Monthly Archives: February 2013

Yellen Signals Fed Would Sustain Easing After Ending QE

[02/12/13]  The Federal Reserve may keep interest rates near zero after its bond-buying ends, even after hitting its targets for unemployment or inflation, in order to maintain stimulus, Vice Chairman Janet Yellen signaled. Yellen’s comments today coincide with a Federal Open Market Committee debate over when to bring its bond purchase program to an end, a shift that may prompt expectations of an interest-rate increase. The FOMC said in December it will hold the main interest rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent so long as inflation isn’t forecast to rise to more than 2.5 percent in one to two years and unemployment exceeds 6.5 percent. The speech...
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Worker Productivity in U.S. Declines, Pushing Up Labor Costs

[02/07/13]  The productivity of U.S. workers fell more than projected in the fourth quarter as the economy shrank, pushing labor expenses up and showing companies are approaching the limit of how much efficiency they can wring from employees. The measure of employee output per hour decreased at a 2 percent annual rate, the worst performance in almost two years, after a 3.2 percent gain in the prior three months, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 63 economists called for a 1.4 percent drop. Expenses per worker increased at a 4.5 percent rate, more than estimated.
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Fewer Workers Filed Claims for Jobless Benefits in U.S.

[02/07/13]  Claims for U.S. unemployment insurance payments fell last week, returning to levels seen in the second half of 2012. Applications for jobless benefits dropped 5,000 to 366,000 in the week ended Feb. 2, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 360,000 claims, according to the median of 53 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
Claims, after seesawing in prior weeks as the government had trouble adjusting the data for seasonal swings, are settling at a level that signals there is little change in the pace of firings from last year. The data come after a report last week indicated employers are boosting payrolls at a faster pace as...
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Car Sales Continue Their Climb

[02/01/13]  American automakers said new-vehicle sales in the United States rose sharply in January, raising expectations that the industry’s steady recovery would accelerate in 2013.
General Motors, the largest of the Detroit auto companies, said it sold 194,000 cars and trucks during the month, a 15.9 percent increase over the same period a year ago. The company said all four of its brands — Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick — had double-digit increases in January. G.M. also rebounded from tepid sales of its core pickup trucks in recent months. The company said sales of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup increased 32 percent compared to January 2012, and sales of...
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Dow Revisits 14,000: Sign of Top or New Leg Up?

When it comes to big, round numbers with investment significance, 14,000 is as big as it gets for the Dow Jones industrial average. Indeed, Dow 14,000 is back in play and in the headlines after the iconic 117-year-old blue chip index briefly topped that lofty milestone Friday for the first time since October 2007. The move pushed the world's best-known stock gauge to its best level since the 2008 financial crisis and left it just shy of its Oct. 9, 2007, all-time high of 14,164.53. Around 10 a.m. ET the Dow was up roughly 140 points and popped over 14,000 for a minute, extending its 2013 gains to...
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U.S. Adds 157,000 Jobs; Jobless Rate Edges Up to 7.9%

American employers added 157,000 jobs in January compared with a revised 196,000 jobs the previous month, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The unemployment rate was little changed at 7.9 percent, about where it has been stuck since September. On the bright side, revised government data showed that the economy added 335,000 more jobs than originally estimated during all of 2012, including an additional 150,000 in the last quarter of the year. That was on top of the previously reported fourth-quarter job growth of 603,000 and 2012 growth of 2.2 million. The higher revisions, in particular, encouraged traders on Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones industrial average over the...
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