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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wells Fargo's Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary- August 26, 2011

- Real GDP was revised down to a 1.0 percent pace in the second quarter from the initially reported 1.3 percent rate.

. Consumer spending and business investments were revised higher, but the increase was offset by a decline in inventories and net exports.

- Durable goods orders rose 4.0 percent in July, but non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft fell 1.5 percent, which may suggest weaker growth in business investment in the coming quarter.

- Jobless claims rose by 5,000 to 417,000 in the week ending August 20, while claims for the previous week were revised higher by 4,000 to 412,000.

. The increase was largely due to a labor dispute which added 21,000 claims during the past two weeks.

- New home sales fell 0.7 percent in July to a 298,000-unit pace, as builders continue to struggle with weak demand and competition from distressed properties.

. The gap between the median price of a new home and the median price of an existing home widened to a record $57,125 in July.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wells Fargo's Weekly Economic Financial Commentary - August 19, 2011

- The leading economic indicators rose 0.5 percent in July, but gains in the stock price, money supply, and interest rate spread components added a total of 1.1 percentage points, indicating the other seven components subtracted a combined 0.6 percent.

- The Federal Reserve’s Empire State survey was negative for the third consecutive month in July, while the 33.9-point drop in the Philadelphia Fed survey was the largest since October 2008 and sent the index firmly into recession territory.

- Sales of existing homes fell 3.5 percent in July, and mortgage applications for home purchases declined despite the recent drop in mortgage rates.

. Housing starts in July declined 1.5 percent month-over-month to a 604,000-unit annual pace.

- The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent in August, while the core CPI rose 0.2 percent and is up 1.8 percent year-over-year.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wells Fargo's Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary- August 12, 2011

- This week has been the stock market’s second most volatile week in the period going back to WWII.

- The number of people filing claims for unemployment insurance broke through the key 400,000 level, a level which allows the economy to add jobs at a fast enough rate to bring down the unemployment rate.

- Retail sales grew 8.2 percent year-over-year in July, suggesting a better finish to the second quarter and more resilience on the part of U.S. consumers.

- Housing starts jumped in June by 14.6 percent, led by a 30.4 percent increase in multifamily starts.

. We expect an average of around 620,000 new housing starts through the end of the year.

Wells Fargos Monthly Economic Outlook - August, 2011

- GDP growth should come in at two percent for the second half of this year, reflecting the continued contribution of consumer spending, business investment in equipment and software, and residential and commercial construction.

. Nominal personal income growth benefits from gains in employment and wages, and while we recognize these are very modest at best, they will help improve consumer spending moving forward.

- Structural unemployment has become a greater issue, as skills and job location are significant barriers to filling new positions.

- Inflation, as measured by the core PCE deflator, will approach the Fed’s two percent target by the end of the year.

. Modest economic growth, coupled with a sub-two percent core deflator, dictates that the Fed will not alter the federal funds rate at all this year.

- Corporate profit growth is expected to moderate in the year ahead, reflecting the competitiveness of U.S. firms in a global environment, especially in value-added manufacturing, energy, and consumer products.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wells Fargo's Weekly Economic Financial Commentary - August 5, 2011

- Employment data exceeded consensus expectations, posting a gain of 117,000 jobs in July, and net upward revisions of 56,000 to previous months’ data.

. While the report is promising, the government sector shed 37,000 jobs for the month, and the drop in the unemployment rate to 9.1 percent was largely due to a decline in labor force participation, which fell to 63.9 percent.

- The ISM manufacturing index came in at a paltry 50.9 in July, declining significantly from June’s reading of 55.3, while the new orders component fell below the breakeven threshold of 50.

- Even with the passing of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and Moody’s dialing back the threat of a U.S. downgrade, equity markets have sold off more than 11.0 percent in the past two weeks, and 10-year treasury yields have fallen 50 basis points.

- Our outlook expects real GDP to increase at a 2.5 percent annual rate during the third quarter, and while there are clear downside risks, we still do not see a double-dip recession.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Owens Corning Acquires FiberTEK Insulation Businesses

Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) today announced that it has completed the acquisition of FiberTEK Insulation, LLC, and FiberTEK Insulation West, LLC. 

The acquisitions include manufacturing locations in Lakeland, Fla., and Nephi, Utah, and expand Owens Corning's loosefill insulation capacity, while strengthening the company's ability to serve North American loosefill customers.

Loosefill, or "blown-in" insulation, is preferred due to the increased penetration of higher efficiency building codes, which require increased levels of attic insulation, and for its ease of use in energy efficiency retrofitting. The unbonded loosefill insulation product line has grown its share of overall U.S. light density residential fiberglass insulation sales in recent years to become a bright spot amid the broader downturn in U.S. residential construction.

"The acquisition of the FiberTEK companies is a great addition for Owens Corning and our customers," said Tom Quigley, vice president and general manager, Residential Insulation. "These acquisitions position Owens Corning to serve our customers in this segment as the market returns. They also benefit existing FiberTEK customers by making available our entire array of insulation products, including our revolutionary EcoTouch™ family of high-performance residential and light commercial insulation products."
The FiberTEK acquisitions will also enable Owens Corning to expand growth opportunities for its EnergyComplete™ Insulation and Air Sealing System.