Last Week in the News

Existing home sales rose 7.4% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million units from 6.09 million units in October. On a year-over-year basis, sales of existing homes increased 44%, the largest gain on record. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell 1.3% to 3.52 million, a 6.5-month supply at the current sales pace, and the lowest level since December 2006.

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 2.2% in the third quarter of 2009. This was the final revision of the third-quarter report and was lower than the previous estimate of 2.8%.

The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose 0.5% in November, slightly less than economists had anticipated. Personal income increased 0.4%, the fastest pace in six months.

The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for December’s final reading rose to 72.5 from November’s final reading of 67.4. Economists had forecast a December reading of 73.8.

The Commerce Department reported new home sales fell 11% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 355,000 from a downwardly revised rate of 400,000 in October. Economists had expected a pace of 440,000.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — rose 0.2% in November after a 0.6% decline in October. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a sizeable monthly gain of 2%.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 28,000 to 452,000 in the week ending December 19. Continuing claims for the week ending December 12 fell by 127,000 to 5.08 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index and consumer confidence on December 29.

 

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Anthony J Crecco

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Thornwood NY  10594

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