The Federal Open Market Committee
concluded its latest two-day monetary policy meeting
and released a statement detailing its discussions and monetary policy decisions. In a nutshell, the Federal Reserve
decided to keep things status quo
, and not surprisingly, the equity market responded
in a positive
way. There had been some growing sentiment that the central bank would start to show that it is leaning toward
tightening short-term interest rates
sooner than expected. Although it did not rule such an occurrence, it did say that more work needed to be done before such a move would be considered.
The nation's housing recovery
continued in November, albeit just a little less strongly, as housing starts eased by 1.6% last month, but remained comfortably above one million annual units, reaching 1,028,000 homes. That was slightly below the upwardly revised total for October of 1,045,000 houses. Initially, the October number had been estimated at 1,009,000. Expectations had been for starts to come in at 1,038,000 during November.
surged ahead in November, gaining a formidable 1.3%. That was up from a scant 0.1% in October. The latest increase was also decidedly better than the 0.8% gain that had been generally forecast. Note, too, that October's results have been revised from a decline of 0.1% initially forecast to the aforementioned 0.1% rise.
Concerns about holiday spending may well have been premature, in our opinion. On point, after a pedestrian showing on so-called Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, worries had been voiced about the Christmas selling season. However, these fears, albeit by no means running their course, may have eased somewhat after the report, issued earlier this morning, on retail sales
for the month of November.
The U.S. Labor Department
stunned the economic and financial community this morning with news showing that the nation created 321,000 new jobs during November. That was nearly 100,000 more new positions that were added than had been forecast. At the same time, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8%. That was right on target.
The Federal Reserve
Board released its so-called Beige Book
economic survey earlier this afternoon and the issuance pointed to continuing moderate economic growth
across much of the country during October
The Institute for Supply Management, the Arizona-based trade group, reported earlier this morning that nonmanufacturing activity
had risen solidly in November, reaching a survey reading of 59.3 for the month. That was the second highest level this year, having been surpassed only by August's 59.6 result.
The nation's manufacturing sector
performed decently in November, with growth remaining very near the strong pace of the month before. To wit, a key survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management
found that manufacturing activity had registered a reading of 58.7 in November. That was down just nominally from the 59.0 result registered a month before. Expectations had been for a slightly larger dip, to 58.0.
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At 10:00 A.M. (EST), we received another report on the housing market when the U.S. Department of Commerce
issued residential data for the month of October. And the report was decent. Although new home sales were only up nominally on a sequential basis, it was still the fastest pace in five months and was also above the prior-year level.