The investment community received another mostly encouraging report on the U.S. economy
when the National Association of Realtors, the nation’s largest trade association, reported an increase in existing home sales for the month of September.
The U.S. Commerce Department earlier this morning reported that housing starts
improved further last month, rising by 6.3% to an annualized rate of 1,017,000 units. That was modestly above expectations of an even one million homes started. In August, starts had dipped to 957,000 residences (initially estimated at 956,000 homes). The September total was also well above the year-earlier tally of 863,000 starts.
Just when it seemed as though the news could only be bad, and worries about economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic were proliferating, the U.S. Commerce Department
reported that industrial production jumped notably in September, rising by a full percentage point.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book
summation was released within the past hour and that compilation of economic conditions across the country had no major surprises for embattled investors.
The Commerce Department gave Wall Street and U.S. economists something new to worry about this morning, as that government agency reported that retail sales had fallen by 0.3% last month
; a drop of just 0.1% had been the consensus forecast. At the same time, August sales were unrevised and continued to show a 0.6% increase.
At 10:00 A.M. (EDT) this morning, we received another encouraging report on the U.S. economy when the Institute for Supply Management reported data on non-manufacturing activity for the month of September. It marked the 56th consecutive month that economic activity in the services sector had grown.
Just when some scattered concerns had started to be voiced about the nation's presumptive rate of economic improvement
during the months ahead, the Labor Department
threw cold water on those worries, at least for now.
Fresh on the heels of some dispiriting manufacturing
news out of Germany earlier this morning, in which that country had suffered a small decline in that industrial category in the latest month, our Institute for Supply Management (ISM) has chimed in with data showing a smaller-than-forecast increase in this important industrial segment.
The Conference Board's Index of Consumer Confidence
, expected to have held steady in the latest month, instead dipped back moderately, suggesting that the public while still comparatively upbeat, did turn moderately more cautious in September.
Sales of new
single-family homes surged 18% last month
to a seasonally adjusted 504,000 dwellings--the fastest pace in more than six years. The upturn was led by the West, where sales soared by 50.0%. This gain was all the more impressive as this locale is the nation's second largest, exceeded only by the populous South.