Just when it looked as though the stars were aligned once again for the housing market
, some rain has been thrown on the parade. True, there was no deluge, and homebuilding in the latest month still exceeded the year-earlier total. Nevertheless, the falloff was worse than had been anticipated.
The Federal Reserve
released its much-anticipated statement following the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy
meeting. The testimonial featured minimal changes from the last release, as the lead bank noted that it will keep interest rates low for a “considerable time,”
much to the delight of equity market participants. The equity market moved modestly higher on the commentary, as low interest rates and a supportive Fed are typically viewed favorably by investors and that certainly seems to be the case once again today.
declined in August, dipping by a scant 0.1%, for that sector's first retreat in seven months. The setback was not only somewhat disappointing, but it was a little surprising, as well, with output having been expected to rise by 0.3% last month.
Earlier this morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce
reported that Americans had stepped up their spending in August, as retail sales
gained a solid 0.6%. That improvement was as expected. Encouragingly, the rise was off a somewhat higher base than originally thought, as July retail sales, which had been estimated to have shown no increase, were revised to indicate a modest uptick of 0.3%.
Just when it appeared as though everything was coming up roses for the nation's economy
, the U.S. Labor Department
threw some cold water on the party when it reported a little earlier this morning that non-farm payrolls
had risen by just 142,000 last month. That tepid increase was well under the latest forecast gain of 225,000.
At 10:00 A.M. (EDT) this morning, we received a very encouraging report on non-manufacturing activity
for the month of August. It marked the 55th consecutive month that economic activity in the services sector had grown.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book
, a panorama of the U.S. business outlook
across the country, was issued earlier this afternoon, and it contained few surprises
. Essentially, this compilation, which is used by the central bank
to help it formulate monetary policy
, noted that economic activity had picked up over the summer after hitting a soft patch early in the year. That softness had been largely due to weather-related issues.
The Institute for Supply Management
reported a bit earlier this morning that manufacturing activity had surged ahead to its best level in almost three and a half years during August. That noted increase, to 59.0, was well above the forecast result of 56.8; was better than July's survey reading of 57.1; and was dramatically improved from the dividing line (of 50.0) between a growing manufacturing base and one that is contracting.
The nation's economy
, initially estimated to have risen by a strong 4.0% in the second quarter of this year, has now seen that rate of increase revised modestly to the upside
in a report issued earlier this morning. Specifically, this revision, the first of two such adjustments, indicated that the expansion proceeded at a 4.2%
rate in the second quarter
The American economy is getting better and should get better still in the months to come, with that fact driven home nicely in the past hour when the Conference Board, a New York-based research organization, reported that its survey on consumer confidence had jumped ahead in August
to a reading of 92.4. Forecasts had been for a slight dip from July's downwardly adjusted result of 90.3. Initially, the July metric had been estimated at 90.9.