Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

Dale Franks’ QandO posts

Economic Statistics for 17 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Housing starts fell -5.8% to a lower than expected 654k annual rate. Building permits, however, rose 4.5% to 747k annual rate.

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales fell -1.0% in the latest week, and the Y/Y rate fell to 3.2%. Redbook, meanwhile, reports a similarly weak 3% Y/Y rate.

The Fed reports that industrial production was unchanged for the month, while capacity utilization dropped -0.1% to 78.6%. Manufacturing declined by -0.2% for the month.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 16 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

March retail sales were much stronger than expected, being up 0.8% at both the headline and core levels, and up 0.7% ex-gas and autos.

The Empire State Mfg Survey points to slow but steady manufacturing growth in the New York region, with the index at 6.56 in April.

The net inflow of securities to the US slowed sharply in February, to a net $10.1 billion vice a revised $102.4 billion last month.

Inventory accumulation will probably improve this quarter’s GDP, as February inventories increased by 0.6% due to rising demand.

The Housing Market Index fell 3 points to 25, after seven months of gains. All three components declined this month.

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Dale Franks
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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 15 Apr 12

This week, Michael, and Dale talk about the Trayvon Martin case, Hillary Rosen, and the economy.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

Economic Statistics for 13 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The consumer sentiment index fell to 75.7, led by a an unusually steep drop in consumer assessment of current economic conditions.

Consumer prices increased by 0.3% last month, and 2.6% yearly. Ex-food and energy, the CPI rose 0.2% for the month and  2.3% for the year.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 12 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The U.S. trade gap unexpectedly shrank in February to $46.0 billion from $52.5 billion in January.

Initial claims for unemployment rose 13,000 in the April 7 week to 380,000. The four-week moving average rose 4,250 to 368,500, the highest level in a month.

Overall producer prices were unchanged last month, though up 2.8% over last year. The core PPI rose 0.3% for the month, and 2.9% for the year.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index reading was -32.8, the highest reading since March 2008.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 11 Apr 12 (Updated)

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

MBA Purchase Applications slipped -2.4% for the week, as purchase apps declined by -0.5% and refinance apps fell by -3.1%.

Export prices rose 0.8% for the month, and were 0.9% higher for the year. Import prices rose 1.3% for the month, and were 3.4% higher than a year ago.

UPDATE: The Fed’s Beige Book was released this afternoon. It reports the economy continued to grow at a "modest to moderate pace", but rising energy costs are a growing concern. The Beige Book is compiled as an overall look at economic conditions. It’s used by the Federal Open Markets Committee when setting interest rate policy at their meetings.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 10 Apr 12

A compressed week of economics data begins with today’s retail sales numbers, as Redbook reports a 4.1% year-on-year sales increase, while ICSC-Goldman reports a 0.5% increase for the week, and 4.5% for the year.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index unexpectedly dropped almost two points to 92.5 last week. Analysts had expected an increase.

Wholesale inventories increased by 0.9% in February, but a 1.2% increase in sales left the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.17.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 6 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The Monster Employment Index, a measure of online job recruitment activity, was unchanged for the month at 143.

The BLS reports that non-farm payrolls increased by a disappointing 120,000 jobs. The unemployment rate magically dipped to 8.2%, however. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2%, while the average workweek remained un changed at 34.5 hours. Those are the headline results. Nor to delve a little deeper. The labor force participation rate remained steady at 63.4%, but the employment-population ratio fell one tick to 58.5%, as 164,000 people left the labor force, which is the main reason for the downtick in the unemployment rate as well.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 5 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Initial jobless claims were 357,000 last week, down 6,000 from a revised 363,000 in the prior week.

Challenger’s job cut report shows a layoff count of 37,880 in March vs. 51,728 in February and 41,528 in March, 2011.

Chain stores are reporting retail sales numbers today. In general, sales are looking a little stronger than expectations.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -31.4 in the April 1 week, up from from -34.7 the prior week. That’s a pretty negative number, but it’s still the highest in four years, which tells you more about how bad the last four years have been, rather than how good it is now.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 3 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Factory orders bounced back from a -1.1% decline in January with a 1.3% increase in February.

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales did well last week, with a 3.8% rise for the week, which is a 4.2% from last year. Redbook also reports a strong 4.6% year-on-year same-store sales increase.

Auto sales are due out, with the figures released throughout the day.

UPDATE: The Big 3 have reported Auto sales so far today. Overall Sales for GM were up 14.2% in march from the same period in 2011. Chrysler reports a 34% increase from last year, for its best monthly sales in 4 years. Ford’s sales gain was a much more modest 5%, but was still the best monthly sales rate since 2007, and suffers from the comparison to Mar, 2011, when Ford led all US auto sales for the first time in 13 years.

Also reporting in are Nissan, reporting their best sales ever, and Toyota, reporting the best sales since March 2008.

Dodge also announced that the reborn Dart will be hitting sales floors this June. I suspect the new Dart, which will take up a spot in the small-car lineup, will be somewhat less performance-based than the 318ci V-8 powered ’71 Dart I had as a High School Senior.

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Dale Franks
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