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Tag Archives: Consumer spending

Home Equity Jumps 2.5 Percentage Points in Q1

Household net worth jumped by $3 trillion in the first quarter as real estate values grew $836 billion, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday in its quarterly Flow of Funds report. With a drop in mortgage debt, owners' equity in real estate increased a sharp 2.5 percentage points to its highest level since 2007. Owners' equity as a percentage of real estate value has been on a steady upward trajectory since dropping to 36.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

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Beige Books Sees ‘Modest to Moderate’ Growth

Fed

The nation's economy grew at a "modest to moderate pace" from early April through the end of May, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book. The report cited growing strength in the housing and residential construction sector and the impact on the broader economy, with residential real estate and construction activity increasing "at a moderate to strong pace in all Districts." In addition, "overall bank lending improved modestly since the previous report."

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Consumer Sentiment Beats Expectations

Consumers in the latest Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey reported their most improved financial situation in more than five years, according to Surveys of Consumers. The group's Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 84.5 in May, its highest level since July 2007 and an improvement over the preliminary reading of 83.7. April's index reading was 76.4; May 2012's reading was 79.3. The survey comes only days after the Conference Board's latest index, which showed consumer confidence climbing to a five-year high in May.

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Personal Spending, Income Drop in April

Restrained by drops in farm income and sequester-driven cuts in government programs, personal income slipped $5.6 billion in April, while personal consumption spending dropped $20.5 billion, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday.

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First-Quarter GDP Growth Dips as Corporate Profits Fall

The nation's economy grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly slower than originally reported, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said Thursday. At the same time, BEA said corporate profits in the first quarter were $1.97 trillion, down almost $44 billion from the fourth quarter. The last time corporate profits showed a quarter-over-quarter decline was in the first quarter of 2012. Corporate profits are considered a key indicator of employment trends.

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Consumer Confidence Trends Higher in May

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index continued to improve in May as Americans recovered from the economic shocks that plagued the year's first few months. "Consumer Confidence posted another gain this month and is now at a five-year high," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. "Consumers' assessment of current business and labor-market conditions was more positive and they were considerably more upbeat about future economic and job prospects."

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Mortgage Rates Climb for Second Week

According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.51 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending May 16, a significant climb from last week.

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Retail Sales Rise in April; Building Material Sales Jump

Driven by stronger auto sales (but held back by falling gasoline prices), total retail sales increased an unexpected 0.1 percent in April, the Census Bureau reported Monday. Economists had expected sales to fall 0.3 percent. Sales at building material and supply stores jumped $389 million for the month, a 1.5 percent increase--the largest month-over-month increase since September. Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were flat to March. Those two retail categories have a direct relationship to home sales.

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Brighter Outlook Props Up Consumer Confidence in April

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which took a hit in March as the first effects of the sequester were felt, increased from 61.9 to 68.1 in April, the firm reported. Consumers were considerably more upbeat about the near future than they were in March. The Conference Board's Expectations Index improved to 73.3 in April, a jump from 63.7 the prior month. While more respondents also expressed confidence in their assessment of current conditions, monthly gains were only moderate.

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