Economic Update April 27, 2015

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE       WEEKLY QUOTE                “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.” – Jim Valvano WEEKLY TIP               Do you really need weekly housecleaning service, a gardener, or a dog walker? The money you save by not using these services could go toward debts, an emergency fund, or investing.  WEEKLY RIDDLE              It traveled from Kentucky to Texas in three days, and it did so while staying in a corner. What is it? Last week’s riddle: Wilbert was driving a black car. The car’s lights were off, there was no moonlight – and a cat was in the middle of the road. How did Wilbert know to stop?  Last week’s answer: He was driving during the day.           April 27, 2015     NEW HOME SALES DROP, RESALES CLIMB March brought a 6.1% advance for existing home sales according to the National Association of Realtors. This happened with a 4.6-month inventory of homes for resale, which is underneath the 6-month level characteristic of a thriving housing market. New home purchases tumbled 11.4% in March after a great February; on the bright side, there were more new home sales in the first quarter than in Q1 2014.1     ORDERS FOR DURABLES INCREASE The 4.0% March gain noted by the Census Bureau was welcome. From November through February, overall hard goods orders declined by 1.4% or more each month (excepting January’s 2.8% increase).2        OIL ADVANCES, GOLD RETREATS In New York, oil prices rose 2.5% from April 20-24 on inventory concerns: light sweet crude for July delivery settled...

Economic Update April 20, 2015

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.”       – Harrison Ford            WEEKLY TIP               A cleverly promoted, inexpensive customer loyalty program may help your business realize improved long-term cash flow.        WEEKLY RIDDLE              Wilbert was driving a black car. The car’s lights were off, there was no moonlight – and a cat was in the middle of the road. How did Wilbert know to stop?       Last week’s riddle: A 400-yard long promenade has an ornate brass bench every 100 yards on both sides, including ones at its beginning and end. So in total, how many benches are there along this promenade?      Last week’s answer: 10 benches, 5 on either side.           April 20, 2015     MODERATE INFLATION RESUMES The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% for a second consecutive month in March, as did the Producer Price Index (in a marked departure from its 0.5% February retreat). Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast an 0.3% March advance in both the headline CPI and PPI.1     GROUNDBREAKING UP 2.0% FOR MARCH Housing industry analysts had expected a much greater increase; this put the annual pace of housing starts at 926,000 instead of the desired 1 million mark. The Census Bureau also reported building permits declining 5.7% last month.2        CONSUMER SENTIMENT, RETAIL SALES BOTH RISE Shoppers increased retail purchases by 0.9% in March, 0.4% minus auto buying. Retail sales had slipped 1.1% in February. The University of Michigan’s initial April consumer...

Economic Update April 13, 2015

Tony Dale Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “Beware of the man who won’t be bothered with details.”       – William Feather            WEEKLY TIP               If you are marrying, take a moment to see how your new marital status will affect your federal and state taxes, and whether it would be best to file jointly or separately.        WEEKLY RIDDLE              A 400-yard long promenade has an ornate brass bench every 100 yards on both sides, including ones at its beginning and end. So in total, how many benches are there along this promenade?       Last week’s riddle: How do you spell “hard water” using only three letters?      Last week’s answer: Use the letters I-C-E.           April 13, 2015     SERVICE SECTOR CONTINUES TO EXPAND At 56.5, the Institute for Supply Management’s March non-manufacturing index came in 0.4 points beneath its February reading but still indicated healthy expansion for the service industry. While business activity fell by 1.9%, new orders improved 1.1% and new export orders 6.0%. America’s service sector grew for a 62nd straight month.1     COULD THE FED TIGHTEN LATE IN Q2? Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s March policy meeting stated that “several participants” felt economic data was strong enough to prompt an interest rate increase at its June meeting. (Federal Reserve board officials and regional presidents are all defined by the Fed as “participants.”) Richmond Fed president Jeffrey Lacker reiterated his support for a hike to reporters last week, noting that rates could be reduced again if economic conditions warranted.2           OIL PRICES...

Economic Update April 6, 2015

Tony Dale Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”       – Alvin Toffler            WEEKLY TIP               Money is never an end in itself, merely a tool that can help you reach your goals. Linking your financial goals with your life goals may lead to improved control of your business and personal finances.        WEEKLY RIDDLE              How do you spell “hard water” using only three letters?       Last week’s riddle: A man bet his neighbor that his dog could jump higher than his neighbor’s hedge. The neighbor accepted the bet and lost. Why?      Last week’s answer: A hedge can’t jump.           April 6, 2015     EMPLOYERS ADD JUST 126,000 JOBS IN MARCH What led to this moderation in hiring, which snapped a yearlong streak of payrolls expanding by 200,000 or more per month? Are dollar strength and low oil prices now hampering corporate profits? Did the weather have an impact? Whatever the underlying causes, the Labor Department’s March report was a disappointment. The jobless rate remained at 5.5% last month, with the broader U-6 rate including the underemployed and those out of the labor force at 10.9%. The Labor Department revised January and February job gains down by a total of 69,000.1     A NICE GAIN IN CONSUMER CONFIDENCE The Conference Board’s respected monthly index rose to 101.3 for March, 2.5 points higher than its (revised) February reading. That contrasted with the forecast of analysts surveyed...

Economic Update March 30, 2015

Click here to learn more Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE “Look at all the sentences which seem true and question them.” – David Reisman WEEKLY TIP Own a business? Negotiating with vendors may help you save a few hundred dollars in monthly operating costs. It doesn’t hurt to try it; any vendor would prefer a satisfied customer over a search for a new one. WEEKLY RIDDLE A man bet his neighbor that his dog could jump higher than his neighbor’s hedge. The neighbor accepted the bet and lost. Why? Last week’s riddle: Its body of stone shields a fiery heart. Under sufficient pressure, its head will depart. What is it? Last week’s answer: A volcano.         March 30, 2015     HOME SALES PICK UP Existing home sales accelerated 1.2% to an annual pace of 4.88 million in February, the National Association of Realtors announced. Sales had slowed markedly in January. February also brought a big jump in new home buying – a 7.8% increase according to the Census Bureau, taking the year-over-year gain to 24.8%.1,2 FEBRUARY BRINGS AN ADVANCE IN THE CPI The 0.2% gain represented the first monthly rise in consumer prices since October; a 2.4% increase in gasoline prices made a demonstrable difference. Even so, this left the headline CPI flat year-over-year. The core CPI rose 0.2% in February, taking its annualized gain to 1.7%.3 2015 growth by the Bureau of Economic Analysis was unchanged from the second; economists polled by Briefing.com expected an upward revision to 2.4%. Last week also brought news of a 1.4% slip in hard goods orders; even minus transportation orders,...