Dale Franks’ QandO posts
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The final revision of 4th Quarter GDP for 2014 was unchanged at 2.2% annualized growth. The GDP price index was unrevised at 0.1.
Corporate profits in the 4th quarter of 2014 came in at $1.838 trillion, up 2.9%, compared to the 3rd quarter’s 5.9% increase.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose 1.8 points to 93.0 in March.
The Markit PMI services index flash for March rose 1.8 points to 58.6.
The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index fell -5 points to -4 in March.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.3 points to 45.5 in the latest week, the highest level since July, 2007.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell 9,000 to 282,000. The 4-week average fell 7,750 to 297,000. Continuing claims fell 6,000 to 2.416 million.
The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-15.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.481 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-7.9 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $9.3 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 9.5% last week, with purchases up 5.0% and refis up 12.0%, on lower interest rates.
Durable goods orders fell -1.4% in February, while orders less transportation fell -0.4%. On a year-over-year basis, orders are up only 0.6%, while ex-transportation orders are up just 2.3%.
Consumer prices rose 0.2% in February at both the headline and core levels, as energy prices made a bit of a comeback. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is still down -0.1% overall, but is up 1.7% less food and energy.
Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose to a moderate 2.8% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 2.7%.
The FHFA House Price Index rose a lower-than-expected 0.3% in January. On a year-over-year basis, the index is up 5.1%.
The Markit PMI manufacturing index flash for March rose 0.9 points from the February final to 55.3.
New home sales picked up sharply in February to a 539,000 annual rate from January’s 481,000. The median price still fell a sharp 4.8% to $275,500, despite a tightening of supply from 5.1 months to 4.7 months.
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index fell sharply from 0 to -8 in March, as both new orders and backlogs declined.
The Atlanta Fed reports that the year-ahead inflation expectations of businesses were 1.7% in March.
Existing home sales rose 1.2% in February to a still-lackluster 4.88 million annual pace, though the year-on-year rise of 4.7% shows some strength.
The Chicago Fed National Activity index was -0.11 in February, while the January reading has been revised down to -0.10 from 0.13. The 3-month average is now negative, at -0.08.
You’ll find the podcast on the page previously set aside for it. This week, when the going got tough, Hillary got weird, and Iowa Republicans revealed themselves as communists, though, really, we already knew that.
Initial weekly jobless claims 1,000 to 291,000. The 4-week average rose 2,250 to 304,750. Continuing claims fell 11,000 to 2.417 million.
The nation’s current account gap widened sharply by $-14 billion in the 4th quarter, to $-113.5 billion. Relative to GDP, the current account deficit rose 0.4% to 2.6%.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.9 points to 44.2 in the latest week.
The general business conditions index of the Philadelphia Fed Survey was little changed in March, down -0.2 points to 5.0.
The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators in February rose 0.2%, with the yield spread as the biggest positive indicator.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $6.6 billion last week, with total assets of $4.496 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $10.7 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-28.1 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -3.9% last week, with purchases down -2.0% and refis down -5.0%.
The Federal Open Markets Committee left short-term interest rates unchanged today, at 0% to 0.25% for the Fed Funds rate target.
In today’s economic forecast, the Fed lowered it’s forecasts for both unemployment and economic growth, noting that growth is “moderating”. The Fed’s forecasts:
2015: 2.3 to 2.7%
2016: 2.3 to 2.7%
2017: 2.0 to 2.4%
longer run: 2.0 to 2.3%
2015: 0.6 to 0.8%
2016: 1.7 to 1.9%
2017: 1.9 to 2.0%
longer run: 2.0 %
2015: 52 to 5.3%
2016: 4.9 to 5.1%
2017: 4.8 to 5.1%
longer run: 5.0 to 5.2%
Essentially, the sub-par economic growth we’ve experienced since 2009 will continue for the foreseeable future.
Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose to a still-weak 2.7% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 2.6%.
Housing starts unexpectedly fell a sharp -17.0% in February, to a 0.897 million unit pace, which is down -3.3% on a year-ago basis. Housing numbers have generally been weak for the last few months.