Money Talk Podcast, Friday Dec. 12, 2014
Landaas & Company newsletter December edition now available.
Advisors on This Week’s ShowMax Hoelzl)
Week in Review (Dec. 8-12, 2014)
Significant economic indicators & reports
No major announcements
Employers posted more than 4.8 million job openings in October, which was more than analysts expected and the highest since August, when openings reached their highest level in nearly 14 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the number hirings fell slightly from September, but more Americans quit their jobs than any time since April 2008, suggesting more workers are feeling confident about their ability to find new positions.
The Commerce Department reported a bigger-than-expected gain in wholesale inventories in October. Sales didn’t grow as fast as inventories, which kept a measure of wholesaler efficiency at a relatively lean level. That positions companies to be more responsive to changes in demand.
No major announcements
Retail sales grew more than analysts expected in November on top of a bigger gain in October than previously estimated. The Commerce Department reported broad sales gains with only miscellaneous stores and gas stations declining from October, and the drop off in gas sales reflects lower prices at the pump. The report signaled growing consumer participation in U.S. economic expansion. The year-to-year sales rate rose to 5.1%, higher than the 21-year average of 4.6%.
In a separate report, Commerce said business inventories rose a tad less than expected in October. But companies also had a decline in sales that month, which kept the ratio of inventories to sales unchanged for the third month in a row. That suggests businesses are running relatively lean and could be ready to add production and jobs as demand increases.
The moving four-week average for initial unemployment claims rose for the fifth week in a row, while staying at historically low levels. The Labor Department reported that the average remained below the year-ago level as well as the 47-year average, suggesting that employers are resisting letting workers go.
In another sign of the relative weakness of U.S. economic growth, wholesale inflation declined in November for the third time in four months. Even after factoring out the volatile food and fuel costs, the core Producer Price Index fell for the second consecutive months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, energy prices have dropped in nine months so far this year, reflecting a global slowdown in demand for fuel. The year-to-year inflation rate on the wholesale level dipped to 1.4%, the slimmest margin since February and still below the 2% target of the Federal Reserve.
Where the Markets Closed for the Week
- Nasdaq – 4,654, down 127 points or 2.7%
- Standard & Poor’s 500 – 2,002, down 73 points or 3.5%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 2.08%, down 0.23 point
- Dow Jones Industrial – 17,281, down 678 points or 3.8%