July 30, 2012
The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 1.5% in the second quarter of 2012. This follows a 2% pace of growth in the first quarter of 2012.
Retail sales rose 1% for the week ending July 21, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 3.3%.
Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — rose $3.4 billion or 1.6% to $221.6 billion in June. This increase follows an upwardly revised 1.6% increase in May. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, June orders posted a monthly decrease of 1.1%.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending July 20 rose 0.9%. Refinancing applications increased 2%. Purchase volume fell 3%.
New home sales fell 8.4% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 350,000 units from an upwardly revised rate of 382,000 units in May. The initial May reading was 369,000. On a year-over-year basis, new home sales are up 15.1% compared with June 2011. At the current sales pace, there's a 4.9-month supply of new homes on the market.
Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, fell 1.4% in June after a revised 5.4% increase in May. On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales are up 9.5% compared with June 2011.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending July 21 fell by 35,000 to 353,000 from an upwardly revised 388,000 the prior week. Continuing claims for the week ending July 14 fell 30,000 to 3.287 million.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on July 31, construction spending on August 1 and factory orders on August 2.