The second half begins with a late first-half burst of strength
. On point, just days after figures were released confirming increases in housing activity, personal income, and consumer confidence comes word of a somewhat better showing on the manufacturing front as the opening six months concluded.
Americans continue to be generally satisfied with their economic prospects
, it would seem, at least according to data issued this morning by the U.S. Conference Board
. On point, this research organization's Consumer Confidence Index jumped to a reading of 101.4 in this now-concluding month.
The Commerce Department issued its second
, and final
of the first-quarter gross domestic product
, and the comparative improvement was as expected. Specifically, after earlier estimating that the period's GDP had contracted by 0.7%, more definitive source data suggested that the contraction had been a less steep 0.2%.
One day after the release of a report by the National Association of Realtors affirming that sales of existing homes
had risen to a five-and-a-half-year high in May comes word that new home sales, a far smaller and much more volatile series, had shown a modest increase last month.
A half-hour into the trading day, the investment community received another encouraging report on the U.S. housing market
when the National Association of Realtors, the nation’s largest trade association, reported a nice sequential rebound and an overall strong gain in existing home sales for the month of May
The Federal Reserve concluded its latest FOMC meeting within the past hour
and, as expected, voted to keep the federal funds rate, which it controls directly, at near zero, where it has been for a number of years. That easy rate structure follows the unprecedented downturn in so many sectors, especially housing, but also including the equity market.
U.S. housing starts eased back somewhat in May
, on a month-to-month basis, coming in at an annualized rate of 1,036,000 homes last month. That was down from 1,165,000 homes started in April. However, this latest total was still 5.1% ahead of the May, 2014 housing starts level of 986,000 units.
U.S. industrial output
dipped in May, with that index showing a decline of 0.2% for the latest month. Expectations had been for an increase of 0.2%. Worse, results for April were revised downward from a decline of 0.3% to a setback of 0.5%.
which initially had shown no increase at all in April, were revised upward to indicate a modest 0.2% advance. However, that was not the big story to emerge this morning at the retail counter. Rather, it was the report showing that retail spending had risen by a strong 1.2% in May.
It was a good news, bad news story on the jobs front this morning
. First, the good news. The nation created 280,000 new positions last month, which was well above the latest consensus expectation of 225,000. Moreover, the April revision was slight, with 221,000 new jobs being the current estimate down from 223,000 initially tallied. But the March tally was upwardly revised to show that 119,000 jobs were added that month.