Money Talk Podcast, Friday Feb. 15, 2013
Advisors on This Week’s ShowMax Hoelzl and Joel Dresang)
Week in Review (Feb. 11-15, 2015)
Significant economic indicators & reports
No major announcements
No major announcements
Retail sales continued growing but at a slower pace in January. The Commerce Department reported sales increased less than analysts had forecast with department stores, online and sporting goods sales among six categories gaining while seven declined. Sales overall advanced for the third month in a row but diminished as payroll tax cuts expired, thus lowering consumers’ disposable income.
In a separate report, Commerce said business inventories rose less than expected in December. Sales grew even faster, which means businesses are running leaner and could have to boost production and employment to keep up with consumer demand.
Employment conditions continue to look better as the moving four-week average for initial unemployment claims stayed at levels not seen since mid-2008. The Labor Department reported that the average rose for the second time in three weeks, yet remained close to the recovery low and below the 45-year average. Generally, lower claims suggest a lower unemployment rate, but the drop in unsuccessful job seekers has been lagging.
The Federal Reserve said industrial production in January dipped unexpectedly, including manufacturing, which helped lead the U.S. economy out of the Great Recession. But revised data also show factory output at even higher levels than previously estimated in the past few months, including the strongest two-month surge since early 1984. Mining capacity remains high, and utilities production rebounded after a return to more seasonal weather conditions.
Consumer sentiment also is bouncing back, according to a preliminary February gauging by the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters. The sentiment index hit its highest level in three months, suggesting more consumers are willing to spend the money that drives 70% of the nation’s economic activity. Consumers expressed more optimism about their current circumstances as well as their expectations six months from now.
Where the Markets Closed for the Week
- Nasdaq – 3,192, down 2 points or 0.1%
- Standard & Poor’s 500 – 1,520, up 2 points or 0.1%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 2.02%, up 0.06 point
- Dow Jones Industrial – 13,979, down 11 points or 0.1%