Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - June 24

Durable Goods Orders on the Rise Again - A Commerce Department report showed a better than estimated 1.8% increase in May on durable goods orders (estimates had been for a 0.5% decrease). Better orders for airplanes and machinery was a positive that helped fuel the increase. A narrower gauge of business investment marked its best increase in more than four years. It was the third increase in the past four months for durable-goods orders. The 1.8% increase followed an identical gain in April.

BOE - Asset Purchases Are Positive - Preliminary evidence indicates the Bank of England's quantitative easing program is beginning to have a positive impact, BOE Gov. Mervyn King told a parliamentary committee Wednesday. "The program began only three months ago, so there are few indications of its effects. The little evidence that we do have, though, seems to be positive," King said, pointing to a pickup in broad money growth and indications the BOE's asset purchases have helped encourage private issuance in credit markets.

Fed Statement to Focus on Later - There are numerous analysts saying that today's FOMC statement from the Fed is likely to focus on holding interest rates at the current level for the foreseeable future. The basic premise is that the Fed does not want to step to quickly, and they wish to put at ease worries by investors and consumers that rates are going to rise soon. The "exit strategy" that everyone has been asking about will take time to form, but the Fed and Treasury both seem to want to take a wait and see approach before reacting. Bernanke and Geithner have both said they want to make sure the recovery is in full swing before making any real changes.

New Home Sales Fall 0.6% in May - Sales of new homes were essentially unchanged near record-low levels in May as home builders continued to slash their inventories of unsold homes, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday. Sales dropped 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000 in May from a revised 344,000 in April. The report was weaker than the 363,000 pace expected. Inventories of unsold homes fell 2.3% in May to 292,000. The median sales prices fell 3.4% compared with a year earlier.

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