Markets were in the red all day, ahead of Ben Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 13,000, -106.77, -0.81%
S&P 500: 1,399, -11.01, -0.78%
NASDAQ: 3,048, -32.48, -1.05%
And now the top stories:
- Initial jobless claims was the first major data point of the day, and new claims came in higher than expected at 374,000 for the August 25 week. Meanwhile, the prior week's number was revised up to 374K.
- Personal income and outlays for July was also out at 8:30 a.m. ET and the data came in pretty much in line with expectations. Personal income increased by $42.3 billion, or 0.3 percent, in line with expectations. Meanwhile, personal consumption expenditures increased $46.0 billion, climbing 0.4 percent, just shy of expectations.
- Markets started the day modestly lower, and about an hour into the trading day the Dow was off 125 points. Markets pared some losses as the day continued, but sold off in the final fifteen minutes of trading.
- The latest foreclosure report from RealtyTrac offered some positive signs for the housing market. Sales of foreclosed homes fell 12 percent quarter-over-quarter, in the second quarter, and declined 22 percent from a year ago. While the declining foreclosure inventory pushed up home prices and offered reasons to celebrate, it is important to remember that foreclosed homes still account for 23 percent of all U.S. residential sales, and foreclosure starts have been rising in recent months. 12 cities where homeowners are deep underwater >
- The Kansas city Fed manufacturing index beat expectations and came in at +8 for the month of August. The new orders sub-index was also positive, rising to 11. But the demand for new orders could just signal stronger domestic demand, since export orders stayed negative.
- All week markets have been waiting for Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium in Wyoming tomorrow. Investors have been hoping that Bernanke will offer signs of another round of quantitative easing, but he is expected to disappoint. Deutsche Bank's Joseph LaVorgna doesn't expect Bernanke to give anything away. Instead he writes, "Our key focus on his speech will be twofold: One, to gauge the Chairman’s assessment of the near-term economic trajectory—specifically, to determine his degree of confidence that the economy is reaccelerating in H2; and two, to discern the economic data thresholds which would warrant further policy action."
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