US FINANCIAL MARKET
- GM’s U.S. sales rose 7% to 224,000. Ford’s sales rose 9% to 195,822. Chrysler’s sales rose 4% to 139,000. Volkswagen’s sales were up 3% to 31,000.
- Best Buy fourth-quarter loss narrowed as better sales in the U.S. helped offset weakness abroad, particularly China and Canada.
- McDonald’s is getting rid of items from menu such as Chicken Selects and Fruit & Walnut Salad as well as considering the removal of Angus burgers.
- If Subway’s $5 Footlong is too expensive, the chain is now offering a $3 6-inch sub.
- The Pentagon says it has lifted an order that briefly grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets. The jets were grounded on Feb. 21 after the discovery of a small crack in the turbine blade of an engine. All 51 planes had been cleared to resume flight operations.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- U.S. consumer spending was tepid in January as higher taxes squeezed household incomes, but vigor in the manufacturing sector last month suggested economic growth picked up this quarter after stalling in late 2012.
- Manufacturing sector grows at best pace in 1-1/2 years. The ISM factory index advanced to 54.2 last month from 53.1. The figures exceeded the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Orders expanded the most in almost two years. The index averaged 64.2 during the last recession and 89 in the five years before the 18-month economic slump that ended in June 2009.
- ISM report also showed U.S. production increased to 57.6 from 53.6 in January. The new orders measure climbed to 57.8, the highest since April 2011. The gauge of export orders advanced to 53.5.
- U.S. consumer spending was tepid in January as higher taxes squeezed household incomes.
- Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in January even as incomes dropped by the most in 20 years. US personal spending rose 0.2% in January after a 0.1% gain the prior month.
- U.S. construction spending fell 2.1% in January by the largest amount in 18 months as home construction stalled and spending on government projects fell to the lowest level in more than six years. Residential construction stalled in January with no gain. Non-residential building dropped 5.1%.
- Personal income growth plunged 3.6% in January; the biggest one-month drop in 20 years.
- Disposable income, or the money left over after taxes, dropped 4% after adjusting for inflation, the biggest plunge since monthly records began in 1959.
- Today’s report showed a price gauge tied to consumer spending. Over the past 12-month prices rose 1.2, the smallest year-to-year gain since October 2009.
- US manufacturing grows in February at fastest pace since June 2011, new orders rise.
- The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of U.S. consumer sentiment for February rose to 77.6 from 73.8. Economists projected 76.3. The index averaged 64.2 during the last recession and 89 in the five years before the 18-month economic slump that ended in June 2009.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Unemployment across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro has risen to a record 11.9% but inflation has fallen to its lowest level in two and a half years.
- Italy’s budget deficit narrowed in 2012 to match the European Union limit of 3% of GDP.
- German retail sales rose the most in more than six years in January as falling unemployment bolstered consumer confidence. Sales, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, jumped 3.1% from December.
- Chinese manufacturing indexes showed a slower-than-estimated pace of expansion in February. The official Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.1 in February, the weakest in five months and down from 50.4. HSBC and Markit manufacturing index dropped to a four-month low of 50.4 from 52.3.
- Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s consumer prices fell in January, while South Korea’s exports dropped for the second time in three months in February. Indonesia reported inflation accelerated to a 20-month high in February.
- Canada economic growth stagnates. GDP grew at a 0.6% annualized pace from October to December.
TODAY in HISTORY
- The U.S. Congress authorized the first census (1790)
- Ohio became the 17th state in the United States (1803)
- Nebraska became the 37th state in the United States (1867)
- Postage stamps depicting scenes were issued for the first time in the U.S. (1869)
- Yellowstone became the world’s first National Park (1872)
- President John F. Kennedy signed a signed an executive order establishing the Peace Corps (1961)
Sources: Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg, CNN Money.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.