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Economic statistics

Economic Statistics for 29 Dec 11 (Updated)

Today’s economic statistical releases:

In a Dec 24 week clouded by the need for estimates, initial unemployment claims rose 15,000 to 381,000. Despite that, the 4-week moving average fell 5,750 to a 375,000, the eighth decline in 9 weeks.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index remains steady at 62.5 this month, but new orders are especially strong at 68.0.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to -47.5 last week, down from a reading of -45.0 last week.

Low prices and mortgage rates are boosting the housing sector, pushing the pending home sales index up 7.3% to 100.1.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index was supposed to be released this morning, but apparently, the Fed is delaying the release. Probably holiday-related issues.

UPDATE: The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index was much lower than expected, coming in at -4, vice analysts’ expectations of 6.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 27 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistics releases:

S&P/Case-Shiller reports home prices are still trending downwards, with prices down -0.6% last month, following last month’s -0.7% decline.On a year-over-year basis, prices have dropped -3.4%.

Optimism on jobs and income resulted in a 9.3 point rise in consumer confidence, with the index at 64.5 for December.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index came in at 3, showing mildly positive manufacturing expansion in the Richmond Fed district. This confirms similar readings from both the Philly Fed and Empire State surveys, both of which also showed mild manufacturing expansion. Conversely, the Dallas Fed reports that manufacturing activity in Texas declined in December as the general business activity index dropped to -3.0 from 3.2 in last month.

Investor confidence remains steady according to the State Street Investor Confidence Index, which holds steady at 99.3.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 23 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

A big surge in civilian aircraft pushed durable goods orders up 3.8%. Ex-transportation, orders rose 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis, orders were up 12.1% overall, and 7.2% ex-transportation.

Both personal income and personal spending rose by 0.1% in November.

New home sales rose 1.6% in November to a 315,000 annual unit rate. Over the last few months, sales have picked up modestly, but from a very low levels, and house prices have continued to decline,m down 3.8% last month to a median price of $214,100.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 22 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Commerce Department’s 3rd estimate of 3Q GDP was again revised downwards, to a 1.8% annualized rate.On a year over year basis, GDP was up 1.5% over 3Q 2010. The downward revision was led by a smaller decline in inventories and less growth in personal consumption.

Initial claims for unemployment fell for the 3rd consecutive week, down 4,000 to a much lower-than-expected level of 364,000. Continuing claims fell 79,000 to 3.546 million, the lowest level of the recovery.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell to -0.37 in November from a revised -0.11 in October. Housing is still heavily negative in the report.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index climbed to -45 in the period ended December 18 from -49.9 the prior week.

Consumer sentiment continued to improve, to 69.9 in December from 64.1 in November.

The FHFA reported that house prices in October unexpectedly declined -0.2% after rising 0.4% in September. Analysts had expected a 0.3% rise in prices, not further downward price pressure.

The index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5% in November following October’s 0.9% increase. Positive elements include the treasury rate spread, building permits, consumer expectations, building permits, and falling unemployment claims.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 21 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases are a bit conflicted:

MBA Purchase Applications fell -2.6% overall last week, with purchases dropping -4.9% and re-fis falling -1.6%. So the positive housing numbers we’ve seen so far this month haven’t affected actual sales. Interest rates are attractively low, but that is balanced by poor employment conditions, tight credit, and a lack of equity.

A sweeping revision to the data method has sharply lowered the last 5 years of existing home sales reports. But last month, sales rose 4%, anyway, well above expectations, and the rest of the report is pretty positive, too, with housing prices firming up, and supply falling. Also, the gains are concentrated in single-family dwellings, and well-distributed geographically.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 20 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Housing starts jumped 9.3% to an annual rate of 685,000. But that jump is led by a 25.3% jump in multi-family dwellings, so don’t assume that individuals are getting ready to buy single-family homes again. Also, the surge is led by a 53.8% increase in the Northeast, balancing off an  18.2% decline in the Midwest.

ICSC-Goldman reports a big bump in retail sales, up 3.4% for the week, and 4.6% over last year. Redbook, however, shows a far more modest increase, with same store sales only up 0.5% from last week, at 3.4%, while the month-to-month number is actually down -2.7%. That doesn’t bode well for the government’s retail sales report for December.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 15 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Initial jobless claims dropped sharply for the 2nd week in a row, falling 19,000 to 381,000. The four-week average is down 6,500 to 387,750, and has dropped for 10 of the past 12 weeks. One note of caution, however, is that the holiday period can make the numbers volatile, and there are lots of special factors that can affect the numbers. Still, the trend is positive, overall, and is looking better than it has at any time since the recovery—such as it is—began.

Food prices pushed the Producer Price Index higher, up 0.3% for the month and 5.7% for the year. The core rate, which ignores food and energy prices, was up 0.1% last month, and 2.9% over the last year.

Industrial production fell -0.2% last month, well below expectations for a 0.2% increase. Manufacturing was down across the board, but auto manufacturing particularly declined. Capacity utilization also dropped slightly to 77.8%. In contrast to this morning’s industrial production numbers, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey rose well above expectations to 9.53. Especially heartening is new orders which rose to 5.1 versus -2.07 last month. In addition, the Philly Fed’s general activity index rose to 10.3 from November’s 3.6, as manufacturing in the Philly Fed district grew at a faster rate.

The nation’s current account deficit narrowed to $110.3 billion in the third quarter, the smallest gap since Q4 2009.

Inflow of investment income into the US slowed sharply in October, to a net $4.8 billion compared to $68.3 billion in September.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to the highest level in two months, to -49.9. Of course, -49.9 still isn’t good.

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Dale Franks
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