Higher mortgage rates and rising home prices scared off prospective home buyers in September, sparking the fourth straight monthly drop in a key measure of home sales.
The National Association of Realtors’ gauge of pending sales of existing homes fell 5.6% last month from August, the trade group said Monday. That pushed the measure down to its lowest level since December 2012. The 1.2% drop from a year ago marked the first time in more than two years that pending home sales were lower than they were a year earlier.
U.S. industrial output improved in September after a surge in the volatile utility segment helped bolster weaker gains in manufacturing, returning to the 2007 average for the first time since the recession.
Industrial production—a measure of output at U.S. factories, utilities and mines—increased a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in September from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said Monday. The gain, driven largely by rebounding utility use, pushed overall output back to its 2007 average for the first time since the recession.
Capacity utilization, a measure of slack across industrial firms, rose 0.4 percentage point to 78.3%. That marked the highest level in five years.
Manufacturing, the largest component of industrial production, increased just 0.1% in September, slower than August’s 0.5% gain. Utility output rose 4.4% during the month, following declines in the previous five months.
During the third quarter, manufacturing expanded at a 1.2% annual pace. That is an improvement from a second-quarter contraction but still lags behind gains recorded the previous three years.
WEEKLY CHAIN STORE SALES DROPPD 0.4% LAST WEEK
The 4-week m.a. is down for an 11th consecutive week and is up only 1.6% YoY.
Italy’s economy contracted 0.3% in the three months through September, prolonging a record recession and signaling that the euro region’s recovery is bypassing its third-biggest economy, according to the head of the nation’s statistics office.
Italy’s gross domestic product will fall 1.8 percent this year, Antonio Golini, acting chairman of the country’s national statistics office Istat said today speaking at a hearing in Parliament. That’s more than the 1.4 percent 2013 GDP contraction Rome-based Istat projected in May.
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Note to readers: We have migrated to our winter home, only to discovere that a contractor cut our cable link during work somewhere in the building. Comcast will need several days to rewire. Our internet access is thus limited and sloooooowww. Please bear with me for a little while…