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Using the Economic Calendar to Keep Up with the Economy

The Economic Calendar provided by Econoday is an important part of an investors' toolkit. There are two versions: a U.S. Calendar and a Global Calendar. The Global Calendar can be useful if you're investing in foreign assets (or actually live somewhere other than the U.S.).  The Global Calendar also includes U.S. events, so it's quite comprehensive. 

Let's take a look at some of the information that was provided by the U.S. Calendar for the last week (July 29 through Aug 2, which was a busy week; not all are the same). I don't follow everything, so I'll show the reports I normally follow. This information is normally reported before you'll see it in the media. 

Monday, July 29

Dallas Fed Mfg Survey: Production Index from 8.9 to 9.3. General Activity Index -6.3.

The reports also include highlights. These can be somewhat lengthy, so I'll only include the first paragraph of this report, as an example. Use the links provided above to read Econoday's comments on each report. 
Texas manufacturing activity bounced back but not as much expected in July, with the general business activity index rebounding by 5.8 points from June's three-year low though remaining in contraction at minus 6.3. The production index also improved slightly, rising 0.4 points to 9.3, indicating factory output growth at roughly the same pace as in June.
Tuesday, July 30

Personal Income and Outlays: Consumer Spending M/M change 0.3% (this report also includes personal income and PCE price indexes).

S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI: M/M change of 0.1% (the numbers in this report indicate home prices)

Consumer Confidence: 135.7 (up from 131.5)

Pending Home Sales Index: 2.8% from 1.1%

Wednesday, July 31

ADP Employment Report: 156,000 (consensus 155,000)

MBA Mortgage Applications: -1.4%

State Street Investor Confidence Index (these are institutional investors, not the little guys like me): 84.9 down from 87.6.

EIA Petroleum Status Report: -8.5 million barrels

FMOC Meeting Announcement: Lowered Fed Funds Rate by 25 basis points (2.00 to 2.25%)

Thursday, Aug 1

Jobless Claims: 215,000 up from 206,000

PMI Manufacturing Index: 50.4, down from 50.6

ISM Manufacturing Index: 51.2, down from 51.7

EIA Natural Gas Report: NG storage rose 65 billion cubic feet, up from 36 billion the previous week.

Friday, Aug 2

Employment Situation: Nonfarm Payrolls 164,000 down from June's 193,000 (there are lots of numbers in this report)

Consumer Sentiment: 98.4, no change.

Factory Orders: 0.6%

Baker-Hughes Rig Count: 1079, up from 1073

Each report includes commentary on highlights of the numbers presented, as well as a definition of where the numbers come from. 

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