Leading Economic Indicators Up For 2nd Month
http://money.cnn.com/2007/ 02/21/news/economy/bc.usa.economy.index.reu t/index.htm?postversion=2007
A key forecasting gauge for the U.S. economy rose for the second straight month, but at a smaller-than-
expected 0.1 percent in January. The rise in the U.S. Co mposite Index of Leading Economic Ind icators was
short of market expectations for a 0.2 percent gain and followed a sharp, upward ly rev is ed 0.6 percent gain
in December. December's upward revision was due to a result of data revisions in the manufacturers' new
orders and building permits components. Four of the ten indicators that make up the leading index
increased in January - real money supply, index of consumer expectations, jobless claims and stock prices.
Fed National Acti vi ty Index Slumps
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said its gauge of the national economy fell in January to its lowest
level since September 2005, dragged down by steep declines in the production and employ ment indicators.
The Chicago Fed's Nat ional Activity Index dipped to -0.74 in January fro m a revised +0.36 in December,
which was previously reported as 0.04. The index, which is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national
economic activ ity, was last near these levels in September 2005 when a read ing of -0.87 was recorded.
Recent volatility left the index in negative territory, indicating that the national economy grew in January,
but below trend," said Charles Evans, Federal Reserve Bank of Ch icago research director.
Although each of the four broad categories making up the Fed's index made negative contributions in
January, declines were mo re pronounced in the emp loyment and industrial indicators.
Emp loy ment-related indicators fell 0.14 in January, after contributing +0.13 in December. Nonfarm payroll
emp loyment increased 110,000 in January, slowing fro m December's 206,000 jobs.
Production-related indicators made a negative contribution of -0.48 to the index in January, fo llo wing a
positive contribution of +0.24 in December.
The Fed index's three-month moving average fell to -0.29 fro m -0.19 in December, indicating that growth
in economic activ ity remained below its historical trend. The Chicago Fed said the nu mbers indicated little
inflationary pressure over the year.
Customer Satisfaction Hits All-Ti me High
http://money.cnn.com/2007/ 02/20/news/economy/customer_satisfaction/index.ht m?postversion=20070220
Customer satisfaction among American consumers for a wide range of goods and services reached an all-
time high at the end of 2006. The Un iversity of Michigan's A merican Customer Sat isfaction Index (A CSI)
increased to an overall 74.9 score out of 100 in the fourth quarter of 2006, its highest level since the survey
first started in 1994. That's a gain of almost 2 percent fro m the previous year and a 0.7 increase fro m the
previous quarter. The survey, which measured customer satisfaction in everything ranging fro m
department stores to life insurance, saw the biggest improvements in the retail and financial services
sectors, and only a slight uptick in e-co mmerce.
The index also anticipated that consumer spending, which accounts for nearly three -quarters of the U.S.
economy, will continue to grow in the first quarter of 2007 at a 3.5 percent to 4.1 percent pace.
Consumer Prices Climb In January
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The Consumer Price Index, the government's main inflation gauge, rose 0.2 percent in January after gain ing
0.4 percent in December. The so-called core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.3
percent in January after a 0.1 percent gain in December. The January readings left co re CPI up 2.7 percent
fro m a year earlier.
Energy prices declined 1.5 percent in January, after climb ing in December. But consumer prices showed an
uptick across a number of categories including housing, apparel and food.
Mortgage Applications At Lowest Mark Of '07
http://money.cnn.com/2007/ 02/21/real_estate/mortgage_application.reut/index.ht m?postversion=20070221
U.S. mo rtgage applications dropped more than 5 percent last week, hitting their lowest level this year, even
as interest rates fell. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index o f mortgage
application activity, which includes both refinancing and purch asing loans, for the week ended Feb. 16 fell
5.2 percent to 606.6.
Borro wing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mo rtgages, excluding fees, averaged 6.19 percent, down 0.05
percentage point fro m the previous week. Interest rates were slightly below year -ago levels of 6.22 percent.
