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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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  • Preliminary Read on Consumer Sentiment Worse Than Expected

    by Patrick McGee on October 16 2009, 10:38 AM

    The first monthly look at consumer sentiment for October wasn’t pretty. The University of Michigan survey said sentiment fell 4.1 points to 69.4, erasing more than half of September’s 7.8 point leap. Analysts were looking for continued strength as the equity market as climbed to annual highs in the first two weeks of the month. Jobless claims have also moderated in five of the past six weeks to nine-month lows, and home prices have been rising modestly. Even so, indexes for six-month expectations and current conditions each fell.
  • Industrial Production Improves in September

    by Patrick McGee on October 16 2009, 10:07 AM

    Industrial production figures surprised Wall Street this morning. Despite aggreate hours falling half a percentage in September, production managed to climb 0.7%, far above +0.2% expectations and marking the third straight monthly gain. Upward revisions also pushed the August headline up four-tenths to +1.2%. Three consecutive gains put the quarterly advance at a +5.2% annual rate, not a bad pace after five straight quarterly contractions.
  • Foreign Purchases of Treasuries Up to $28.6 Billion in August

    by Patrick McGee on October 16 2009, 9:51 AM

    The Treasury said foreign intake of long-term US financial assets expanded in August, but compared to pre-crisis levels analysts said purchases were tepid. Net foreign purchases of long-term securities were in line with forecasts at $28.6 billion in August, compared with $15.3 billion in the prior month. “This is all fine and good, but the fact remains that foreign appetite for U.S. securities is much less than it was pre-crunch,” said TD strategist Eric Lascelles, who noted the monthly average in 2007 was $64 billion. “This presents clear risks for USD and Treasury yields,” he added.
  • Manufacturing Soars in New York, Tumbles in Philly

    by Patrick McGee on October 15 2009, 10:48 AM

    The manufacturing sector is continuing to grow for the third straight month in October. The Empire State survey shocked analysts by climbing 16 points in the month to +34.6, its highest level in five years. The Philadelphia survey was less impressive as its headline tumbled more than 2 points to +11.5, but together the regional reports point to improvement in the nationwide ISM survey. In the New York survey, over half of the executives surveyed said conditions were improving this month, while only 17% said conditions deteriorated. The new orders index rose 11 points to +30.1 and the shipments index shot up 30 points to +35.1.
  • 514,000 New Jobless Claims. Lowest Read in 9 Months

    by Patrick McGee on October 15 2009, 9:21 AM

    Markets were given a kick of optimism this morning as another downward surprise was seen in the weekly jobless claims report. Initial claims fell to 514,000 in the week ending Oct. 10, the lowest figure in nine months. The prior week’s 520k figure was revised up to 524k. Claims have fallen in five of the past six weeks, leading the 4-week average down to 531,500, which is also the lowest since early January.
  • Consumer Prices Rise, Trend Still Benign

    by Patrick McGee on October 15 2009, 9:20 AM

    The Consumer Price Index rose as expected but the results remain benign, the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested Thursday. Led by broad gains, the all-items index edged up 0.2% in September, half of the 0.4% uptick in August. Over the past 12 months the CPI remains in deflationary territory at -1.3%. The Fed’s ideal rate is +2.0%.
  • Retail Sales Decline Less than Expected in September

    by AQ on October 14 2009, 10:28 AM

    Total retail sales declined by 1.5 percent in September, less than the 2.1 percent drop economists had forecast. Excluding auto sales, which experienced their largest monthly fall since August 2005, retail sales were 0.5% higher in September, better than forecasts for a 0.2 percent increase.
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  • Trade Deficit Shrinks to $30.7 Billion

    by Patrick McGee on October 09 2009, 9:41 AM

    Exports improved to a new 2009 high in August, while imports shrank, leading the US trade deficit to unexpectedly shrink, the Commerce Department said Friday. The monthly deficit fell 3.6% to $30.7 billion. Economists had been expecting it to widen to $33.6 billion on account of rising oil prices. But while prices did gain $2.27 to $64.75 in the month, volume plummeted.
  • Wholesale Inventories Cut for 12th Straight Month

