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Unexciting Statistics

December 23, 2010 – 8:37 pm

This morning, the day before the Christmas holiday, a rash of economic numbers were released. The most important was the Durable Goods sales report for November which fell 1.3% and at first blush that would be worrisome but as always you must look at this report with and without transportation. Sales of airplanes are very erratic on a month to month basis and the cost of these planes is so high they push the top line number around to such a degree that it becomes meaningless. If you remove transportation, durable goods actually rose 2.4%. The core goods were up a little more than that.

Jobless claims fell again by 3,000, driving the total number of weekly jobless claims to 420,000. That is still high but at least the trend has reversed downward starting a number of weeks ago. When it shrinks below 400,000 job creation should be rising.

Core inflation is at .8% for November with an overall year to date inflation rate of 1%. Incomes were up .3% and spending was up as well. None of these numbers were a surprise.

New home sales rose 5.5% in November from a shrinkage of 10% in October with inventories falling slightly. That was a relief but that industry is still very weak and no one is expecting a recovery anytime soon.

There were a few other numbers but all in all nothing that surprised the market either up or down, therefore there was no reaction in stock prices which began the day on the weak side.

Merry Christmas

Steve Peasley

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