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Economy

Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. business activity snapped back to the highest since early 2019 this month as companies in both the manufacturing and services sectors saw a resurgence in new orders even as new COVID-19 cases remain stubbornly high across the country, a purchasing managers’ survey showed on Friday.

Data firm IHS Markit said its flash U.S. Composite PMI Index rose to a reading of 54.7 this month - the highest since February 2019 - from 50.3 in July. Its flash - or preliminary - indicator for the manufacturing sector stood at its highest since January 2019 and for the services sector it was the highest since March 2019.


AP News | Equities.com |

U.S. home sales rose at a record pace for a second straight month in July and home prices hit a record as historically low interest rates boosted demand for homes even as the coronavirus pandemic put millions of people out of work.

The National Association of Realtors said on Friday existing home sales rose 24.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million units last month. Data for June was revised down slightly to a 4.70 million unit pace from the originally reported 4.72 million.


AP News | Equities.com |

U.S. average rates on long-term mortgages rose this week though they remain at historically low levels. The key 30-year loan nudged toward 3%.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year home loan increased to 2.99% from 2.96% last week. By contrast, the rate averaged 3.55% a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 2.54% from 2.46% from last week.


AP News | Equities.com |

The number of laid-off workers seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose to 1.1 million last week after two weeks of declines, evidence that many employers are still slashing jobs as the coronavirus bedevils the U.S. economy.

The latest figures, released Thursday by the Labor Department, suggest that more than five months after the viral outbreak erupted the economy is still weak, despite recent gains as some businesses reopen and some sectors like housing and manufact...


AP News | Equities.com |

Construction of new U.S. homes surged 22.6% last month as homebuilders bounced back from a lull induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that new homes were started an annual pace of nearly 1.5 million in July, highest since February and well above what economists were expecting. Housing starts have now risen three straight months after plunging in March and April as the virus outbreak paralyzed the American economy. Last month’s pace of construction was 23.4% above July 2019′s.


Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. home builder confidence rose for a third straight month in August to match its highest level ever as record-low interest rates spur a surge in buyer traffic, data released on Monday showed in the latest indication the housing market is standing out as a rare bright spot in the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, however, a growing number of home owners are falling behind on their mortgages with tens of millions still out of work and ...


AP News | Equities.com |

Japan’s economy shrank at annual rate of 27.8% in April-June, the worst contraction on record, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed consumption and trade, according to government data released Monday.

The Cabinet Office reported that Japan’s preliminary seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product, or GDP, the sum of a nation’s goods and services, fell 7.8% quarter on quarter.

The annual rate shows what the number would have been if continued for a year.

...


AP News | Equities.com |

Americans spent more at retail stores and restaurants in July for a straight straight month, but growing evidence suggests that sales are now slowing with the expiration of government rescue aid that had previously put more money in people’s pockets.

Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that retail purchases rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.2% last month, with solid gains at appliance and clothing stores helping drive up sales. The gains of the past three months have restored retail purchases to their levels before they plunged in March and April when the pandemic shuttered businesses and paralyzed the economy.


Reuters | Equities.com |

The U.S. economy will expand at a much faster rate in the current quarter than previously expected, but the outlook looks weaker for growth and job creation in the fourth quarter and beyond, according to a Philadelphia Federal Reserve survey released on Friday.

The Philly Fed’s quarterly Survey of Professional Forecasters predicted growth in the current third quarter will come in at a 19.1% annualized rate, nearly double the previous forecast for a 10.6% expansion from J...


AP News | Equities.com |

By Christopher Rugaber

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment aid fell below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic intensified five months ago yet still remains at a high level. The viral pandemic keeps forcing layoffs just as the expiration of a $600-a-week federal jobless benefit has deepened the hardships for many.

The Labor Department said applications fell to 963,000, the second straight drop, from 1.2 million th...