Author Archives: Jack McCabe

FOMC Minutes Show “Limited Amount” of Additional Tightening Likely

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) highlighted that only a limited amount of interest rate increases would be appropriate, given current information on the economy. With the federal funds rate judged to be at or near the lower end of the range of estimates of the neutral rate, the Committee “could afford to be patient about further policy firming.” The ...

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Consumer Confidence Declined in December

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased 8.3 points to 128.1 in December. The Present Situation Index decreased 1.1 points to 171.6. The Expectations Index fell 13.2 points to 99.1. “Consumer Confidence decreased in December, following a moderate decline in November,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Expectations regarding job prospects and business conditions ...

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FOMC Raises Rates but Lowers Expected 2019 Hikes to Two from Three

At its meeting today, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) unanimously voted to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 2.25 to 2.5 percent. It was the fourth hike this year. However, the committee signaled only two rate increases next year, down from three in its previous projections. Committee members kept in the language that they expect ...

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Housing Starts Increase in November

Housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.256 million in November, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The rise was 3.2 percent above the revised October rate of 1.217 million but is 3.6 percent below the November 2017 rate. Single-family home starts declined 4.6 percent from last month. Housing activity increased in two of the four regions as ...

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Homebuilder Confidence Down in December

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell to 56 in December, four points below November’s reading. This is the lowest reading since May 2015. “We are hearing from builders that consumer demand exists, but that customers are hesitating to make a purchase because of rising home costs,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder ...

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Industrial Production Rose 0.6 percent in November

Industrial production increased 0.6 percent in November after falling 0.2 percent in October, according to the Federal Reserve. Capacity utilization was 78.5 percent in November, a rate that is 1.3 points below its long-run average. Manufacturing output was unchanged after declining 0.1 percent last month. Production of durable goods increased 0.2 percent, while nondurable goods production decreased 0.2 percent. Capacity ...

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Retail Sales Rose 0.2 Percent in November

There were $513.5 billion in retail and food service sales in November, up 0.2 percent from the previous month and 4.2 percent from November 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. October’s figure was revised down up 1.1 percent. Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – rose 0.2 percent. Year-over-year core sales increased 4.9 percent. Retail trade sales ...

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Consumer Prices Little Changed in November

The Consumer Price Index was unchanged in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This followed a 0.3 percent October increase. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 2.2 percent, up from last month’s 2.1 percent increase. Prices for all items less food and energy, the “core CPI,” grew 0.2 percent in ...

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Producer Prices Edged Up in November

Producer prices increased 0.1 percent in November, seasonally adjusted, after increasing 0.6 percent in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Producer prices rose 2.5 percent for the twelve months ended November 2018. The index for final demand goods decreased 0.4 percent in November, the largest decline since May 2017. The index for final demand energy fell 5.0 ...

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Small Business Optimism Index Dipped in November

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell to 104.8, 2.6 points below October’s reading. Twenty-nine percent of business owners surveyed said the next three months was a good time to expand, one point lower than last month’s reading. Reported job creation was unchanged, as 60 percent of businesses reported hiring or trying to hire. However, 53 percent reported few or ...

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