[03/29/13] Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed in February by the most in five months as incomes rose, signaling an improving job market is spurring demand. Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, gained 0.7 percent after a 0.4 percent advance the prior month that was bigger than previously estimated, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 78 economists called for a 0.6 percent rise. Incomes increased 1.1 percent, more than projected, sending the saving rate up from a five-year low. Labor market progress and an increase in household wealth linked to rising home values and...Read more
Monthly Archives: March 2013
[03/17/13] U.S. stock markets fell Friday, ending the longest winning streak for the Dow Jones industrial average in nearly 17 years. The Dow dropped 25.03 points, or 0.17 percent, to 14,514.11. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.53 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,560.70, just shy of an all-time high from October 2007. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 9.86 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,249.07. The Dow had notched a 10-day winning streak through Thursday, its longest since November 1996.
Trading Friday was tentative because investors feared that rising inflation could cause the Federal Reserve to retreat from policies aimed at boosting markets. The government...Read more
[03/08/13] Employers added a much-better-than-expected 236,000 jobs in February as the labor market continued to shrug off a recent payroll tax hike and the prospect of big federal spending cuts. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9%. That's the lowest it's been since December 2008. The consensus forecast of economists had estimated the economy added about 160,000 jobs in February. Businesses added 246,000 jobs, while federal, state and local governments cut 10,000. Professional and business services, construction and health care led broad-based job gains. The Labor Department revised down job gains for December and January by 15,000. December's net payroll jobs were revised up to 219,000 from 196,000, while...Read more
[03/07/13] The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week, driving down the four-week average to its lowest level in five years, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was a positive sign ahead of Friday’s report on February job growth. Applications for benefits fell 7,000 in the week ended March 2, the government said. That was near a five-year low reached in January. And the four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 7,000 to 348,750, the lowest since March 2008, just a few months into the recession. Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. When they fall, it suggests that companies are shedding...Read more
[03/05/13] The benchmark Dow Jones industrial average reached an all-time high Tuesday, underscoring the contrast between corporate America’s rapid recovery since the financial crisis and the rest of the country’s ongoing struggle to regain its footing. More than four years later, the crisis seems a distant memory for a number of big U.S. companies that are reporting record profits, even though many Americans remain jobless, wages have stagnated and Washington remains paralyzed in the face of the country’s tepid economic growth. At closing, the Dow was up 125.95 points, or 0.89 percent, to 14,253.77, breezing past both the intraday and closing records that were set in October 2007, just before Wall Street...Read more
[03/01/13] Chairman Ben Bernanke is standing by the Federal Reserve's low-interest-rate policies, cautioning that any move to raise rates prematurely could derail a still-modest economic recovery. Bernanke also sought to calm fears that super-low rates risk igniting inflation or rattling investors, during a speech late Friday in San Francisco to an economic conference sponsored by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank. The central bank's low-rate policies are intended to encourage borrowing and spending to boost the economy. Higher rates would make borrowing more expensive. Bernanke said the Fed's policies mirror what other central banks around the world are doing. "Long-term interest rates in the major industrial countries are low for...Read more