Bad News In The News…

Last Week in the News


On Monday, November 17, the Federal Reserve said industrial output rose 1.3% last month, after falling 3.7% in September by the largest amount since a 5% plunge in February 1946. Economists had expected a much smaller increase of only 0.2%.

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that wholesale prices fell by 2.8% in October. The previous record was a 1.6% drop in October 2001. Economists had expected a 1.8% decline. The decrease marked the third straight month that wholesale prices have fallen.

Also, on Tuesday, it was announced that the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index fell five points to nine in November, the lowest level recorded since the index was created in January 1985. The index stood at 14 in October after slipping three points from September. An index reading higher than 50 indicates positive sentiment about the housing market. The index has been below 50 since May 2006, and below 20 since April 2008.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department reported consumer prices dropped 1% last month. It was the biggest monthly decline on record since February 1947. The drop was twice as large as the 0.5% decline analysts expected.

The Commerce Department reported that construction of new homes and apartments fell 4.5% in October, the fourth straight monthly decline, and the slowest construction pace on record going back to January 1959. Construction fell to an annual rate of 791,000 units from a revised September rate of 828,000 units.

On Thursday, the Labor Department said new applications for jobless benefits rose last week to 542,000 from a revised figure of 515,000 in the previous week. The last time jobless claims were this high was July 1992.

The Conference Board said its index of economic indicators declined 0.8% in October, worse than the 0.6% decrease expected by economists.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on existing home sales on November 24, and durable goods orders and new home sales on November 26.

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> Rantings — Wes @ 12:16 pm

November 26, 2008