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A description of the content follows : Where's the economy been, and where's it going? A quick look at last week's and this week's data paints a pretty robust picture.

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October 24, 2010

Economic Reality in Less Than 500 Words, Plus an Earnings Calendar

Filed under: — MicroCapPress Editor @ 10:47 pm

If we had to grade the economy based on last week’s news, we’d have to give it a C-.

Industrial production and capacity utilization both slipped. It wasn’t by a lot, and certainly doesn’t change the overall trend direction of that data. All big trends start as small trends though. That said, this set of data dies NOT yet merit a sounding of the alarm bell.

Nor does the building permit number; it fell from 571K to 539K in September, despite the increase in housing starts, from 608K to 610K. As we’ve mentioned before, this is the time of the year that those numbers start to sink anyway. The longer-term (multi-year) trend is still showing net improvement.

As for unemployment claims, both numbers fell, by a little. That continues to be tepidly good news, though each has been in a very mild downtrend for months anyway. Until new claims fall - and stay - under the 440K level (versus last week’s 452K), investors are apt to take even good news on this front with a grain of salt. Don’t be fooled though… there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

Here’s the whole data set.

Last Week’s Economic Numbers

As for the coming week, more is in store right off the bat, particularly for the real estate market.

Existing home sales for last month will be unveiled on Monday; look for a slight increase to 4.25 million. They should also have sold for a little higher price, according to the Case-Shiller Index - it’s expected to be up by 2.0% (versus the 3.2% increase in the prior months. The FHFA Home Price index will somewhat verify the Case-Shiller number on Wednesday, though keep in mind the FHFA price index is looking at August’s data. New home sales will be announced on Wednesday; the pros are looking for a slight improvement, to 295K. Mortgage application numbers will also be unveiled on Wednesday. Hopefully it will be stronger than last month’s 10.5% decline.

Needless to say, it’s going to be a wild week for real estate watchers.

At the same time, it will be an important week on the confidence front. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence figure will be out on Tuesday, and is currently expected to be slightly higher than last month’s tumble to 48.5. The Michigan Sentiment Index will follow that on Friday, which is expected to show an even more tepid improvement, to 68.0.

A  few other data nuggets will be posted as well, as seen above.

Earnings Calendar

Dizzy yet? Hold onto your hats, because this week’s earnings announcements are even more numerous than last week’s. After this week though, it should be easier to keep tabs on them all (though not leaps and bounds easier yet). Here’s what’s coming this week:

Earnings Calendar

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