February 24, 2021

Shares Eke Out a Slim Gain

Wall Street stocks ended fractionally higher on Wednesday after data showed retail sales rose more than expected in February.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index gained 0.1 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average added about 5 points and the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.1 percent by the end of trading. European market indexes closed moderately lower.

Investors had been looking for signs of any impact on spending triggered by elevated unemployment and a higher payroll tax that went into effect at the start of the year, but the Commerce Department said retail sales increased 1.1 percent, the largest rise since September.

“That was a better-than-expected report across the board, even the numbers excluding autos and gas were better than expected,” said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Ill. “So much for the increase in payroll taxes. Pretty much it’s been a regular habit that the numbers have been coming in better than expected.”

Other data showed import prices rose more than expected in February, driven by the biggest increase in fuel prices since August, while export prices rose 0.8 percent for the month, the largest monthly gain since September.

The Dow recorded a ninth consecutive day of gains and the S.P., at 1,554.51, was still climbing toward its closing high set on Oct. 9, 2007, 1,565.15.

Boeing slipped 0.3 percent after the company won approval from the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday to start testing a redesigned battery for the 787 Dreamliner, putting it a step closer to returning the troubled airplane to regular service.

Coach shares rose 2 percent after Citigroup raised its rating on the stock to buy from neutral.

But Express Inc. slumped 9.1 percent after the apparel retailer posted fourth-quarter earnings and said it was off to a slow start in the first quarter.

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals shares tumbled 35.7 percent after the company forecast a steep drop in full-year sales as it expects uptake of its biggest-selling product, the colon cancer drug Fusilev, to significantly drop as cheaper generics enter the market.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/business/economy/shares-slip-despite-economic-data.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

U.S. Import Prices Rebound

Sunday Review »

Loose Ends: Panning Salon

Beneath the holiday spending, consumers are grouchy.

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Cost of Imports Rises, Despite Dip in Fuel Costs

The 0.2 percent increase in the import-price index, its eighth consecutive gain, followed a revised 2.1 percent climb in April, Labor Department figures released Friday showed. Economists projected a 0.7 percent decrease for last month, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Costs advanced 12.5 percent from May 2010, the biggest 12-month increase since September 2008.

Growing demand from economies in Asia and Latin America, paired with a weaker dollar, is pushing up the cost of goods from abroad for businesses. At the same time, Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, has reiterated that he expects elevated commodity costs to moderate.

“Higher prices given the weaker dollar are something that the economy is going to have deal with going forward,” said Russell T. Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial in Detroit. “Retailers and food vendors are seeing their costs rise.”

Projections in the Bloomberg survey of 55 economists ranged from decreases of 2 percent to increases of 0.3 percent.

Compared with a year earlier, import prices rose 12.5 percent, the biggest 12-month gain since September 2008. They were forecast to increase 11.2 percent over the last 12 months.

The cost of imported petroleum decreased 0.4 percent from the prior month and was up 45 percent from a year earlier.

Excluding all fuels, import prices increased 0.4 percent from the prior month. They were up 4.4 percent from May 2010, matching the year-over-year gains in the prior two months as the largest since October 2008.

Costs of imported automobiles increased 0.5 percent from the prior month, Friday’s report showed. Consumer goods excluding vehicles showed a 0.3 percent gain, led by a 0.7 percent gain for cotton apparel.

Imported food prices fell 0.5 percent, the first decrease since June 2010.

The cost of goods from China rose 0.3 percent, while those from Japan were unchanged.

American export prices increased 0.2 percent after rising 0.9 percent the previous month. Prices of farm exports fell 2 percent, while those of nonfarm goods climbed 0.5 percent.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=101d1102f68378fec779789b77d2d14e

Prices of Imported Goods Increase as the Dollar Declines

The increase in the import-price index came after a revised 2.6 percent gain in March, according to figures from the Labor Department on Tuesday. Other reports showed distributors raised inventories and small businesses lost confidence.

The median forecast of 51 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 1.8 percent increase in import prices last month. Projections ranged from increases of 1 percent to 2.5 percent.

Compared with a year earlier, import prices increased 11 percent, exceeding the 10 percent increase projected by economists surveyed and the biggest 12-month gain in a year.

The increase in prices from overseas may put pressure on companies to pass on higher costs. The report on small businesses showed the share of those surveyed who planned to raise prices held in April at the highest level in 30 months.

“While many policy makers have described recent commodity cost increases as ‘transitory,’ the reality is that even at the small-business level, producers are increasingly more confident in their ability to pass on costs to customers,” Joseph LaVorgna, chief United States economist at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York, said in a note to clients.

After a two-day meeting in Washington last month, Fed officials said the effect on inflation from the jump in fuel and other commodities will probably be “transitory,” according to a statement released April 27.

The officials also lowered their forecasts for growth, saying the economy is recovering at a “moderate pace,” and agreed to finish $600 billion of bond purchases on schedule in June.

Confidence among small companies fell to a seven-month low in April, damped by a deteriorating outlook for the economy, a report from the National Federation of Independent Business showed. The group’s optimism index decreased to 91.2, the lowest since September, from 91.9 the prior month. Seven of the measure’s 10 components dropped.

Small businesses planning to increase prices held at a net 24 percent of owners for a second month, according to the report.

Increasing sales are also prompting wholesalers to increase stockpiles, according to figures from the Commerce Department. Inventories climbed 1.1 percent in March as sales jumped 2.9 percent. At the current pace of sales, distributors had enough goods on hand to last 1.13 months, matching the level in June 2008 as the lowest on record.

The report on prices from overseas showed the cost of imported oil increased 7.2 percent from the previous month and was up 37 percent from a year earlier. Excluding all fuels, import prices climbed 4.3 percent from April 2010, matching the prior month’s 12-month increase as the biggest since October 2008.

Imported food was 1.8 percent costlier last month and was up 20 percent from a year earlier, the biggest 12-month increase since records began in 1977.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=f4bbe865f7ef819eed3d210aab50e951