October 15, 2011
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending October 7 rose 1.3%. Refinancing applications increased 1.3%. Purchase volume rose 1.1%.
The trade deficit decreased slightly to $45.608 billion in August from a revised $45.625 billion in July. Exports fell 0.1% to $177.6 billion. Imports for August were virtually unchanged from July at $223.2 billion.
Retail sales rose 1.1% to $395.5 billion in September after an upwardly revised 0.3% increase in August. The gain was the biggest in seven months and twice what economists had estimated. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales rose 7.9%.
The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for October's preliminary reading fell to 57.5 from 59.4 in September. The index hit a 30-year low of 55.3 in November 2008.
Total business inventories rose 0.5% in August to $1.535 trillion, up 10.5% from a year ago. Total business sales increased 0.3% to $1.201 trillion in August, up 11.8% from a year ago. The total business inventories/sales ratio in August was 1.28.
Import prices rose 0.3% in September following a 0.4% decrease in August. On a year-over-year basis, import prices are up 13.4%, led mostly by a sharp rise in fuel prices. Export prices rose 0.4% in September after advancing 0.5% in August. For the year, import prices are up 9.5%.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 1,000 to 404,000 for the week ending October 8. Continuing claims for the week ending October 1 fell by 55,000 to 3.67 million.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on October 18, housing starts on October 19 and existing home sales on October 20.