The nation's gross domestic product
increased by a more moderate, but still appreciable, 3.5% in the third quarter according to the U.S. Commerce Department. That increase was somewhat better than the 3.0% gain estimated, but well under the 4.6% rise that was tabulated during the second quarter.
The Federal Reserve
has voted to do more or less the expected during the latest FOMC meeting. The central bank decided to conclude
its popular bond-buying program
at the end of this month.
The Conference Board
, a private research organization based in New York City, has reported that consumer confidence
rose smartly this past month, increasing to a reading of 94.5. That compared favorably with the September survey result of 89.0. Expectations had been that this index would have come in at 87.9.
At 10:00 A.M. (EDT), we received another report on the housing market
when the U.S. Department of Commerce
issued new residential data for the month of September. At first blush, the report looked decent. Although new home sales were only up nominally on a sequential basis, they were still running considerably above the prior-year pace.
The investment community received another mostly encouraging report on the U.S. economy
when the National Association of Realtors, the nation’s largest trade association, reported an increase in existing home sales for the month of September.
The U.S. Commerce Department earlier this morning reported that housing starts
improved further last month, rising by 6.3% to an annualized rate of 1,017,000 units. That was modestly above expectations of an even one million homes started. In August, starts had dipped to 957,000 residences (initially estimated at 956,000 homes). The September total was also well above the year-earlier tally of 863,000 starts.
Just when it seemed as though the news could only be bad, and worries about economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic were proliferating, the U.S. Commerce Department
reported that industrial production jumped notably in September, rising by a full percentage point.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book
summation was released within the past hour and that compilation of economic conditions across the country had no major surprises for embattled investors.
The Commerce Department gave Wall Street and U.S. economists something new to worry about this morning, as that government agency reported that retail sales had fallen by 0.3% last month
; a drop of just 0.1% had been the consensus forecast. At the same time, August sales were unrevised and continued to show a 0.6% increase.
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 non-manufacturing activity for the month of September. It marked the 56th consecutive month that economic activity in the services sector had grown.