Money Talk Podcast, Friday Sept. 13, 2013
Advisors on This Week’s ShowMax Hoelzl and Joel Dresang)
Week in Review (Sept. 9-13, 2013)
Significant economic indicators & reports
In a sign of consumer reticence, credit card use declined for the second month in a row in July. The Federal Reserve reported that overall consumer credit use rose in July, although less than analysts had expected. The bulk of increases have come from non-revolving credit – mostly auto financing and student loans.
No major reports released
Wholesale inventories grew in July for the first time in four months, though less than analysts had forecast. The Commerce Department said both inventories and sales advanced at the same pace – 0.1%, which held the inventories-to-sales ratio steady and suggested that companies are holding back on ramping up production until demand improves.
In a continued sign of employers’ reluctance to lose workers, the moving four-week average for initial unemployment claims dropped to its lowest level in nearly six years. The Labor Department reported the eighth drop in the average in the last nine weeks. Jobless claims have been below the 46-year average all year.
Wholesale inflation stayed benign in August, according to the latest Producer Price Index. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a monthly rise in both food and energy costs, but the overall index increased just 0.3% and was up 1.4% from August 2012, which was the lowest rate in four months. Slower economic growth overseas may account for lack of demand for the commodities in the wholesale price measure. Low inflation signals little urgency for Fed policy makers to taper their stimulus bond-buying program.
Even though credit card use dipped in July, retail spending rose – albeit at a slower rate than in June. The Commerce Department reported that eight of 13 retail categories sold more in July, led by car dealers and furniture stores. Sales overall were up 4.7% from July 2012, which is stronger than the long-term pace and shows consumer resilience despite increased payroll taxes earlier this year and sluggish wage growth.
Commerce said business inventories rose in July for the third time in four months and at the fastest pace since January. The gain exceeded analyst expectations. Sales made even faster progress, suggesting businesses might have to produce more and stock shelves to keep up with demand.
Where the Markets Closed for the Week
- Nasdaq – 3,722, up 62 points or 1.7%
- Standard & Poor’s 500 – 1,688, up 33 points or 2%
- 10-year U.S. Treasury Note – 2.89%, down 0.04 point
- Dow Jones Industrial – 15,376, up 453 points or 3%