December 1, 2017
It's Friday and that means it's time to review the latest economic data and identify which pockets of the economy are heating up and which are slowing down. Don't worry about catching every headline and every report throughout the week—I recap all of the most important news impacting your wealth right here every Friday. Let's take a look at this week's big headlines…
According to The Conference Board, the Consumer Confidence Index jumped 3.3 points to 129.6 in October, up from a 126.2 reading in September and hitting a 17-year high. Consumers' assessment of the short-term outlook improved slightly, with the percentage of consumers looking for business conditions to improve over the next six months increasing from 22.1% to 22.4%. What's even better is that the percentage of consumers anticipating worsened business conditions fell from 7.0% to 6.5%. With the index increasing for its fifth consecutive month, it's clear that the average American consumer is heading into the holidays with optimism and happiness. Prospects for a boost in household spending are looking very good.
New Home Sales
October's New Home Sales brought stronger-than-expected numbers, with single-family home sales moving at its highest pace since October 2007. On Monday, the Commerce Department said sales rose 6.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000, from the downwardly revised September rate of 645,000. Results exceeded forecasts from economists surveyed by Reuters, who were expecting a 6.0% decrease to a pace of 625,000 units.
Sales have now increased for the third-straight month. The median sales price increased 3.3% year-over-year to $312,800, up 3.3% from $302,800 a year earlier. This report is consistent with the trend seen in the previously released existing home sales report, where sales rose 2.0% and topped analyst forecasts of a 0.7% rise..
Third-Quarter Gross Domestic Product
In its second estimate for third-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.3%, revised higher from the previous estimate of 3.0%. The U.S. economy is now growing at its fastest rate in three years, supported particularly by investment from businesses and government agencies, which were up 1.2%, an improvement from the original estimate of 0.98%. This impressive report increases the likelihood of the Federal Reserve moving to enact its third and final interest rate hike for 2017 in the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) December 12-13 meeting.
That's all I have for you this week. I'll be in touch again next week with the latest ratings updates out of Portfolio Grader.
Have a great weekend,