Monthly Archives: December 2006

Financial News – December 2006

The Producer Price Index — which measures inflation pressures at the wholesale level — surged 2% in November, the largest advance in more than three decades, the Labor Department said December 19. The 2% jump was four times bigger than the 0.5% increase economists had forecast. Core wholesale inflation, which excludes energy and food, rose 1.3%, the biggest gain since July 1980.

Undaunted by the humbug of higher wholesale prices, consumers increased their spending by 0.5% in November, just missing the 0.6% gain economists had forecast, the Commerce Department reported December 22. November’s increase in consumer spending was the best since July and suggests the nation’s economic expansion is not in danger of fizzling out.

Although Americans were spending, they weren’t saving. Americans’ personal savings rate — savings as a percentage of after-tax income — dipped to a negative 1% in November, the worst showing since August.

The pace of U.S. home building rose 6.7% in November, beating economists’ expectations and reversing a sharp decline in October. However, permits for future groundbreaking fell 3%, a level not seen since December 1997.

U.S. mortgage applications decreased 10.2% for the week ending December 15, the Mortgage Bankers Association said December 20. Purchase applications fell 5.9%, while refinancing applications were off 14.6%.

Interest rates on 30-year mortgages inched up for the second week in a row, Freddie Mac reported December 21. Nevertheless, 30-year mortgage rates are still lower than they were for the corresponding week a year ago.

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Financial News – December 2006

On December 12, 2006 the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady by keeping the Federal Funds Rate at 5.25% for a fourth straight meeting, a move widely anticipated by industry experts. This comes on the coat tails of the Fed calling the recent cooling in the housing market “substantial.” Even so, retail sales jumped 1% inContinue Reading