Last Week in the News

Factory orders rose 1.8% in November to a seasonally adjusted $459.2 billion, following a revised 0.2% decrease in October. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders rose 0.3% in November.

Retail sales rose 1.2% for the week ending December 31, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 5.3%.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of manufacturing activity rose to 53.9 in December after a reading of 52.7 in November. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 29th straight month of expansion.

Total construction spending rose 1.2% to $807.1 billion in November, following a 0.2% decrease in October. Economists had anticipated an increase of 0.5% in November. Compared to a year ago, construction spending rose 0.5%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending December 30 fell 3.7%. Refinancing applications decreased 1.9%. Purchase volume fell 9.7%.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the monthly composite index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 52.6 in December from 52 in November. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 25th straight month of expansion in the services sector.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 to 372,000 for the week ending December 31. Continuing claims for the week ending December 24 fell by 22,000 to 3.595 million. The monthly unemployment rate fell to 8.5% in December from a revised 8.7% in November and 9% in October.

from Prospect Mortgage Economic Update

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