Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quick Notes for the Day - March 4

Factory Orders Rise - The Commerce Department stated that the orders for factory goods rose 1.7% in January versus a 1.5% gain in December. Orders for durable goods increased 2.6%, revised down from the 3% reported last week. Orders for nondurable goods increased 0.9%, led by petroleum and food.

Productivity for 2009 Revised Higher - The Labor Department reported fourth quarter productivity increased at a 6.9% annual rate from 6.2% previously. For the third quarter, productivity was increased to 7.8% annual rate from 7.2%. For all of 2009, productivity increased 3.8% which is the most in seven years. Unit labor costs fell a revised 5.9% in the fourth quarter and a revised 7.6% in the third quarter. For all of 2009, unit labor costs fell 1.7% which is the most since the records were first kept in 1948.

TARP Makes $1.5 Billion on Bank of America - The Treasury Department estimated that it will make a net profit of $1.54 billion from its sale of warrants to purchase common stock of Bank of America. Treasury said it sold 150.3 million Bank of America warrants at $8.35 per warrant and sold another 121.8 million Bank of America warrants at $2.55 per warrant. Treasury received the warrants from Bank of America in return for taxpayer assistance under the TARP.

Jobless Claims Fall - The Labor Department reported that the applications for initial unemployment benefits declined by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 469,000. The four week average of initial claims fell by 3,500 to 470,750. The number of people receiving regular state jobless benefits declined by 134,000 to a seasonally adjusted 4.5 million. The total number of people receiving benefits of any kind rose by 145,000 to 11.5 million, not seasonally adjusted.

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