Economy

U.S. business inventories recorded their biggest increase in nearly a year, which could see economists raise their growth estimates for the second quarter. On Thursday, the Census Bureau released its Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales report for April 2015. Total sales, including distributive trade sales and manufacturers’…

Retail sales jumped in May, suggesting the U.S. economic recovery is picking up momentum. On Thursday, June 11, the Census Bureau reported better-than-expected retail and food services sales. For the month of May, total retail and food service sales came in at $444.9 billion, representing a 2.7% increase…

U.S. weekly jobless claims were below 300,000 for the 14th straight week, signaling that America’s labor market is strengthening. On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported the advance figure for seasonally-adjusted initial claims was 279,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level in the week…

Few charts look as strong and encouraging as the S&P 500 over the last five years. Since the markets bottomed in 2009, the S&P 500 has soared 215%. While many investors remain bullish, the market cap to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio shows the stock market is seriously…

Soaring mortgage applications are usually an indication of a strong economy, but the recent bump in volume could actually signal that problems are ahead. On Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that total U.S. mortgage application volumes jumped 8.4% from the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis.…

Oil prices soared Wednesday morning, June 10, after data showed U.S. crude inventories fell last week by the most since July 2014. On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy and Information Administration (EIA) reported crude inventories fell by 6.8 million barrels in the last week, compared to analysts' expectations of…

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, is in turmoil and teetering on disaster. Just five years ago, as the global economy was in the midst of one of the biggest economic disasters since the Great Depression, Brazil was one of the bright spots. Not anymore. Brazil’s economic outlook for…

In the first four months of this year, January to April, prices in the U.S. declined by 0.2%. But this shouldn’t be a reason to jump to the conclusion that deflation will prevail for the U.S. economy. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, last accessed May 31, 2015.) Probability…

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) raised Ireland’s credit rating for a second time in six months, this time from A from A+, as the country’s economic recovery continues. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2015.) On Friday June 5, 2015, S&P cited the country’s narrowing fiscal…

On Friday, June 5, 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 in May, and the unemployment rate rose to 5.5% from 5.4% in April. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 5, 2015.) Job gains took place in professional and…

On Thursday, June 4, 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the Federal Reserve to delay its interest rate hike until 2016 while it downgrades the U.S. economy’s outlook. (Source: Associated Press, June 4, 2015.) The IMF said, "The underpinnings for continued growth and job creation remain in…

The U.S. weekly jobless claims, for the week ending May 30, totaled 276,000 vs. the estimated 280,000. The most recent figures marked the 13th straight week of the claims being below 300,000. Weekly initial jobless claims came in at 276,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's…

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 in Frankfurt that the bank would maintain a steady policy and outlook through bond market volatility. He also said that the ECB is ready to provide more economic stimulus to ensure it meets its inflation…

On Wednesday, June 3, ADP came out with its National Employment Report for May 2015. The report showed a 201,000 gain in private sector jobs for the month of May. (Source: ADP, June 3, 2015.) Employment at small businesses increased substantially. Companies with less than 49 employees gained…

On Wednesday, June 3, 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), through the Department of Commerce, reported the trade balance for the month of April. Results show that the trade deficit shrank more than expected. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, June 3,…

On Monday, June 1, 2015, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported U.S. consumer spending and personal income data for the month of April. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, June 1, 2015.) Consumer expenditure dropped in April. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased by $2.6 billion, or less than 0.1%.…

The editorial folks here at Profit Confidential won’t like this… But I’m taking a break today from reporting on the stock market, economy, precious metals, the eurozone, and everything else I usually write about on these pages. The events surrounding the Costa Concordia (the ship that went aground…