JD Power says auto sales will rebound in 2015; Goldman Sachs reports earnings jump, and U.S. agencies report good news in unemployment and manufacturing. Here are the big news stories for Oct. 16, 2014
Obama Details Ebola Plans
President Barack Obama Wednesday issued a declaration regarding the country’s preparation for dealing with an outbreak of Ebola, saying a “swat” – like team of CDC operatives will be on the ready to get to a new case within 24 hours of their diagnosis. Obama said the chances of a severe outbreak in this country is remote, and told reporters at the White House the situation needs to be handled in West Africa to avoid its spread to other parts of the world. On Thursday, five U.S. airports began screening passengers coming in from African nations for Ebola symptoms.
JD Power Predicts Rise in Auto Sales
J.D. Power and Associates predicts sales of new cars and trucks at U.S. dealerships will rise to 13.83 million in 2015, six years after the recession had its most serious effect upon the automobile industry. If the 13.83 million units are reached as predicted, that would be slightly above the previous record of 13.8 million in 2004. The research company said the improving economy and growing consumer demand for newer and more fuel-efficient vehicles will help push sales.
Goldman Sachs Reports Big Revenues
The third-quarter earnings report from Goldman Sachs handily topped analysts’ expectations Thursday. The bank reported third-quarter earnings of $4.57 a share on $8.39 billion in revenue, far exceeding the Wall Street estimates of $3.21 a share in earnings on 47.85 billion in revenue. Other banks reporting earnings this week included JP Morgan Chase, which missed earnings estimates, Wells Fargo reporting earnings along the lines of predictions and Citigroup exceeding Wall Street guesses. During the third quarter, Goldman reported it would pay $3.15 billion to repurchase residential mortgage-backed securities by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from 2005 to 2007.
Jobless Claims Reach Another New Low
The Labor Department Thursday reports that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000, the lowest total since 2000. Economists had expected a much smaller drop to 290,000 claims. The jobless claims suggest the economy is on solid footing and heading into a stronger phase. The Federal government reportedly is keeping a close eye on the persistently low rate of inflation before considering a hike in interest rates related to employment. The four-week moving average of claims fell 4,250 to 283,500, also the lowest level since 2000.
Industrial Production Gains Again
The U.S. Industrial production report Thursday said manufacturing was up 1 percent in September, much higher than economists’ expectations of a 0.4 percent rise. The gain is the biggest in nearly two years, as factory activity remained high and utilities output showed a big weather-related jump. Output at the nation’s mines, factories and utilities climbed 1.0 percent after slipping 0.2 percent in August, according to the Federal Reserve. It was the biggest rise since November of 2012. The amount of productive capacity in use rose to 79.3 percent, the highest level of production since June of 2008. Foreclosures Drop Significantly
RealtyTrac, which tracks housing market data nationwide, said foreclosure activity across the U.S. declined in September to the lowest level since July of 2006 as banks reclaimed fewer homes. The foreclosure filings in September were 106,866, an 8.6 percent decrease from August and a 19.6 percent drop from one year earlier. September was the 48th consecutive month of year-on-year declines in overall foreclosure activity, which includes scheduled auctions, bank repossessions and foreclosure notices. "September foreclosure activity was back to pre-housing bubble levels nationwide, in large part thanks to a continued slide in bank repossessions," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.