ECONOMY ADDS 175,000 MORE JOBS
February’s payroll growth was decent, and seemingly unimpeded by the weather. Last month’s net jobs gain approximated the 12-month average of 179,000 recorded by the Labor Department, which also revised January and December totals north by a collective 25,000 hires. Few of the 264,000 new participants in the job hunt found work last month, so the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7%. The average hourly wage rose $0.09 in February, the largest monthly increase since June.
CONSUMER SPENDING BEATS EXPECTATIONS
Last month saw personal spending increase 0.4% and personal incomes rise 0.3%. Economists polled by MarketWatch felt that February’s Commerce Department report would show 0.2% gains for each category. Personal spending was up only 0.1% in January.
FEBRUARY PMIs RISE & FALL
According to the Institute for Supply Management, growth in the manufacturing sector accelerated last month while service sector growth moderated. ISM recorded a 1.9% rise in its manufacturing PMI for February to a mark of 53.2, but the Institute’s non-manufacturing PMI slipped 2.4% last month to a reading of 51.6.
BULL MARKET TURNS FIVE, S&P HITS ANOTHER PEAK
Having gained 1.00% across five days, the S&P 500 settled at 1.878.04 Friday, yet another record close. Friday’s positive jobs data also factored into weekly advances for the Nasdaq (+0.65% to 4,336.22) and Dow (+0.79% to 16,452.72).
THIS WEEK: Stateside, no major economic releases are scheduled for Monday; China reports February trade surplus and inflation figures, and Urban Outfitters reports earnings. Tuesday brings a Commerce Department report on January wholesale inventories and earnings from VeriFone, Dick’s Sporting Goods and American Eagle Outfitters. Wednesday’s earnings include Williams-Sonoma, Men’s Wearhouse and Krispy Kreme. Thursday offers data on February retail sales and January business inventories, plus earnings from Volkswagen, Dollar General and Aeropostale and the latest initial jobless claims figures; overseas, China releases February industrial output and retail sales data. Friday sees the release of the February PPI, the preliminary March consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan and Q4 results from Leap Wireless.