I guess it really is the little things… The downtown State offices were without internet connections this morning for 3 hours. No data feeds, no online software connections. Amazing how dependent financial intermediaries are dependent on technology delivered via the internet.
After this morning’s economic data was released U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a one-month low, Treasuries declined and the dollar gained versus most major peers as growth in retail sales added to speculation the Federal Reserve will slow stimulus. Retail sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in November as Americans bought cars and took advantage of discounts going into the holiday-shopping season. Purchases climbed 0.7 percent, the most since June, after a 0.6 percent advance in October that was larger than previously reported. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.6 percent advance. Excluding cars, sales rose 0.4 percent, also more than projected. Higher stock prices, rising home values and stronger job growth have helped buoy consumer sentiment, raising the odds that household spending will rebound this quarter from the weakest performance in almost four years.
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped last week from an almost three-month low, reflecting volatility that typically occurs around the year-end holidays. Jobless claims surged by 68,000 to a two-month high of 368,000 in the period ended Dec. 7, exceeding the highest forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The 300,000 applications filed in the prior week, which included Thanksgiving, were the fewest since Sept. 7. The data reflect seasonal adjustment volatility around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. A report last week showed the unemployment rate fell to a five-year low and companies added more workers than forecast, pointing to further labor-market progress. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 320,000 claims. Estimates ranged from 300,000 to 351,000 after a previously reported 298,000 in the prior week. The 68,000 increase in applications was the biggest since the week ended Nov. 10, 2012. The monthly average of claims, a less-volatile measure than
the weekly figure, increased to 328,750 from 322,750 the week before.
In this morning’s markets gold and silver led commodities lower. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.1 percent to 1,779.81 at 10:52 a.m. in New York after sliding 1.1 percent yesterday for its biggest drop in a month. The Bloomberg U.S. Dollar Index, a gauge of the currency against 10 counterparts, climbed 0.4 percent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.8 percent to the lowest since October and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index tumbled 0.9 percent. Gold futures lost more than 2 percent and silver sank more than 4 percent. More economists predict the Fed will taper bond buying as soon as next week and data today showed U.S. retail sales increased more than economists estimated last month. Chinese policy makers meet this week to set growth targets while central banks in Indonesia, New Zealand, South Korea and Switzerland maintained their benchmark interest rates today.
Retail Sales Advance MoM
Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM
Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas
Retail Sales Control Group
Initial Jobless Claims
Import Price Index MoM
Import Price Index YoY
“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” ~ Jon Hammond
Assistant State Treasurer
Chief Investment Officer
State of Louisiana
Department of the Treasury