9/3/2013 Weekly Update



“Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.”

- Dr. Stephen Covey


Entering the armed forces, going to a junior college and transferring to a university, attending a state college instead of a private one – these are all paths toward making higher education more affordable.   


Anna, a supermarket clerk, has not slept during any of the past six nights, and yet she is not tired. How can this be? (SHARE your answer below)

Last week’s riddle:

It stands higher than any tree, yet it seemingly takes forever to grow and you can’t see its roots. To reach its top, you won’t have to shimmy up any trunk. What is it?  

Last week’s answer:

A mountain.



Personal spending and personal incomes each rose 0.1% in July, the Commerce Department stated Friday. The tiny household spending advance fell short of the 0.3% increase forecast by economists polled by Bloomberg. In better news, the Commerce Department adjusted its estimate of Q2 GDP to 2.5% last week, much better than its original 1.7% assessment.1,2


The Conference Board’s August consumer confidence index unexpectedly rose half a point to 81.5 this month (although the survey data was compiled prior to the chemical attack against civilians in Syria). In contrast, the final August consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan came in at 82.1, a 4-month low.(1,2)


July saw a 1.3% decline in housing contract activity, according to the National Association of Realtors. The June edition of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index recorded a 12.1% overall annualized increase in home values and a 0.9% overall monthly rise in prices (the smallest monthly gain since November).(2,3)


Economists did not see this coming. The Commerce Department announced the biggest one-month descent in the indicator in a year last week, with core durables (minus defense and airplane orders) slipping 3.3%.(4)


With U.S. military intervention in Syria appearing close at hand, NYMEX crude ended the week up at $107.65, going +2.24% for August. Gold settled at $1,396.10 Friday; it entered a bull market once again, rising 5.26% on the month. Stocks declined: the Dow went -1.33% on the week to close at 14,810.31 Friday, and the NASDAQ (-1.86% to 3,589.87) and S&P 500 (-1.84% to 1,632.97) followed suit.(5,6)


THIS WEEK: Monday was Labor Day; U.S. financial markets were closed. The August ISM manufacturing index comes out Tuesday, as well as earnings from H&R Block. Wednesday sees the release of a new Federal Reserve Beige Book and Q2 results from Dollar General. Thursday brings the latest round of initial jobless claims, a new ADP employment report and Challenger job-cut report, the July factory orders report and the ISM non-manufacturing index for August; a two-day G20 summit also begins. Friday, the Labor Department issues unemployment figures for August and Smithfield Foods and Mattress Firm announce earnings.


1 - bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-30/consumer-spending-in-u-s-increased-in-july-for-a-third-month.html [8/30/13]

2 - bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-29/consumer-comfort-in-u-s-declines-to-a-more-than-four-month-low.html [8/29/13]

3 - usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/08/27/case-shiller-index-june/2705137/ [8/27/13]

4 - online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20130826-706196.html [8/26/13]

5 - money.cnn.com/data/commodities/ [8/30/13]

6 - tinyurl.com/p4put9e [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=8%2F30%2F12&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=8%2F30%2F12&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=8%2F30%2F12&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=8%2F29%2F08&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=8%2F29%2F08&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=8%2F29%2F08&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=8%2F29%2F03&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=8%2F29%2F03&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=8%2F29%2F03&x=0&y=0 [8/30/13]

8 - treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [8/30/13]

9 - treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [8/30/13]

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