Last Week in the News


Existing home sales rose 10.1% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.1 million units from 5.54 million units in September. The increase was largely due to the tax incentive for first-time homebuyers. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell 3.7% to 3.57 million, a 7-month supply at the current sales pace, and the lowest level since February 2007.

The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 2.8% in the third quarter of 2009, rather than the 3.5% increase initially reported last month.

The Standard & Poor’s / Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index rose 0.27% in September. It was the fourth consecutive monthly gain and follows a 1.13% increase in August.

The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index rose to 49.5 in November from a revised 48.7 in October. Economists had expected a reading of 47.3. 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 new home sales rose 6.2% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 430,000 from an upwardly revised rate of 405,000 in September. It was the highest level since September 2008. Economists had expected a pace of 410,000.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — fell 0.6% in October after a revised 2% gain in September. The drop was largely due to an 18.4% decrease in orders for defense-related goods.

The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose 0.7% in October, higher than economists had anticipated. Personal income increased 0.2%.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 35,000 to 466,000 in the week ending November 21. Continuing claims for the week ending November 14 fell by 190,000 to 5.42 million, the lowest level since the week ending February 28.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending and pending home sales on December 1, and factory orders on December 4.

Anthony Crecco
   The Crecco Companies


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