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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wells Fargo's Weekly Economic Financial Commentary - June 17, 2011

- Retail sales dropped 0.2 percent in May, the first decline since last summer, as auto, furniture, electronics, food and beverage, sporting goods, and department store sales declined.
- West Texas Intermediate crude is currently trading near $93 per barrel, down 18.0 percent from $114 per barrel at the beginning of May.
. According to the Department of Energy, average retail gasoline prices have dropped 6.2 percent from the May peak to $3.77 per gallon, with further declines expected in the weeks ahead.
- Initial jobless claims fell again last week to 414,000 from 430,000 the previous week, while the four-week moving average declined to 424,750.
- Housing starts and permits surprised to the upside this week, rising 3.5 percent and 8.7 percent in May, with solid gains in single-family and multi-family starts.
- The Empire State and Philly Fed manufacturing surveys revealed a contraction in manufacturing activity in June due to a decline in the new orders component.
. The negative readings from these surveys are in line with those seen during last summer’s economic soft-patch and do not in themselves signal a general contraction in U.S. industrial production growth or GDP.

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