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Economic Update 02/24/14

By Robert Pagliarini on February 24, 2014

MORE MILD INFLATION Consumer prices ticked up 0.1% for January while wholesale prices rose 0.2%. Analysts polled by MarketWatch expected both the headline Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index to advance 0.1%. The bigger news item (perhaps) is that the Labor Department altered its calculation of producer prices for the first time in 36…

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Economic Update 02/10/14

By Robert Pagliarini on February 10, 2014

WAS IT THE WEATHER, OR THE ECONOMY?   For a second straight month, hiring was weak. Employers added 113,000 jobs in January, and while the unemployment rate ticked down to 6.6%, the Labor Department’s latest report came with some caution flags. Private-sector payrolls expanded by 142,000 new positions, but 29,000 federal workers were let go…

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Economic Update 02/04/14

By Robert Pagliarini on February 3, 2014

CONSUMER MORALE, CONSUMER SPENDING IMPROVE   On Friday, the Commerce Department announced that consumer spending rose 0.4% in December, even as consumer incomes stayed flat. The University of Michigan’s final January consumer sentiment index came in at 81.2 (up 0.8 points from December) and the Conference Board’s January consumer confidence index posted a reading of…

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Economic Update 01/27/14

By Robert Pagliarini on January 27, 2014

MORE HOMES MOVE IN DECEMBER Last month saw a 1.0% gain in existing home sales, a nice change for this key economic indicator after a few subpar months. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires anticipated sales improving 0.6%. The National Association of Realtors did revise November’s sales decline to 5.9% (it had been 4.3%). GAUGE…

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Economic Update 01/21/14

By Robert Pagliarini on January 21, 2014

INFLATION RISES IN DECEMBER Labor Department reports showed the Consumer Price Index up 0.3% last month (with core CPI rising 0.1%) and the Producer Price Index advancing 0.4% (core PPI went north 0.3%). If these spikes foreshadow greater inflation for 2014, they do little to alter the big picture of 2013 – a year in…

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Economic Update 01/13/14

By Robert Pagliarini on January 13, 2014

INTERPRETING A PERPLEXING JOBS REPORT Why did the economy generate only 74,000 new jobs last month? Why did 347,000 people drop out of the job hunt to leave the labor participation rate at 62.8%, the lowest in 35 years? Was it the weather? Maybe. As a note from Capital Economics mentions, the Labor Department found…

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2013 in Review: How Good a Year Was It for the Economy?

By Robert Pagliarini on January 7, 2014

Was 2013 a terrific year for stocks? Absolutely. The good news wasn’t limited to Wall Street, however: the unemployment rate fell, the economy revved up, home prices rose and inflation pressure was minimal. Bulls triumphed. Christmas Eve brought the Dow’s 49th record close of 2013: 16,357.55. The S&P 500 settled at 1,833.32 on December 24…

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Economic Update 01/06/14

By Robert Pagliarini on January 6, 2014

A MAJOR GAIN FOR A CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX The Conference Board’s monthly gauge of consumer confidence came in at 78.1 for December, beating the 76.0 median forecast from economists polled by Bloomberg. In November, it stood at 72.0. The index is way up from where it once was: its average reading was just 53.7 during…

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Economic Update 12/30/13

By Robert Pagliarini on December 30, 2013

A HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON TO CELEBRATE Good news from the Commerce Department: November brought a healthy 0.5% gain in personal spending (matching the consensus forecast of economists polled by Briefing.com) and a 0.2% rise in personal income that offset the 0.1% retreat in October. SpendingPulse, which tracks online and in-store retail purchases, says that retail…

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Economic Update 12/23/13

By Robert Pagliarini on December 23, 2013

FED MAKES ITS MOVE, STOCKS MOVE NORTH In a 9-1 vote last Wednesday, Federal Reserve officials elected to taper the central bank’s monthly economic stimulus beginning in January. The taper was relatively minor – a cut of $10 billion to $75 billion – and the surprise announcement set off a major rally on Wall Street,…

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