Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Upbeat US Economic Indicators (excerpt)

In the US, the latest batch of economic indicators has been relatively strong. The index of leading economic indicators rose 0.7% during August to the best reading since April 2008. A big jump in the ISM new orders index contributed to last month’s gain. So did a drop in initial unemployment claims to the lowest since October 2007. The interest rate spread component, which widened as bond yields rose, might not be such a positive development, as evidenced by the recent weakness in building permits.

So far, we have September data for the regional business surveys conducted by the FRB New York and the FRB Philadelphia. They were strong, with the averages of both their orders indexes and their employment indexes rising impressively. Markit reported yesterday that their flash M-PMI for the US edged down slightly from 53.1 in August to 52.8 this month, led by a drop in the new orders index from 55.7 to 52.7, while the output index rose from 52.5 to 55.3.

Existing home sales rose to a new cyclical high in August, though the pending home sales index for July edged down slightly from recent highs. The median existing single-family home price rose 14.4% last month, the fastest appreciation rate since October 2005.

Today's Morning Briefing: Less Uncertainty? (1) Placing odds. (2) Nothing to fear but another fiscal fiasco. (3) Latest batch of US economic indicators generally upbeat. (4) Global economic indicators showing some strength too. (5) S&P 500 revenues improving. (6) Forward earnings still making new highs. (7) Why subpar growth is bullish. (8) Secular bull case powered by broadening tech revolution. (9) Intelligent machines, cheaper solar panels, electric cars on auto-pilot, and a drop of blood. (More for subscribers.)

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