Monday, March 28, 2011

Trial and try

I was exposed to the term of the title when I sat in the econometrics class in college. It means using different inputs to get various results from one model. I heard about the advanced method (monte carlo simulation) much earlier, but truly learned it only several years ago. This random thought came into my mind when I was trying to find out a way to make my everyday tasks easier without lowering the quality of our daily conference call. Then, discussion about everyone's outlook of the coming week's market was picked to be our fixed topic for Monday.

Members were asked to indicate one coming event/economic data that they think is important to the market in this coming trading week.

Consumer confidence (Tuesday, 3/29, 10:00am)

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 70.4 in February for the best reading in three years. January was revised more than four points higher to 64.8. Most of the improvement was related to a better assessment of the jobs market. Fewer consumers in February said jobs are hard to get, at 45.7 percent, compared to January's 47.0 percent. Also, improvement was especially striking in the assessment of future income which before this report had been in unprecedented inversion, that is more saw their income decreasing than increasing. In the latest report 17.3 percent saw their income improving versus 13.8 percent seeing a decrease. But higher gasoline and food prices likely will weigh on confidence in March.

Most U.S. States Post Unemployment Decline (Fri, MARCH 25, 2011, 4:21 PM)

Strong hiring in February pushed the overall unemployment rate down to 8.9%, the lowest level in nearly two years, as employers added 192,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls.

According to the regional and state unemployment rates reported by the Labor Department, 27 states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, while seven states registered rate increases and 16 states had no change.

Among them, California had the largest increase in employment last month, gaining 96,500 jobs. However, the unemployment rate in the state was among the highest of all the states, at 12.2%. Kansas lost 12,800 jobs, the largest monthly decline in employment, though its unemployment rate is at 6.8%. Nevada’s unemployment remained the highest in the nation, at 13.6%.

Construction... Unfortunately / fortunately, we didn't have a hurricane / earthquake so, we don't have to rebuild an entire nation. Construction is slated to go down by .3% because housing starts went down in February. Construction spending has been negative for at least the last 3 years. This isn't a good sign given that the US economy depends heavily on home building and construction. Infrastructure was supposed to be given a boost, but we haven't seen that yet. Why? I'm not sure since I haven't given this topic much thought, but this is something which we can discuss on the call.

Both Consumer confidence and the unemployment rate are said to be important in the coming week.  For construction, we will need Saliq's explanation about why he believes it is important.


-- Chang --

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