Commerce Dept. Releases Numbers!

The Commerce Department reported total construction spending rose 0.8% in August. Economists had expected a decrease of 0.2%. Private residential activity rose 4.7%, posting its best showing since November 1993.

The Standard & Poor’s / Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index rose 1.2% in July. It was the biggest gain since October 2005.

The National Association of Realtors reported that its pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, rose 6.4% to 103.8 in August, following a 3.2% increase to 97.6 in July. It was the seventh consecutive monthly increase and the highest reading since March 2007.

The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index fell to 53.1 in September from a revised 54.5 in August. Economists had expected an increase to 57. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.

The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose 1.3% in August, the largest increase since October 2001. Economists had anticipated an increase of 1.1%. The reading follows a revised 0.3% increase in July. Personal income rose 0.2% in August, the same as in July.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 17,000 to 551,000 in the week ending September 26. The figure was higher than the 535,000 that economists had forecast. The number of people continuing to claim jobless benefits in the week ending September 19 fell by 70,000 to 6.09 million.

In the third quarter of 2009, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 15%, its biggest gain since the fourth quarter of 1998.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on consumer credit on October 7 and wholesale trade on October 8.

 

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Anthony J Crecco

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