- Durable goods orders fell by a disappointing 6.8% in July, while the previous month’s reading was revised downward to a gain of 6.4% from 6.5%. Commercial aircraft orders plummeted during the month, offsetting growth in core capital goods (a key gauge for business investment).
- New-home sales slowed in July by 9.4% to an annualized rate of 571,000, below expectations, despite an increase in supply. Analysts attributed the drop to affordability as the high costs of land and labor remained an issue for builders.
- Existing-home sales unexpectedly eased by 1.3% in July to an annualized rate of 5.44 million, driven lower by weak wage growth that hasn’t kept up with price appreciation in the housing market.
- Economic activity improved in August; preliminary readings of Markit’s purchasing managers’ composite index (PMI) reached a seven-month high, pointing to solid growth with signs of underlying acceleration. Services came in above expectations, with strength in new orders and hiring mitigating slower growth in the manufacturing sector.
- Initial jobless claims rose by 2,000 to 234,000 in the week ending August 19. The four-week moving average (considered a more reliable measure of unemployment trends) fell by 2,750 to 237,750, the lowest level in three months. Continuing claims were unchanged in the week ending August 12, while the four-week moving average of continuing claims slid by 2,750 to 1.96 million. The ever-tightening labor market could prompt the Federal Reserve to announce its plan for balance-sheet reduction.
- Mortgage-purchase applications fell by 2% in the week ending August 18 as high prices posed a concern for buyers even though mortgage rates remained at their lowest levels since the presidential election. Refinancing activity, which is highly ratesensitive, gained 0.3% in the same period.
- Eurozone economic activity expanded in July, but the pace of growth was unchanged from the previous month. Initial data from the composite PMI showed accelerating gains in the manufacturing sector that were the highest in over six years, offset by slowing growth in services.
- The U.K. economy expanded by 0.3% during the second quarter and by 1.7% year over year, indicating modest growth despite weak readings in consumer spending, exports and business investment.
- China's housing price index increased by 9.7 year over year in July, indicating softer growth from the previous month after recent efforts by the Chinese government to slow growth in the housing market.
- Japan’s consumer price index (CPI) grew by 0.4% year over year in July, although headline CPI remained well below the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target.
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