|In the News
Retail sales rose 0.7% for the week ending December 22, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 3.2%.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index — on a non-seasonally adjusted basis — fell 0.1% in October, following a revised 0.2% increase in September. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 4.3% compared with October 2011.
New home sales rose 4.4% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 377,000 units from a revised rate of 361,000 units in October. On a year-over-year basis, new home sales were up 15.3% compared with November 2011. At the current sales pace, there’s a 4.7-month supply of new homes on the market.
The consumer confidence index fell to 65.1 in December from a revised 71.5 in November. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence. The expectations component of the index fell 15 points in December, reflecting concerns over the pending fiscal cliff.
Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, rose 1.7% in November. On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales were up 9.8% compared with November 2011.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending December 22 fell by 12,000 to 350,000. Continuing claims for the week ending December 15 fell by 32,000 to 3.206 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 356,750, the lowest reading since March 2008.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending on January 2 and factory orders on January 4.