200805.16
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Housing Starts

Housing starts for the month of April surged 8.2%, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.032 million. The number blew away expectations, as economists were expecting a number closer to 939,000. New construction on single-family homes did fall for the month, though, by 1.7%, the lowest level since January 1991. Starts on single-family homes have…

200803.14
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Inflation? What Inflation?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly consumer price index for February, and to everyone’s surprise(and I mean everyone), it came in flat. There was no increase in consumer prices in the last month. Hard to believe, but for the time being, we’ll treat it as great news. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food…

200803.05
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Federal Reserve Beige Book

The Beige Book is a commonly used name for the Federal Reserve report called the Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District. It is published just before the FOMC meeting on interest rates and is used to inform the members on changes in the economy since the last meeting. Here is…

200802.20
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Fear Itself

The first paragraph of FDR’s first inaugural address contains the famous line about fear: “I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the…

200802.11
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France’s Second Largest Bank to Sell Shares At A Discount

Societe Generale, France’s second largest bank, will raise $8 billion by selling stock in a rights offer, with the purpose of replenishing working capital. A rights offering involves the raising of capital by giving existing shareholders the right to purchase new shares in proportion to their holdings. In this case, shareholders can buy one share…

200802.11
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A Change In The Dow Jones

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of the most closely watched stock indices in the US, is adding two new components to reflect changes in the US economic structure. Bank of America, symbol BAC, the world’s biggest bank by market cap, and Chevron Corp, symbol CVX, one of the largest oil companies in the world,…

200802.07
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Jobless Claims-Feb. 2 Week

The Labor Department reported a drop in initial jobless claims for the latest week. First-time claims fell by 22,000, to 356,000, from an upwardly revised 378,000 the prior week. The 4-week moving average also rose, increasing 8,500 to 335,000. It’s the highest since January 5th. The 4-week moving average is a less volatile and more…

200710.04
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A Path to Socialized Medicine?

Congress recently passed a bipartisan bill with a goal of providing subsidized healthcare to millions of uninsured children in the US. The bill would fund the hugely successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a joint state-federal effort covering 6.6 million people. The program is designed for families that earn too much to qualify for Medicare,…

200709.19
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Light At The End of The Tunnel…Part II

The Commerce Department released its monthly Housing report for August today. To no one’s surprise, it was a little bit negative, with US housing starts decreasing by 2.6%. Building permits also came in a little low, falling off by 5.9%. At first glance, the numbers seem pretty bad, but there’s a good in just about…

200709.14
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Light at The End of The Tunnel?

The US economy slowly limps forward, as the September 18th Federal Reserve meeting, a meeting where many hope and expect the Fed to cut rates, quickly approaches. The economic turmoil that has engulfed the markets is certainly giving the cause for a 0.25% or 0.5% cut a nice lift. And the economic reports released today…