Money Talk Podcast, Friday Aug. 21, 2015
Landaas & Company newsletter, August edition now available.
Advisors on This Week’s Show
Week in Review (Aug. 17-21, 2015)
Significant economic indicators & reports
No major indicators
The housing recovery showed continued contributions to U.S. economic growth in July as housing starts exceeded analyst expectations and rose to the fastest pace since October 2007. The Commerce Department reported new construction reached an annual pace of 1.21 million housing units, with single-family houses leading the way, up nearly 13% from June’s rate. Still housing construction stays below its long-term level of 1.44 million new units per year. Building permits, portending future construction, dipped 16% from June, which was the fastest pace in eight years.
The broadest gauge of inflation rose less than expected in July, barely budging to a 0.1% gain from June. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index rose just 0.2% from July 2014. Excluding volatile food and energy prices (the latter down nearly 15% from a year ago), the 12-month core inflation rate was 1.8%, still below the 2% Federal Reserve target for sustainable economic growth.
The four-week average of initial unemployment insurance claims rose for the first time in five weeks, following its lowest level since April 2000. Data from the Labor Department indicated continued reluctance by employers to let workers go, as jobless applications remained below their long-term average since January 2013.
The National Association of Realtors reported that July’s existing home sales rose to an annual rate of 5.59 million, the fastest annual pace since February 2007. The trade group said more homeowners are moving up because of steady hiring in the economy, increased home equity and a tick up in mortgage rates. It also cited rising prices (41 months in a row of year-to-year gains) and thin wage growth as possibly dampening further sales, especially among first-time buyers.
The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators declined for the first time since April 2013, mostly because of the decline in housing permits. Even so, economists for the business research group said signs point to continued moderate U.S. economic growth, at least through the end of 2015.
No major indicators
Where the Markets Closed for the Week
- Nasdaq – 4,706, down 342 points or 6.8%
- Standard & Poor’s 500 – 1,971, down 121 points or 5.8%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 2.05%, down 0.16 point
- Dow Jones Industrial – 16,460, down 1,017 points or 5.8%