Daily Market Commentary for September 20, 2011
NASA reports a 6.5-ton decommissioned NASA satellite is expected to crash to earth by the end of the week.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was hosing a triple digit gain, into the noon hour on Wall Street. European stock markets ended higher today on hopes that Greece will get its next round of funding and the Federal Reserve will inject some stimulus into the U.S. economy. The Federal Open Market Committee began its two-day meeting today with the FOMC scheduled to release their decision on interest rates, Wednesday at 2:15pm ET. The International Monetary Fund reported that they cut its forecast for global growth, citing slow private-sector demand, sovereign debt and bank troubles. The IMF cut its U.S. growth forecast for this year to 1.5% and to 1.8% for 2011; for 2011 growth forecast is a full percentage point lower than three months ago and 0.9% below its prior forecast for 2012. The 2011 view is slightly below Wall Street views of 1.6% U.S. growth, though the IMF’s call for 2012 is more conservative than the 2.2% growth seen by private-sector economists. “The strong cyclical rebound in global industrial production and trade in 2010 was never expected to persist. However, in crisis-hit advanced economies, especially the United States, the handover from public to private demand is taking more time than anticipated,” the IMF said in a report. The IMF said unemployment and low wages are likely to stay high for some time. Additionally, house prices are showing no signs of stabilizing either especially in hard-hit areas including the U.S. and Spain. The IMF reported that the financial conditions indices of its staff, which consider developments in equity and bond prices, spreads and bank lending volume in the United States and the euro area, have tightened noticeably. Risks are higher than three months ago - the IMF says in identifying weak sovereigns and banks in the developed world, insufficiently strong policies to address the legacy of the crisis, vulnerabilities in emerging-market economies and volatile commodity prices and geopolitical tensions. The IMF report sounded the same go-slow on short-term government spending cuts but make medium-term adjustments theme that its new leader, Christine Lagarde, has sounded. Lagarde joined the IMF in July, about two weeks after the previous world economic outlook was published. “If (contrary to WEO assumptions) payroll tax relief and help for the unemployed in the United States are not prolonged, U.S. growth could be significantly lower. By the same token, if sound medium-term consolidation plans are not implemented, households and businesses may take an increasingly dim view of future prospects and drastically raise their saving rates. The result could be a lost decade for growth,” the report said.
According the the Commerce Department, the start of construction on new U.S. homes fell 5.0% in August to an annual rate of 571,000 while permits however, rose 3.2%. For July, housing starts were revised down to 601,000 from an original reading of 604,000. New construction permits, which are viewed as a gauge of future demand, increased to an annual rate of 620,000 from 601,000 in July striking highest level seen since December. Permits for single-family homes, which account for nearly three-quarters of the housing market, rose 2.5% to an annual rate of 413,000 last month striking the highest level seen since January, though new construction is still extremely weak by historical standards. The residential construction industry remains mired in its worst slump in modern times with new homes selling at nearly half the rate as would be the case in a healthy housing market. Persistently high jobless rate, a flood of foreclosures and difficulty that both builders and prospective buyers face in trying to get financing from cautious lenders represent some of the factors in the depressing sales atmosphere. Buyers can also get a much lower price by choosing a previously owned home. New construction of single-family homes, which account for three-quarters of the housing market, dipped 1.4% in August to an annual rate of 417,000. Construction of single-family homes are 2.3% lower compared to year ago.
Bank of China Ltd. has halted foreign-exchange swaps with several European banks with differed reasoning behind the move. Some report the Bank of China’s action was due to the European sovereign-debt crisis, with a recent downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service of Societe Generale and Credit Agricole factoring in its decision. Others potential reasons seen are that Bank of China halted the trades after it reached the limit on its trading credit lines.
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