Last Week in the News


According to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index, retail sales fell 0.1% in the week ending November 7. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.9%, the best showing since August 2008.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to 502,000 in the week ending November 7. It was the lowest level since January and the figure was lower than the 510,000 that economists had forecast. Continuing claims for the week ending October 31 fell by 139,000 to 5.63 million.

The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for November fell to 66 from 70.6 in October. Economists had forecast a reading of 71.

The Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit widened 18.2% to $36.5 billion in September from a revised $30.7 billion in August. It was the largest monthly gain since a 20.6% jump in February 1999. Economists had expected a trade deficit of $31.7 billion. The deficit is running at an annual rate of $366 billion, compared to $695.9 billion in 2008.

The Labor Department said import prices rose 0.7% in October, driven by escalating petroleum prices and a 24% jump in natural gas prices. On a year-over-year basis, import prices are down 5.7%. According to the report, export prices rose 0.3% in October.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications for the week ending November 6 rose 3.2% to 627.5. Purchase volume fell 11.7% to 220.9. It was the lowest level since December 2000 and largely due to the deliberations to extend a government tax credit. Refinancing applications increased 11.3% to 2998.2.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index and wholesale inflation on November 17, housing starts on November 18 and the index of leading economic indicators on November 19.

 

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