Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - December 11

November Retail Sales Rise Again -The Commerce Department released an estimate that retail sales rose 1.3% in November for third monthly increase in the past four months. The gains came from almost all areas of the economy including autos, gasoline, department stores and hardware stores with only clothing and furniture store sales to the downside. Excluding autos sales, retail sales rose 1.2%, the biggest gain since January.

Consumer Sentiment Jumps in December - The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 73.4 in early December from 67.4 in November. This is the highest level of consumer sentiment since September. The change in sentiment was attributed to the strong stock market and last week's improved job report.

Government to Make $936 Million on JP Morgan - The Treasury Department announced that the government expects net proceeds of $936 million from the sale of warrants to purchase common stock of JPMorgan Chase (the warrants came as part of the TARP investment). The secondary public offering of 88.4 million warrants was priced in an auction at $10.75 per warrant and is expected to close on December 16.

Dollar Stronger After Retail Sales and Consumer Sentiment, Gold and Oil Down - The dollar continued stronger today versus major rivals on after data showed retail sales and consumer sentiment were better than expected. The dollar index, a measure of the dollar against a trade-weighted basket of rival currencies, traded as high as 76.73 versus Thursday's close of 75.996.

Crude and gold futures remained lower due to the stronger dollar. Crude for January delivery fell about 0.5% to around $70 per barrel, and December gold also lost 0.5% to about $1,120 an ounce.

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