Consumer Confidence Fell Sharply in February
The Conference Board reported that consumer sentiment declined in February from a revised 103.8 in January to 96.4 last month. January's increase was a significant one and the highest point for this measure since August 2007. February's easing brings the data back to a more consistent trend line. Still, the pullback in February was larger than expected and it suggests that the American public remains more anxious than desired. To read more, visit here.
Chinese Manufacturing Improves Slightly in February
The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI reported a marginal expansion in February, improving slightly after contracting for two straight months. New orders and output grew slowly, while the pace of sales fell a bit. New export orders and employment declined on net, while export sales deteriorated to their lowest levels since August 2013. The Chinese economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014 as a whole, reflecting decelerating growth that could continue to slow further in 2015. To read more, visit here.
Strong Aircraft Orders Assist New Durable Goods Orders Rebound in January
In its strongest increase in six months, new durable goods orders rose 2.8 percent in January, according to the Census Bureau. With demand off in four of the past five months likely due to the sluggish global economic environment, this increase is a welcome rebound from the 3.7 percent decline observed in December. Strong transportation equipment orders assisted the rebound with an increase of 9.1 percent for nondefense aircraft in January. To read more, visit here.
FCC Votes in Favor of Net Neutrality
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed Net Neutrality rules that allow it to prohibit Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from giving faster Internet access to companies who pay for the privilege. The new rules fall into the same category as utility companies, granting equal access to service for all customers. The FCC received more than 4 million public comments over the past year regarding the Net Neutrality debate. To read more, visit here.