    by Patrick McGee on October 08 2009, 10:56 AM

    Businesses cut back on inventories for a record 12th consecutive month in August. The 1.3% reduction follows a 1.4% drop in July, and together they pushed the annual drop to 14.7%. The drop was worse than Wall Street forecasts of a 1% cut, but the other half of the report was more positive as sales jumped for the fifth straight month. The 1.0% gain is the biggest gain since June 2008, and it follows an upwardly revised but still modest 0.1% gain in July. Since August 2008, sales are down 17.7%. Equity markets fell in minutes following the report but quickly recovered. Interpreting the report can be tricky as the decline itself hurts Q3 GDP, but the more businesses slash inventories the more rapidly they will have to restock once they are confident of an economic rebound. The inventories to sales ratio was 1.20, compared with the August 2008 ratio was 1.16.
  • Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest Level Since January

    by Patrick McGee on October 08 2009, 8:57 AM

    Well that’s not bad start for the fourth quarter. Weekly claims for unemployment benefits fell more than forecasts in the week ending October 3. Indeed, the 521,000 new claims is the lowest weekly figure since early January. Economists had been expecting 540k initial claims after the prior week’s 554k figure (revised from 551k). Before last week’s rise, claims had been moderating for three consecutive weeks. The 33k drop in new claims drove the 4-week average down by 9k to 540k, the lowest since mid-January.
  • ISM Services Report Growth, Employment Lingers

    by Patrick McGee on October 05 2009, 10:46 AM

    The Institute for Supply Management said its non-manufacturing index rose to 50.9 last month, marking the first sign of growth in a year and the highest level since May 2008. A score above 50 indicates overall growth; analysts had only forecast a 48.8 score after the 48.4 level is August.
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  • 263,000 Jobs Lost in September. Unemployment Rate at 26 Year High

    by Patrick McGee on October 02 2009, 9:33 AM

    The economy shed more jobs than Wall Street was expecting in September, sending equity futures south in search of a bottom after three days of sell-offs. The monthly employment report said 263,000 jobs vanished in September, almost one-hundred thousand worse than the market forecast. Job cuts pushed the unemployment rate up one-tenth to a fresh 26-year high at 9.8%. That rate is made worse knowing the average duration of unemployment also sits at a record high of 26.2 weeks. Indeed, more than one-third (35.6%) of the unemployed have been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
  • Construction Spending Rebounds in August. July Revised Lower

    by Patrick McGee on October 01 2009, 10:51 AM

    Total construction spending jumped in August but any optimism from the fresh data was offset by downward revisions to the prior month. The construction sector improved by 0.8% in August, in contrast to expectations that it would fall 0.1%. But spending in July fell by a whopping 1.1% in the new estimates, compared to the original projection of -0.2%. What’s really going on in the market can’t be seen in the headline alone. The main trend is that residential housing is heading upwards, including a 4.7% gain in August. But non-residential and government construction on weighing heavily on the index. Non-residential activity slipped 0.1% in August, while and public spending fell 1.1%.
  • ISM Manufacturing Fails to Improve in September. Still in Positive Territory

    by Patrick McGee on October 01 2009, 10:47 AM

    A key index of nationwide manufacturing conditions remained positive for the second consecutive month in September, even though it failed to meet expectations for further improvement. The ISM survey came in at 52.6, three-tenths lower than August’s score, but still indicating broad strength in the manufacturing sector. “While the rate of growth moderated slightly when compared to August, the recovery broadened as the number of industries reporting growth increased from 11 to 13,” said Norbert Ore, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management’s survey committee.
  • Consumer Consumption Higher in August. Inflation Index Still Subdued

    by Patrick McGee on October 01 2009, 10:01 AM

    Personal income was given a slight and unexpected boost in August, while consumption broadly advanced and inflation remained benign, a new report said Thursday. Income levels went up 0.2% in August, doubling the consensus forecast, while the prior month’s level was given a bump in revisions too. However, compared to last year income is still down 2.6%. The same report also showed consumption climbing. That was expected due to the widely reported success of the cash-for-clunkers program, but the data reveals that spending on autos didn’t drown out all other spending.
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