Wall Street traders and investors, hoping for a strong employment increase in September, were rudely disappointed
, as the pace of job creation slowed dramatically last month. Specifically, expectations had been for a payroll gain of 200,000; instead, the number came in at just 142,000. The statistics were furnished by the U.S. Labor Department.
in the manufacturing sector expanded
in September for the 33rd month in a row, but the rate of gain
must be considered incidental
, at best. On point, the Institute for Supply Management
, a trade group, intoned that its survey on industrial activity came in at just 50.2
, which was down from the prior month's 51.1 reading, and was barely in expansionary territory, which is measured as being above 50.0.
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index
, which had risen sharply from July to August, rose again in September, albeit reflecting the already high level of sentiment, the increase this time was much more modest than the month before. However, the level of confidence was notably better than the forecast, which had called for a moderate pullback in this closely tracked survey.
The U.S. Department of Commerce issued new residential data for the month of August. The report was very positive, with new home sales up nicely on both a sequential and a year-over-year basis.
Just when it appeared as though the housing market was firming up again
, with a decent year-to-year gain reported last week in August housing starts and a very strong month-to-month and year-over-year showing in building permits, come word
earlier this morning from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that sales of previously owned homes had fallen by 4.8% last month.
The much-anticipated monetary policy decision
from the Federal Reserve
was made public this afternoon, and the equity market’s response was rather muted at first, as the central bank
opted to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at near zero
, which had been the consensus view. The Fed cited still-below target inflation and concerns about the health of the global economy for deciding to stay the course.
Housing remains resilient
, with that core economic sector continuing to post impressive results. On point, data for August, released at 8:30 (EDT) this morning, showed that housing starts came in at a healthy 1,126,000 homes during that month on an annualized basis.
This morning, two important reports on the U.S. economy were released
ahead of the start of the Federal Reserve’s two-day monetary policy meeting tomorrow. When taken as a whole they made for a mixed to maybe a bit discouraging reading.
The economic news
, which has been generally supportive in recent days, led by healthy gains in August car sales, productivity, and non-manufacturing activity, turned mixed this morning
, as the U.S. Labor Department reported that non-farm payrolls had increased by 173,000 in August
grew in August for the 67th month in a row, but the rate of gain, albeit still strong, moderated a little from July. Specifically, the Institute for Supply Management, an Arizona-based trade group, this morning reported that the services sector had continued to expand in August, coming in with a reading of 59.0. To be sure, that result was off from July's 60.3 score, but it was better than the forecasted 58.4 reading and well above the 50.0 divide between a growing services sector and one that is contracting.