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Economic Update 03/04/13


The DJIA settled at 14,089.66 Friday, gaining 0.64% on the week. The S&P 500 (+0.17% to 1,518.20) and NASDAQ (+0.25% to 3,169.74) also logged five-day advances. All this happened in the face of significant instability, as Wall Street fretted over the deadlock in Italy’s national elections and the sequester cuts taking effect on March 1. Congress and the White House could not arrange a deal to delay the sequestration last week, which means that $85 billion will be subtracted from the budgets of government agencies between March 2 and October 1 unless a bipartisan agreement emerges to undo the cuts.


New home buying accelerated 16% in January – the biggest monthly rise in almost 20 years, according to the Commerce Department. Pending home sales rose 4.5% in January, the National Association of Realtors said; that was far above the 1.0% gain forecast by economists polled by Finally, the December edition of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 6.8% yearly gain across 20 metro markets, bettering November’s 5.5% impressive annualized increase.


The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI improved 1.1% in February to 54.2. While the Commerce Department noted a 5.2% overall retreat in durable goods orders in January (the first decline in four months), new orders rose 1.9% when the volatile transportation category was factored out.


The Conference Board’s February consumer confidence poll soared to 69.0 from January’s 58.4 mark, and the University of Michigan’s final February consumer sentiment survey came in at 77.6, topping the Reuters consensus forecast of 76.3. The federal government revised Q4 GDP north slightly to +0.1% last week; consumer spending rose 0.2% in January, even as consumer incomes fell 3.6%.

THIS WEEK: Monday, Transocean announces Q4 earnings. Tuesday brings ISM’s latest non-manufacturing PMI and quarterly results from VeriFone. On Wednesday, Staples, American Eagle Outfitters, BigLots! and PetSmart issue quarterly earnings; February’s ADP employment report appears plus a new Federal Reserve Beige Book and data on January factory orders. The Bank of England and European Central Bank wrap up policy meetings Thursday, and a new Challenger job-cut report and earnings from H&R Block, Pandora, Kroger and Smithfield Foods appear. Friday, the February jobs report is out along with earnings from Ann and Foot Locker.

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Robert Pagliarini, PhD, CFP®, EA has helped clients across the United States manage, grow, and preserve their wealth for the past 25 years. His goal is to provide comprehensive financial, investment, and tax advice in a way that was honest and ethical. In addition, he is a CFP® Board Ambassador, one of only 50 in the country, and a real fiduciary. In his spare time, he writes personal finance books, finance articles for Forbes and develops email and video financial courses to help educate others. With decades of experience as a financial advisor, the media often calls on him for his expertise. Contact Robert today to learn more about his financial planning services.

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