Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jobless claims bad ... Retail sales not so much ... Foreclosures rise

The latest batch of economic data just hit the wire and it's a mixed bag. Initial jobless claims rose to 654,000 in the week of March 7 from 645,000 a week ago. That topped forecasts for a reading of 644,000, and it was just shy of the cycle high of 670,000 set in late February. Continuing claims surged to 5.317 million from 5.124 million a week earlier. That's the highest level in U.S. history.

Retail sales in February fell just 0.1%, against forecasts for a reading of -0.5%. January's number was revised up to +1.8% from a previous reading of +1%. If you exclude autos, you get a +0.7% number for February, much better than forecasts for a -0.1% reading. January's number was revised up to +1.6% from +0.9%.

Finally, RealtyTrac's latest monthly foreclosure report showed a 5.9% rise between January and February -- to 290,631 filings from 274,399. That was also up 29.9% from a year earlier, but slightly below the recent highs (around 303,000).


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