointing labor report before the bell, two positive trends in the macroeconomy were reported at 10 am on Thursday. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing report failed to meet expectations for May, yet the regional survey improved slightly to -22.6 this month, from -24.4 in April. That score is indicative of widespread deterioration in overall conditions, but conditions have been improving now for three straight months. “Although the indexes for general activity
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  • Rising Jobless Claims Point to Half-Million Lost Jobs in May

    by Patrick McGee on May 21 2009, 9:04 AM

    The weekly survey of Jobless Claims failed to indicate any turnaround in the labor market on Thursday. Initial claims for unemployment benefits were more than expected, and those continuing to receive benefits once again jumped to an all-time high. This week is the survey week for Nonfarm Payrolls, meaning the report has implications for the official statistics released the first week of June. The Dept. of Labor said 631,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ending May
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  • The Day Ahead: Thursday Begins on Negative Tone

    by Patrick McGee on May 21 2009, 8:33 AM

    Stock indexes were unable to hold onto their morning gains on Wednesday, ending the day down about 0.5%.To begin Thursday, that decline looks set to continue as the morning news is grim, and a Jobless Claims report failed to indicate any turnaround in the labor market. Just before 8am EST, Dow futures were down 43 points, S&P 500 futures had fallen 5.6 points, and Nasdaq futures had slid 9.75 points. Speaking to Bloomberg News on Wednesday, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said that “until
  • The Day Ahead: Light Day Puts Focus on Geithner, Earnings

    by Patrick McGee on May 20 2009, 8:28 AM

    With no data releases scheduled for Wednesday morning, markets are likely to focus on earnings reports as well as the testimony of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. In the afternoon, the Federal Reserve will release minutes from the monetary policy meeting in late April. S&P futures look poised to open higher on Wednesday as crude oil futures bounced to a six-month high above $60 per barrel. Moreover, BJ’s Wholesale Club announced its earnings climbed 41% in the first quarter, suggesting
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  • The Day Ahead: Housing Starts to Stabilize in April

    by Patrick McGee on May 19 2009, 8:15 AM

    The S&P 500 climbed more than 3.00% on Monday, initially led by a better than expected earnings report from Lowe’s, the home improvement retailer. To begin Tuesday, its rival Home Depot has just announced its Q1 earnings also beat expectations with a 44% gain. S&P 500 futures fell nearly six points in pre-market trading to 912.7, while Dow futures were down 60 points to 8530, and Nasdaq futures had fallen four points to 1392.5. Unlike Monday, however, there’s some data on the
  • The Week Ahead: Thin Week On Data Could Put Focus on Housing

    by Patrick McGee on May 18 2009, 8:38 AM

    New economic data will be in short supply this week but the few releases that will be published do concern the housing market. Monday gives a look at homebuilder confidence, Tuesday gives data on new construction, and Thursday will show the survey week results for Jobless Claims. Further Details: The only bit of data to start the week is the 1pm release on homebuilder sentiment, published by the National Association of Home Builders. The monthly report is supposed to tick up to 16 this month, up
  • Consumer Prices are Benign, NY Manufacturing Less Bad than Forecasts

    by Patrick McGee on May 15 2009, 8:52 AM

    Consumer price inflation was benign in April, while manufacturing in New York is contracting less than anticipated this month, two releases at 8:30 am indicate. The Consumer Price Index remained unchanged in April, following a 0.1% decline in March. Core price ― which exclude volatile energy and food components ― advanced by 0.3% in the month, two-tenths more than expected, following a 0.2% increase in March. The growth in core prices is a reflection of 0.4% increases in both vehicle prices and medical
  • Decline in Industrial Production Slowing

    by Patrick McGee on May 15 2009, 9:35 AM

    Industrial Production decreased by its slowest pace in six months in April, falling 0.5%, as expected, after a 1.7% contraction in March. Annually, total output has fallen 12.5%. Production in manufacturing fell 0.3% in the month, marking a 16.0% decline since its December peak. "One could say that the auto industry had its tire tracks all over the report, but it was not just cars," said Jennifer Lee, economist at BMO Capital Markets. "The weakness was widespread, from business equipment
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