New Home Sales Rise in April


New home sales returned to a pace above 500,000 for the annualized rate, coming in above consensus at 517,000 for April. The Midwest and South led that increase while sales in the Northeast and West were essentially flat from the previous month. The median sale price rose to $297,300. At that level, the premium paid on a new home versus an existing home remains elevated. Read More »

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Signs of Life In Durable Goods Orders


Durable goods orders fell 0.5% in April after rising an upwardly revised 5.1% in March. February data were weak. All of the decline in durable goods orders, however, may be attributed to a drop in aircraft orders in the defense sector. Defense aircraft orders increased up a whopping 120% in March.

Capital goods orders excluding defense and aircraft, which most closely track business investment, rose a solid 1% Read More »

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Inflation Looks Hotter than it is


The Consumer Price Index edged up a modest 0.1% in April, with retreating energy prices offsetting some of the increase in services. Core CPI (non- food and non-energy) rose a more than expected 0.3% in April. Almost all of the acceleration in inflation could be traced to the medical services component, which has been decelerating fairly rapidly since the onset of the crisis. Many will look to this as the end of a trend. I would strongly caution against that Read More »

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Housing Starts Snap Back in April


Housing starts snapped back in April after dismal reports for February and March. Total starts last month grew at a 1.14 million-unit, annualized pace on top of an upward revision to the previous month. Gains were led by the Northeast region Read More »

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Another Dismal Report


Industrial production dropped 0.3% in April. The decline for March was not as severe as originally reported, but still lower. Losses in the mining and utilities sector are driving the drop in industrial production. That said, the weakness was broad-based Read More »

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Retail Sales Better than Headline Suggests


Retail sales were essentially unchanged in April after being revised up for the month of March. Much of the weakness can be traced to a drop in big-ticket spending last month Read More »

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Moderate Rebound in Employment


Payroll employment rebounded by 223,000 in April after being revised down for the month of March. The snapback was in places one would expect, such as construction and teachers at the state and local levels. Read More »

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Employment Expected to Pick Up


We expect payroll employment to rise by 220,000 in April after adding a negligible 120,000 in March. Private payrolls are forecast to account for 215,000 of those gains. Much, of course, will depend upon revisions, which we are hoping to be to the upside for March. Read More »

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Q1 GDP to Show Hit from Trade Deficit


The trade deficit widened dramatically in March as containers that had been stockpiled during labor disputes at West Coast ports were finally unloaded and made room for new shipments. Indeed, almost all of the increase in imports came from Asia, Read More »

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Construction Spending: Better than the Headline


Construction spending dropped 0.6% in March but was revised up a bit during the previous two months. Losses were concentrated in the public sector with a further pullback in spending at the state and local levels exacerbating losses at the federal level. Residential construction also retreated after better gains in January and February. The bright spot was commercial construction activity; Read More »

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