Jobless claims decline more than forecast
Fewer Americans than forecast filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to Bloomberg. Jobless claims declined to 9,000 to 323,000 in the week ended August 31 in a report filed by the Labor Department. At the same time, private payrolls increased by 176,000 in August, according to payroll provider ADP. The numbers are consistent with a slowly improving economy.
Fed Beige Book shows economy gaining strength
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, a survey of economic conditions in the 12 Fed bank districts, show that consumer spending and the housing market continued slow but steady gains while manufacturing expanded modestly. All regions reported modest to moderate growth in the auto and housing sections. USA Today reports that growth was moderate in eight districts, but four districts – Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago- posted more moderate expansion. The report could be key in determining whether the Fed begins to withdraw its bond-buying stimulus. The Fed policymakers meet on September 18th.
Nasdaq crashes again
The Nasdaq stock market suffered another computer glitch that caused a “brief six-minute outage” on Wednesday for some of its listed stocks. According to USA Today, its system that disseminates stock quotes to buyers and sellers suffered the outage. Nasdaq insists that trading was not affected. The latest malfunction is likely to heat up the already hot debate regarding whether the US trading infrastructure is reliable.
US Auto Sales Gain in Double Digits
August was a good month for car sales with many carmakers reporting double digit gains. The New York Times reports that General Motors sales rose 15 percent in August, its strongest month since September 2008. Ford Motor and Chrysler both posted 12 percent increases last month, primarily due to sales of small and midsize cars and trucks. In the second quarter, leasing accounted for more than 27 percent of new vehicles purchased, compared to 24 percent a year ago. During the recession, the pace of leasing slipped after dealers made too many subprime or low quality loans. Toyota and Nissan both reported that sales rose more than 22 percent compared to a year ago. Volkswagen continued to see a decline in sales.
Experts predict US to open US Strategic Petroleum reserves
The Financial Times is reporting that experts predict the US will tap into its Strategic Petroleum Reserves should there be a US strike against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The release would be most likely if oil prices rose above $120 per barrel. The move is not considered imminent since Brent Crude oil was being traded on Wednesday at $115 per barrel. Syria is not a significant oil producer, but fears that the US strikes could have unexpected consequences are raising the price of oil internationally.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.