Economic Update April 25, 2016

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “The wisest mind has something yet to learn.” – George Santayana WEEKLY TIP               If your parent has cognitive issues that make bill paying difficult, ask them if they might want to consider arranging automatic payments, or having their mail delivered to your address or a P.O. Box, so that you may review their bills and statements.   WEEKLY RIDDLE              Sandra is running in a half-marathon and she passes the second person in the race. What position is she in?       Last week’s riddle: It may contain a thousand wheels, yet it never moves despite spending all day in the sun. What is it?   Last week’s answer: A parking lot.           April 25, 2016     HOME SALES REBOUND Bouncing back from a drop of 7.3% in February, existing home sales improved 5.1% last month. In its March report, the National Association of Realtors announced a median sale price of $222,700, 5.7% higher than a year ago.1,2      BUILDERS BREAK GROUND ON FEWER PROJECTS While home sales increased last month, the pace of both housing starts and building permits declined. Census Bureau data shows an 8.8% reduction in groundbreaking for March. Building permits were down 7.7% for the month.1,2    OIL PRICES RISE FOR A THIRD STRAIGHt WEEK WTI crude settled at $43.73 on the NYMEX Friday. Expectations of declining production helped oil gain 4.8% in five trading days. Gasoline futures were also up 4.8% on the week.3   DOW CLOSES ABOVE 18,000 For the week, the DJIA rose 0.59% to a Friday settlement...

Economic Update April 18, 2016

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman WEEKLY TIP               Think twice about canceling an old whole life insurance policy. If it has sufficient value, you may be able to convert it to a term policy at no charge.   WEEKLY RIDDLE              It may contain a thousand wheels, yet it never moves despite spending all day in the sun. What is it?       Last week’s riddle: Three women each have two daughters. They are all having dinner at a cafe. The café has but seven chairs. All the women are seated. How is this possible?   Last week’s answer: The seven women eating are a grandmother, her two daughters, and her four granddaughters.           April 18, 2016     HOW WEAK WAS FIRST-QUARTER GROWTH? Economists have reason to wonder given the latest retail sales, industrial output, and inflation figures. Overall retail purchases fell 0.3% in March, though they rose 0.2% minus auto buying; analysts polled by MarketWatch expected a 0.1% gain for the headline number and a 0.5% gain for the core number. Industrial production slipped 0.6% in March, matching the retreat in February. The Consumer Price Index rose only 0.1% last month while the Producer Price Index declined 0.1%.1      CONSUMERS A BIT LESS UPBEAT The preliminary April consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan came in at 89.7 last week, down from 91.0 at the end of March. A year ago, the index stood at 95.9.1,2    CHEAPEST MORTGAGES...

Economic Update April 11, 2016

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “True friends are those who really know you but love you anyway.” – Edna Buchanan WEEKLY TIP               Own a business? Think about having an accountant look at your books several times a year. Having a professional opinion on your books can be valuable at any time, not just tax time.   WEEKLY RIDDLE              Three women each have two daughters. They are all having dinner at a cafe. The café has but seven chairs. All the women are seated. How is this possible?       Last week’s riddle: You have 7 onions in a bag, and you will distribute them to 7 people. As you finish handing them out, there is still 1 onion left in the bag. How is this possible?   Last week’s answer: As you hand out the last onion, you leave it inside the bag.           April 11, 2016     FED: APRIL MIGHT BE TOO SOON FOR A RATE HIKE That was the message Wall Street gleaned from the Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting minutes. Several Fed officials, the minutes stated, felt that “raising the target range as soon as April would signal a sense of urgency” that would be untimely. Another passage noted broad support for “a lower path of the federal funds rate relative to December” (in other words, a shallower ascent for the benchmark interest rate across 2016). Still, some officials saw merit in an April rate move should economic indicators show significant upside.1      PACE OF GROWTH PICKS UP IN THE SERVICE SECTOR In March, the Institute...

Economic Update April 4, 2016

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “Honesty is the best image.” – Tom Wilson WEEKLY TIP               Young adults nearing college graduation may find that an emergency fund is a nice thing to have. Your son or daughter might want to try and save at least $1,000 before leaving campus.   WEEKLY RIDDLE              You have 7 onions in a bag, and you will distribute them to 7 people. As you finish handing them out, there is still 1 onion left in the bag. How is this possible?       Last week’s riddle: You put me on a table. You cut me, yet you will not eat me. What am I?   Last week’s answer: A deck of cards.           April 4, 2016     ANOTHER SOLID JOBS REPORT The latest Labor Department employment report shows net job gains of 215,000 for March. Labor force participation increased last month, and the jobless rate consequently ticked up to 5.0% (the broader U-6 rate edged up to 9.8%). Mean hourly wages rose 7 cents to $25.43, up 2.3% year-over-year. Payrolls expanded by an average of 209,000 hires per month during the first quarter.1      MANUFACTURING SECTOR GROWS Rising to a March reading of 51.8, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI indicated sector expansion once again. In February, the index was in contraction territory at 49.5.2    SMALL GAINS IN CONSUMER CONFIDENCE, SPENDING March saw the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index improve 2.2 points to 96.2. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index finished the month at 91.0, above the initial March reading of 90.0....

Economic Update March 28, 2016

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch WEEKLY TIP               Canceling an old credit card may be a bad idea if you have a good credit history. Part of that history is based on long you have been borrowing, and if that old card has a good history attached to it, it may be wiser to keep it.   WEEKLY RIDDLE              You put me on a table. You cut me, yet you will not eat me. What am I?       Last week’s riddle: Why is B the coolest letter within the alphabet?   Last week’s answer: It is surrounded by A-C.           March 28, 2016     MIXED NEWS ON HOME SALES New home buying increased 2.0% in February, with all of the gain attributable to a remarkable 38.5% jump in sales in the West (a region which had witnessed a 32.7% January plunge in new home purchases). In contrast to this Census Bureau data, the National Association of Realtors noted a 7.1% February decline in existing home sales, with tightening inventory a factor. Last month, the median sale price of a new home was $301,400, up 2.6% in a year; the median existing home sale price was $210,800, up 4.4% from 12 months ago.1      THE ECONOMY EXPANDED 1.4% IN Q4 Last quarter’s GDP was just revised upward by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In its previous estimate, the BEA had measured Q4 growth at 1.0%....