Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Economic data flooding in, with most of it bad

We just got a big batch of economic data, and most of it doesn't look good -- though it's not exactly a surprise on Wall Street. A quick recap:

* Durable goods orders plunged 6.2% in October, more than twice the forecast for a 3% drop and the biggest decline since October 2006 (-8.3%). If you strip out transportation, you get a 4.4% decline, almost triple the 1.6% fall that was anticipated and the worst since January 2002. Non-defense capital goods, ex-aircraft, orders, a key measure of business spending, plunged 4%.

* Personal income was up 0.3% on the month, slightly better than the 0.1% forecast. But spending dropped 1%, a big downgrade from the prior month's 0.3% decline and the sharpest contraction since the month of the 9/11 attacks.

* Initial jobless claims came in at 529,000, down slightly from last week's 543,000 but still well into the danger zone. Continuing claims dipped to 3.962 million from a revised 4.016 million filers in the prior week. The four-week moving average of claims climbed to 518,000, the most since January 1983.

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