Economic Update 05/05/14

HIRING & MANUFACTURING PICK UP

America’s economy created 288,000 new jobs in April, the most in any month since January 2012. Labor Department data showed the jobless rate falling dramatically to 6.3%, largely due to more people abandoning the job hunt. Still, the U-6 rate (unemployment + underemployment) was at 12.3% in April, a 4½-year low. The Institute for Supply Management factory PMI rose to 54.9 in April, marking the eleventh straight month of expansion in manufacturing.

ROBUST CONSUMER SPENDING, YET WEAK Q1 GDP

Personal spending rose 0.9% in March, nearly double the 0.5% advance that the Commerce Department saw in February. Even so, the Bureau Of Economic Analysis said the economy grew by just 0.1% in the first quarter in its initial estimate.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE DOWN SLIGHTLY

The Conference Board’s respected index was at 82.3 in April, down from 83.9 in March. Analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a dip to 83.0.

PENDING HOME SALES INCREASE AT LAST

They rose 3.4% in March, the National Association of Realtors said; the last monthly upturn was in June. In other housing news, February’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 12.9% overall yearly advance.

ANXIETIES BUILD, BUT STOCKS DON’T TURN SOUTH

At Friday’s close, the Dow settled at 16,512.89, the S&P 500 at 1,881.14 and the Nasdaq at 4,123.90. Across five days, the DJIA gained 0.93%, the S&P 0.95% and the Nasdaq 1.19% even with the Ukraine crisis intensifying late in the week.

THIS WEEK: On Monday, Occidental Petroleum, AIG, Acura, Pfizer, Papa John’s, Tyson Foods, Andarko Petroleum, Cardtronics and Orbitz report earnings and ISM offers its April service sector PMI. Quarterly results from Activision Blizzard, Alamo, Allstate, Groupon, Marathon Oil, Office Depot, Zulily, Coca-Cola, DirecTV, Whole Foods, Eastman Kodak, Electronic Arts, Towers Watson, TripAdvisor, Starwood Properties and Chesapeake Utilities arrive on Tuesday. Wednesday brings earnings from Allergan, Health Net, Tesla, Zillow, Hertz, Molycorp, Rosetta Stone, Humana, Prudential, Molson Coors, Keurig Green Mountain and Spectra Energy. A new initial jobless claims report and earnings from DISH Network, Wendy’s, Jamba, Dean Foods, Learning Tree, Scripps Networks, Toyota, Windstream, Nvidia, NewsCorp, Priceline, Symantec, Aramark, CBS and Monster appear Thursday. Friday brings data on March wholesale inventories and earnings from Hilton and Ralph Lauren.

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