The Federal Reserve concluded its latest
Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting earlier this afternoon
, and investors found few surprises either in what the lead bank did, or rather did not do, or in what it said following its latest get together.
Just when it looked as though most of the stars were aligned for the economic bulls, comes word that consumer confidence
, one of the major indicators of economic health, came in well below expectations in July. That finding was according to a release made earlier this morning by The Conference Board, a private research group.
New home sales fell to a seven-month low in June
, in a surprise setback in a market that has been roaring ahead on most fronts. In all, such sales declined by 6.8%, to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 482,000 homes sold last month. Worse, May's sales pace was revised down from an estimated 546,000 homes sold annually, to just 517,000 properties
The Federal Reserve
served up another course of steady economic growth for its readers to digest earlier this afternoon, as the widely anticipated Beige Book summation
of business activity across the country noted that the economy continued to expand further from mid-May through June.
Industrial output climbed last month
, gaining 0.3%, up from a decline of 0.2% in May. Expectations for June had been for a rise of 0.2%. Total output was up 1.4% over the prior year.
The consumer pulled back unexpectedly in June, after a strong May, as retail sales
declined by 0.3% in the month. That setback followed an increase of 1.0% the month before; expectations for June had been for a gain of 0.2%.
At 10:00 A.M.
(EDT) this morning, we received another encouraging report
on the U.S. economy when the Institute for Supply Management reported data on nonmanufacturing activity
for the month of June. It marked the 65th consecutive month that economic activity in the services sector had grown.
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%.