Weekly News Update

Last week was a light calendar for regular economic reports, however the week was not without significant news. Specifically, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its highest point in history last Thursday, hitting a high of 15,144.83. It then followed on Friday, by hitting a record high close of 15,118.49.

For the week, the Dow was up 144.53, or 1 percent. For the year so far, the Dow was up 15 percent, with a year-to-date gain of 2,014.35 points. Friday closed with all eyes pointed on this week, wondering if the Dow Jones could continues its historic run.

The Dow wasn’t the only newsmaker. Another key announcement from last week was March consumer credit, which grew at an annual rate of 3.4 percent to hit $2.8 trillion, according to last week’s report from the Federal Reserve.

Revolving debt, such as credit cards, dropped 2.4 percent from February’s $847.9 billion to dip to $846.2 billion in March. Non-revolving debt, such as student loans, grew by 5.9 percent from February’s $1.95 trillion to $1.96 trillion in March.

In employment news, first-time claims filed during the week ending May 4 ticked down to 323,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 327,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week. The four-week moving average was 336,750, a drop of 6,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 343,000.

The total number of unemployed covered by insurance during the week ending April 27 was 3,005,000, a decrease of 27,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,032,000, the Administration also reported. The four-week moving average was 3,034,250, a drop of 24,500 from the previous weeks revised average of 3,058,750.

In wholesale trade, sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices in March dropped to $414.7 billion, down 1.6 percent from February’s revised level, the Census Bureau reported last week. That said March’s sales were up 1.3 percent from the March 2012 level.

Meanwhile inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, notched up to $503.1 billion at the end of March, a 0.4 percent gain from February’s revised level, and 4.7 percent up from March 2012’s supply. This put the March inventories-to-sales ratio for merchant wholesalers at 1.21. The March 2012 ratio was 1.17.

This week, we can expect:

Monday — April retail sales from the Census Bureau; March business inventories from the Census Bureau.

Tuesday — April import and export prices from the Census Bureau.

Wednesday — April producer price index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; April industrial production and capacity utilization from the Federal Reserve.

Thursday — Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration; April consumer price index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; April housing starts and building permits from the Census Bureau.

Friday — April leading economic indicators from the Conference Board.



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