Daily Market Commentary for November 10, 2011
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in September as records rose to a record high and imports stagnated for the fourth consecutive month. (read more at Millennium-Traders.Com) http://www.millennium-traders.com/news/newscommentary.aspx
During the month of September, exports rose to a new record level while imports increased only slightly. Exports rose 1.4% to $180.4 billion in September after a 0.1% gain in August while imports rose 0.3% to $223.5 billion after a 0.2% drop in previous month. Imports have stagnated after hitting $226 billion in May. Exports of goods alone rose 2.1% while the gain was broad-based, with the largest gain in exports of industrial supplies including gold and chemicals. A key sector, exports of civilian aircraft, rose 1.7% during September. Imports of goods alone rose 0.3% during September while consumer goods imports declined, led by a drop in toys, shoes and jewelry. During September, the petroleum deficit widened 1.4% to $26.3 billion but remained below the $30.6 billion level reached in May. The value of U.S. crude oil imports fell to $28.3 billion in September from $31.0 billion in August as the price of a barrel of oil fell to $101.02 from $102.62 in previous month. The U.S. trade deficit with China edged lower to $28.1 billion during the month of September from the record deficit of $29.0 billion recorded in the month of August.
The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans who filed new applications for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level seen in seven months, showing slowly improving conditions in the labor market. For the week ended November 5, initial jobless claims fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 390,000. Initial jobless claims from two weeks ago were revised higher to 400,000 from an initially reported 397,000. The four-week average of new claims which is seen as a better indicator due to the reduced volatility, dropped by 5,250 to 400,000, striking the lowest level seen since April 16. Last week the Labor Department reported roughly 80,000 jobs outside the farm sector were created during the month of October however, the number is still not enough to keep up with the natural growth in the labor force, much less the nearly 250,000 jobs per month needed to make a serious dent in the 9% unemployment rate. The number of Americans who continue to receive regular state unemployment benefits dropped by 92,000 to 3.61 million in the week ending October 29, striking the lowest level seen in over three years, with continuing claims having been reported on a one-week lag. Nearly 6.83 million people received some sort of state or federal unemployment benefit in the week ended October 22 which is an increase of 51,990 from previous week with total claims reported with a two-week lag. There were 41,066 newly discharged veterans claiming benefits.
Freddie Mac reporting that the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.99% in the week ending November 10, compared with 4.00% during the previous week. This is the second time this year that the rate moved below 4%. According to Freddie, the 30-year rate was at 4.17%, same time in 2010. To obtain the latest rate, borrowers must pay an average 0.7 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged in prepaid interest. The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.30% in the latest week from 3.31% during the previous week. Meanwhile, the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 2.98% from 2.96%. The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM increased to 2.95% from 2.88%.
Wednesday evening in a meeting of the Board of Trustees at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, the legendary coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions - will coach no more. In the wake of a sexual abuse scandal involving a prominent former assistant coach and the university’s failure to act to halt further harm, Joe Paterno who has the most victories of any coach in major college football history, was fired and would coach, no more games for Penn State. The Board additionally axed Graham B. Spanier, one of the longest-serving and highest-paid university presidents in the nation, who had helped raise the academic profile of Penn State during his tenure. “We thought that because of the difficulties that engulfed our university, and they are grave, that it is necessary to make a change in the leadership to set a course for a new direction,” said John Surma Jr., the vice chairman of the board. The decision was made after the arrest last Saturday of the former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky - considered a serial pedophile who was allowed to add victims over the years in part because the university he had served was either unable or unwilling to stop him. Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year span, and two top university officials, Tim Curley, the athletic director and Gary Schultz - senior vice president for finance and business, have been charged with perjury and failing to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations. Neither Mr. Paterno nor Mr. Spanier were charged in the case, though questions have been raised about if they did as much as they could to stop Sandusky. Paterno announced earlier Wednesday that he planned to retire at the end of the football season however; the statement was apparently released without the approval of the board. “At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status,” Mr. Paterno said in his statement. “They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” Penn State board unanimously declined to let him finish out the season, his 46th as the head football coach and his 62nd year over all at the college. According to Mr. Surma, chief executive of U.S. Steel, Coach Paterno was told of his firing by telephone. Mr. Paterno issued another statement late Wednesday, “I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees’ decision, but I have to accept it. “A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, its property and all that we value,” he said in the statement.
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