2/9: METROINTELLIGENCE ECONOMIC UPDATE P.DUFFY

Bloomberg:  Consumer Comfort Index holds near recent highs even with stock market volatility

U.S. consumer comfort last week held near the highest level since 2001, falling from 54.6 to 54.4, even as stocks fell on concerns about higher interest rates.

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Consumer borrowing rate rose 5.8 percent in December and 5.4 percent for all of 2017

Consumer borrowing increased $18.4 billion in December to a record seasonally adjusted $3.84 trillion, for an annual growth rate of 5.8%. For all of 2017, consumer credit rose at a 5.4% rate, down from a 6.7% rate in the prior year.

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Markit Services Business Activity Index slipped slightly in January but still in expansion mode

The seasonally adjusted final IHS Markit U.S.Services Business Activity Index registered 53.3 in January, down from 53.7 in December. The latest index reading signalled a solid expansion in business activity among service providers, albeit the slowest since April 2017. Anecdotal evidence linked the latest upturn to more favourable economic conditions.

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Mortgage applications rise 0.7 percent even as average rates rise to highest level in nearly 4 years

The Market Composite Index increased 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans flat and refinances up 1.0 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to its highest level since April 2014, 4.50 percent.

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Initial unemployment claims dip to lowest 4-week average since March 1973

In the week ending February 3, initial unemployment claims were 221,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 230,000. The 4-week moving average was 224,500, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 234,500. This is the lowest level for this average since March 10, 1973 when it was 222,000.

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