Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - ECONOMIC UPDATES - Last Week in the News

Total construction spending rose 1.2% to $885.1 billion in February, following a 2.1% decrease in January. Compared to February 2012, construction spending has risen 7.9%.

Retail sales rose 4.7% for the week ending March 30, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 1.9%.

Manufacturing activity fell to 51.3 in March after a reading of 54.2 in February. A reading above 50 signals expansion. This was the fourth consecutive month of expansion.

Factory orders rose $14.5 billion, or 3%, in February to a seasonally adjusted $492 billion. This follows a 1% decrease in January. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders increased 0.3% in February.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 29 fell 4%. Purchase volume rose 1%. Refinancing applications decreased 6%.

Non-manufacturing activity fell to 54.4 in March from 56 in February. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 39th straight month of expansion in the services sector.

The trade deficit decreased to $43 billion in February from $44.5 billion in January. Exports rose $1.6 billion to $186 billion. Imports increased $0.1 billion to $228.9 billion.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending March 30 rose by 28,000 to 385,000. Continuing claims for the week ending March 23 fell by 8,000 to 3.06 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 354,250. The unemployment rate decreased to 7.6% in March from 7.7% in February. Employers added 88,000 jobs in March.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on wholesale trade on April 9 and retail sales on April 12.

Provided by:
Judy Haller
Prospect Mortgage
3985 Prince William Co. Pkwy., Suite 104
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Office: (703) 590-7132
8:54 am edt

 
Monday, April 1, 2013 - ECONOMIC UPDATES - Last Week in the News

The Standard & Poors/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index - on a non-seasonally adjusted basis - rose 0.1% in January after a 0.2% increase in December. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 8.1% compared with January 2012, the largest annual gain since the summer of 2006.

Orders for durable goods - items expected to last three or more years - increased $12.4 billion, or 5.7%, to $232.1 billion in February. This follows a 3.8% decrease in January. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, February orders posted a monthly decrease of 0.5%.

New home sales fell 4.6% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 units from a rate of 431,000 units in January. On a year-over-year basis, new home sales were 12.3% higher than February 2012. At the current sales pace, there is a 4.4-month supply of new homes on the market.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 22 rose 7.7%. Purchase volume rose 7%. Refinancing applications increased 8%.

Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, fell 0.4% in February after a revised 3.8% increase in January. On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales were 8.4% higher than February 2012.

The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product - the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. - increased at an annual rate of 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2012. This follows a 3.1% pace of growth in the third quarter of 2012.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending March 23 rose by 16,000 to 357,000. Continuing claims for the week ending March 16 fell by 27,000 to 3.05 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 343,000.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending on April 1, factory orders on April 2 and the employment situation on April 5.

Provided by:
Judy Haller
Prospect Mortgage
3985 Prince William Co. Pkwy., Suite 104
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Office: (703) 590-7132
12:16 pm edt

 
Thursday, March 21, 2013 - ECONOMIC UPDATES - Last Week in the News

Retail sales rose 1.1% to $421.4 billion in February. This follows a 0.2% increase in January. Compared to February 2012, retail sales have increased 4.6%.

Consumer prices rose 0.7% in February, following a flat reading in January. Compared to February 2012, consumer prices have risen 2%. Consumer prices at the core rate - excluding volatile food and energy prices - were up 0.2% in February.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 8 fell 4.7%. Purchase volume fell 3%. Refinancing applications decreased 5%.

Total business inventories rose 1% in January to $1.642 trillion, up 5.6% from a year ago. Total business sales decreased 0.3% to $1.268 trillion in January, up 2.9% from a year ago. The total business inventories/sales ratio in January was 1.29.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, rose 0.7% in February, following a 0.2% increase in January. On a year-over-year basis, wholesale prices were up 1.7% in February. Core prices - excluding food and fuel - rose 0.2% in February.

Industrial production at the nations factories, mines and utilities rose 0.7% in February after a flat reading in January. Compared to February 2012, industrial production has increased 2.5%. Capacity utilization rose to 79.6% in February from 79.2% in January.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending March 9 fell by 10,000 to 332,000, the lowest level since January 2008. Continuing claims for the week ending March 2 fell by 89,000 to 3.024 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 346,750.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on March 18, housing starts on March 19 and existing home sales on March 21.

Provided by:
Judy Haller
Prospect Mortgage
3985 Prince William Co. Pkwy., Suite 104
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Office: (703) 590-7132
9:08 pm edt

 
Monday, February 25, 2013- ECONOMIC UPDATES - Last Week in the News

Existing home sales rose 0.4% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million units from 4.90 million units in December. Compared to a year ago, existing home sales were up 9.1% in January. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell 4.9% to 1.74 million in January, a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 4.5-month supply in December.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo monthly housing market index fell one point in February to 46. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending February 15 fell 1.7%.

Refinancing applications decreased 1.6%. Purchase volume fell 1.7%. The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in January fell 8.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000 units. Single-family starts increased 0.8%. Volatile multifamily starts fell 24.1%.

Compared to the previous year, housing starts were up 23.6% in January. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, rose 1.8% to an annual rate of 925,000 units.

Consumer prices were unchanged in January, following a flat reading in December. Compared to January 2012, consumer prices have risen 1.6%. Consumer prices at the core rate - excluding volatile food and energy prices - were up 0.3% in January.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending February 16 rose by 20,000 to 362,000. Continuing claims for the week ending February 9 rose by 11,000 to 3.148 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 360,750.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on February 26 and pending home sales on February 27.

Provided by:
Judy Haller
Prospect Mortgage
3985 Prince William Co. Pkwy., Suite 104
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Office: (703) 590-7132
9:11 pm est