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A description of the content follows : Don't waste forever and a day gathering and interpreting economic information - the report card is right here.

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October 31, 2010

Two Weeks’ Worth of Economic Data, in Less Than 500 Words and Three Pictures

Filed under: — MicroCapPress Editor @ 11:31 pm

Real estate data dominated last week’s economic updates, and overall, things were positive on that front. Existing homes sold at an annual rate of 4.53 million… much better than expected, and much better than last month’s sales. New home sales were up to an annual rate of 307K. Home prices went up too, anywhere from 0.5% to 1.7% (depending on the yardstick).

Real Estate Report Card

On the confidence front, the Conference Board’s measure went up to 50.2 (+1.7) for October, while the Michigan Sentiment Index sank to 67.7 (-0.2).

Consumer Confidence, vs. S&P 500

And on the employment front, continuing claims as well as new claims both fell to near new multi-year lows of 4.356M and 434K, respectively.

While the encouraging unemployment claims levels were well-touted, the media didn’t really give enough credit where it was due. The chart below might do that job, however. Though both were technically still in a downtrend from last year’s peaks, the progress had been stagnant for weeks. While there are still too many newcomers and returners to the job market to create real net growth in payrolls, the new claims level is indeed working its way towards respectability. Take a look.

New/Initial Unemployment Claims Versus the S&P 500

Here’s all the data for last week.

Economic Calendar, Last Week

The coming week will be even busier than last week. Personal spending and personal incomes, along with construction spending, will be unveiled on Monday, letting us know just how confident consumers are.

On Wednesday, look for a decent (+1.7%) improvement in factory orders to offset the -0.8% dip in last month’s durable orders (ex-transport…. orders were up 3.2% with transportation in the mix). That said, we’ll get more detailed and timelier reports on car sales with Wednesday’s October-auto-sales figures.

Friday will be a big day as well, mostly stemming from updates on the unemployment battle. We’re looking for (net) private payroll additions of 60K - pretty much in line with last month’s 64K - though that won’t likely be enough to push the unemployment rate any lower than last month’s 9.6%. The average workweek and hourly earnings should also be flat.

Also on Friday, pending home sales for September are expected to be up by 2.5%, which is still positive but not as strong as the prior month’s growth of 4.3%. Yet, consumer credit is on pace for yet another contraction….. this one by -$4.0B.

Economic Calendar, This Week

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