Oil Jumps Above $61
http://money.cnn.com/2007/ 02/23/ markets/oil.reut/index.ht m?postversion=2007022306
Oil climbed above $61 to a seven-week h igh Friday (February 23) after the United States reported an
unexpected drop in gasoline stocks and Iran said it would show 'no weakness' over its nuclear program.
U.S. crude fo r April delivery ju mped 48 cents to $61.43 a barrel in electronic trad ing. It earlier hit $61.49,
the highest since January 2, taking gains for the week to about 6 percent. So me analysts had said a close
above $60.80 could presage further gains.
Weekly U.S. data showed a surprise 3.1 million barrels fall in gasoline stocks, unnerving investors ahead of
the peak summer demand season. Nine cargoes of European gasoline are already headed to the United
States and more are likely to follow to take advantage of higher U.S. prices.
Jobless Claims Sink 27,000 In Latest Week
http://money.cnn.com/2007/ 02/22/news/economy/jobless_claims.reut/index.ht m?postversion=2007022208
The number of U.S. workers filing for firs t-time jobless benefits fell a s maller-than-expected 27,000 last
week, as storms in many parts of the country failed to generate new claims . Init ial job less claims hit a
seasonally adjusted 332,000 for the week ended Feb. 17. The claims figures for the week ended Feb. 10,
upwardly revised to 359,000, were affected by winter storms that shut down parts of the Northeast and
The four-week mov ing average of new claims, a more reliab le measure of emp loy ment conditions because
it irons out weekly volatility, rose for the third straight week to the highest level in more than two months.
The four-week average rose to 328,000 fro m 326,750 in the previous week.
Hel p-Wanted Ads Fall In January
The Conference Board reported that its help-wanted advertising index fell two points to a reading of 32 in
January fro m an upward ly revised December reading of 34. The decline fo llo ws three months of gains in
eight of the nine U.S. regions, with the largest increase of 35.8 percent in the New England region.
"The labor market was strong in the final months of 2006," said Ken Go ldstein, an economist at the
Conference Board. "The forward indicators of labor market activity suggest moderate economic growth
will continue to deliver new jobs into the late winter and early spring months."
Go ldstein said the index shows that job advertising in print was up in December and held on to most of th e
gains in January. Online ad volu me came in stronger fro m the previous year, while init ial claims for
unemploy ment benefits dipped.
Bendix Plant, J obs Movi ng To Mexico
http://www.kentucky.com/ mld/kentucky/news/16737777.ht m
Bendix Sp icer Foundation Brake plans to close its Frankfort p lant sometime late this year. The p lant, wh ich
produces air disk b rakes and compressors used in commercial vehicle brakes, has 124 employee s. Bendix
said the compressor production will be moved to a plant in Mexico. Bendix Sp icer Foundation Brake is a
joint venture between Bendix Co mmercial Vehicle Systems and Dana Corp., which has a plant in Glasgow
that makes foundation drum brakes. That plant's drum brake production and the air disc production done in
Frankfort will move to a new p lant that will be built in Kentucky or Tennessee within co mmut ing distance
of Glasgow. The Fran kfort p lant was the company's oldest manufacturing facility. It was built in 1968.
250 At Topy Corp. To Lose Jobs
For the second day in a row, a Frankfort automotive supplier has announced layoffs. Topy Corp., wh ich
makes steel and aluminu m wheels for co mpanies such as General Motors, Ford, Honda and Toyota , said
that it will stop producing aluminum wheels at its Frankfo rt plant during the third quarter. About 250 o f the
plant's 600 emp loyees will lose their jobs. The company said it wants to focus on steel wheel production,
which is its core business. Topy, a subsidiary of the Japanese company Topy Industries, has been
manufacturing wheels for the automotive industry since 1986 and will co ntinue to produce steel wheels in
BAE Adds 40 Jobs For Turret Work
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BA E Systems has added 40 jobs to its Louisville naval gun plant so it can make mo re than 1,600 armored
turrets for Hu mvee military vehicles used in Iraq and Afghanistan. BAE won the $6.7 million contract to
add turrets to 1,612 vehic les for the Marines earlier this year.