Daily Market Commentary for December 22, 2011
Labor Department reported the number of Americans filing initial jobless claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits is at the lowest level seen since April 2008. (read more at Millennium-Traders.Com) http://www.millennium-traders.com/news/newscommentary.aspx
Trading volume and activity was simply awful today as we inch closer to the upcoming, extended Christmas holiday weekend. It was clearly evident that many traders have already abandoned Wall Street to spend time with family and friends, or are on route to their holiday destination. Tomorrows trading session is expected to produce very little action, potentially keeping allot of traders at bay, on the sidelines.
President Barack Obama urged Congress to send him a two-month extension of a payroll-tax cut and then negotiate a year-long deal - one that won't rely on any contingencies thrown in. The Senate bill would extend the current 4.2% payroll tax for two months. Without action before the end of this year the payroll tax will rise to 6.2% of earnings from 4.2%. In less than nine days, American workers are facing a tax hike unless the parties come together. Speaking at the White House, Obama said "a faction" of House Republicans is holding up an extension and that continuing the cut is insurance for the economic recovery. "Enough is enough," Obama said. Without action by Congress the payroll-tax will revert to 6.2% from 4.2%. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell urged Speaker John Boehner and other GOP lawmakers to vote on a Senate-passed bill that would give Congress more time to work on a year-long extension. Nearly 2 million people will also lose unemployment benefits unless Congress extends them on December 31 or before - not such a merry way to celebrate the holidays. Both the Senate’s bill and a House-passed bill would also require Obama to decide within two months whether to approve the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline between the U.S. and Canada - a decision he has sought to delay until 2013.
Commerce Department reported U.S. economic growth during Q3 was slightly weaker than previously forecast, mainly due to consumers spending less money on health care. In Q3, the largest global economy grew at a 1.8% real annual pace compared with the 2.0% estimated expansion reported last month - with figures seasonally adjusted and adjusted for price changes. Third-quarter growth was estimated two months ago at a 2.5% annualized rate but revised down to 2.0% growth in last month’s estimate. Revisions come from more complete data than were available during the first and second estimates. Downward revision to Q3 GDP was largely due to weaker consumer spending, offsetting upward revisions to business investment. Final sales increased at a 3.2% annual pace versus revision from 3.6%. Gross domestic purchases which consists of sales to U.S. residents, rose at 1.3% annual rate, revised down from 1.5%. Real consumer spending increased 1.7% on an annualized basis, compared with the earlier 2.3% estimate. Spending on durable goods increased 5.7%; spending on services increased 1.9% and spending on nondurable goods fell 0.5%. Core consumer prices rose at a 2.1% annual pace in the quarter but was revised up from the 2.0% previously reported. Core prices which exclude food and energy are up 1.6% in the past year. Before tax corporate profits increased $22.3 billion or at 1.2% quarterly rate, in Q3 and up 3.7% in the past year. Business fixed investments increased at a 15.7% annual pace, revised up from 14.8%. Investments in equipment and software rose 16.2%; investments in structures increased 14.4% and business investments contributed 1.5 percentage points to growth. Inventories shrank by $2.0 billion in Q3 with the change in inventory investment cutting 1.35 percentage points from growth. The trade sector added 0.4 percentage point to growth in Q3, exports rose by 4.7% instead of by the 4.3% previously reported and compared to exports, imports increased a much smaller 1.2%.
In October, U.S. home prices fell 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis, per the Federal Housing Finance Agency. September's FHFA house-price index was revised to a 0.4% increase from 0.9% and over the past year, home prices have fallen 2.8%. FHFA's monthly index is calculated using the prices of houses bought with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters reported consumer sentiment reached 69.9 in the final reading for December compared with 64.1 in November, striking the fourth consecutive monthly gain. The sentiment gauge, which covers how consumers view their personal finances as well as business and buying conditions, averaged about 87 in the year before the start of the most recent recession.
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