Money Talk Podcast, Friday Oct. 5, 2012
Advisors on This Week’s ShowJoel Dresang)
Week in Review (Oct. 1-5, 2012)
Significant economic indicators & reports
Manufacturing rose unexpectedly in September for the first time in four months, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Boosted by growth in new orders and inventories and a faster pace in hiring, the purchasing managers’ index also contained mixed signals stemming in part from uncertainty over domestic policies.
Even as manufacturing has wobbled in recent months, the U.S. housing industry has become less of a drag on economic growth. The Commerce Department said construction spending dipped in August, but much of that was in commercial building and continued decreases in public-sector construction. Spending on housing construction stayed up, rising 16% from August 2011.
Auto dealers sold an annualized rate of 14.9 million vehicles in September, according to Auto Data Corp. That beat analyst forecasts and was the highest rate since March 2008. With manufacturing weakening, consumer spending is becoming a more important driver of economic activity, and auto sales have been gaining momentum.
Along with signs of renewed growth in the manufacturing sector, non-manufacturing expanded for the 33rd month in a row in September. The Institute for Supply Management said the sector employing 90% of the nation’s workers grew at its fastest pace in six months. New orders were particularly strong, and they’re a leading indicator of future growth.
The moving four-week average for initial unemployment claims was unchanged after dropping for the first time in six weeks. The average has been below the critical 400,000 level for nearly a year, according to Labor Department data, but it has resisted further declines, reflecting a stagnant hiring market.
In another sign of manufacturing speed bumps, factory orders fell in August for the second time in three months. Considered a volatile economic indicator, the Commerce Department report showed a slight gain after factoring out transportation equipment, which suffered from a large decline in commercial aircraft orders.
Employers added slightly fewer jobs than expected in September but more than initially estimated in August and July, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing employment fell for the second month in a row while payrolls grew in such areas as housing construction, real estate and refinancing. The unemployment rate – measured by a less extensive household survey – dipped below 8% for the first time since January 2009. U.S. employers are roughly halfway back from recovering the number of jobs they eliminated during the Great Recession.
Where the Markets Closed for the Week
- Nasdaq – 3,136, up 20 points or 0.6%
- Standard & Poor’s 500 – 1,461, up 20 points or 1.4%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 1.73%, up 0.09 point
- Dow Jones Industrial Average – 13,610, up 177 points or 1.3%