Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - June 30

Chicago Factory Index Improves - Manufacturing activity improved in the Chicago region in June after a disappointing drop in the prior month. The Chicago purchasing managers index rose to 39.9% in June from 34.9% in May, according to a survey of corporate purchasing managers released Tuesday. The Chicago PMI is considered a leading indicator to the national Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturers' survey to be released Wednesday. The increase in June brings the Chicago PMI in line with other regional surveys. Last month, the Chicago index had fallen more than other regions. Analysts blamed the drop on auto sector weakness. Economists expect a further improvement in the national ISM index in June.

US Home Prices Down in April, But Decline Slowing - On a month-to-month basis, prices in 20 selected cities fell 0.6% in April, with declines in 11 cities, compared with a decline of 2.2% in March. The overall annual pace of decline has slowed, said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for Standard & Poor's, which compiles the Case-Shiller index. "Thirteen of the 20 metro areas also saw improvement in their annual return compared to that of March. Furthermore, every metro area, except for Charlotte, recorded an improvement in monthly returns over March," Blitzer said in a statement. "While one month's data cannot determine if a turnaround has begun; it seems that some stabilization may be appearing in some of the regions."

Consumer Confidence Falls - A reading on U.S. consumer confidence relapsed in June, falling to 49.3 from a slightly downwardly revised 54.8 in May, as worries grew about jobs and the economy, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. Following a large confidence jump in May, consumers grew more pessimistic in June.

Government to Retain Current Stake in AIG - AIG CEO Edward Liddy said Tuesday that he's been given no assurances that the government's 78.9% stake in the troubled insurance giant will ever change. Liddy was responding to a shareholder who suggested during the company's annual meeting that a lower government stake could increase the value of the business. As AIG makes progress in its overall re-organization, a lower government stake might be discussed, Liddy added. AIG is more stable than it was a few months ago, Liddy said earlier in the meeting. The insurer is planning a reverse stock split which is scheduled to take effect later on Tuesday.

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