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WeeklyEconomicFinancialCommentary_04292011

WeeklyEconomicFinancialCommentary_04292011

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 April 29, 2011
 Economics Group
 Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary 
 
U.S. Review 
Economic Recovery Proceeds at a Moderate Pace
 
 After much anticipation, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke atlast held his press conference with select print journalists this week. As expected, the mostly preparedremarks contained no new information, but did providemore clarity on the Fed’s economic outlook, inflation andinflation expectations and the expiration of the large-scale asset program, commonly known as QE2.
 
U.S. real GDP grew at only a 1.8 percent rate in the firstquarter, which was exactly in line with our conservativeforecast, but well below the previous quarter’s solid gain.
Real GDP
Bars = Compound Annual Rate Line = Yr/Yr % Change-8%-6%-4%-2%0%2%4%6%8%10%96979899000102030405060708091011-8%-6%-4%-2%0%2%4%6%8%10%Real GDP: Q1 @ 1.8%Real GDP: Q1 @ 2.3%
 
Global Review 
Royal Wedding Aside, Britons Are Gloomy 
 
British GDP grew at an annualized rate of 2.0 percent inthe first quarter, reversing the decline in the previousquarter. In general, however, the pace of the recovery remains sluggish. In our view, growth in consumerspending will likely remain lackluster over the next few quarters.
 
 Although inflation at present is well above the Bank of England’s target, we expect policy rates to remainunchanged over the next few months. Most policymakers believe that the sluggish pace of recovery will causeinflation to recede in coming months.
U.K. Real GDP
Bars = Compound Annual Rate Line = Yr/Yr % Change-12%-10%-8%-6%-4%-2%0%2%4%6%200020022004200620082010-12%-10%-8%-6%-4%-2%0%2%4%6%Compound Annual Growth: Q1 @ 2.0%Year-over-Year Percent Change: Q1 @ 1.8%
 
 Wells Fargo U.S. Economic Forecast
Forecast2010 2011 2008 2009 2010 2011 20121Q 2Q 3Q 4Q 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q
Real Gross Domestic Product
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3.71.72.63.11.82.32.32.60.0-2.62.92.32.7Personal Consumption1.92.22.44.02.72.31.82.6-0.3-1.21.72.62.2Inflation Indicators
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"Core" PCE Deflator1.81.51.20.80.91.01.31.72.31.51.31.21.8Consumer Price Index2.41.81.21.22.23.43.73.93.8-0.31.63.33.3Industrial Production
1
8.17.16.73.26.04.44.13.9-3.3-11.15.35.04.0Corporate Profits Before Taxes
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37.637.026.418.38.26.26.26.7-16.4-0.429.26.87.0Trade Weighted Dollar Index
3
76.178.873.673.270.671.072.073.074.377.775.671.675.5Unemployment Rate9.79.69.69.68.98.78.58.45.89.39.68.68.2Housing Starts
4
0.620.600.590.530.560.580.640.700.900.550.590.620.83Quarter-End Interest Rates
5
Federal Funds Target Rate0.250.250.250.250.250.250.250.251.880.250.250.251.19Conventional Mortgage Rate4.974.744.354.714.845.205.255.306.045.044.695.155.7010 Year Note3.842.972.533.303.473.703.753.803.663.263.223.684.23
Forecast as of: April 29, 2011
1
Compound Annual Growth Rate Quarter-over-Quarter
2
Year-over-Year Percentage Change
3
Federal Reserve Major Currency Index, 1973=100 - Quarter End
4
Millions of Units
5
Annual Numbers Represent Averages
ActualForecastActual
 
Inside
U.S. Review 2U.S. Outlook 3Global Review 4Global Outlook 5Point of View 6Topic of the Week 7Market Data 8
 
Economics Group U.S. Review Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
U.S. Review 
Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
Trillions$0.0$0.5$1.0$1.5$2.0$2.5$3.020072008200920102011$0.0$0.5$1.0$1.5$2.0$2.5
Other: Apr @ $206.8BForeign Swaps: Apr @ $0.0BRepos & Discount Window: Apr @ $0.0BAgencies & MBS: Apr @ $1,058.4BTreasuries: Apr @ $1,406.6B
 
Real Domestic Final Sales
Bars = Compound Annual Rate Line = Yr/Yr % Change-6%-4%-2%0%2%4%6%8%96979899000102030405060708091011-6%-4%-2%0%2%4%6%8%Final Sales: Q1 @ 0.8%Final Sales: Q1 @ 2.3%
 
Fed Conference Reveals Nothing New Under the Sun
 After much anticipation, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at last heldhis press conference with select journalists this week. Asexpected, the mostly prepared remarks contained no new information. Some of the more telling aspects of the conference,however, helped provide greater insight into the Fed’s economicoutlook, inflation and inflation expectations and the expiration of the large-scale asset program, commonly known as QE2.There were five key takeaways from the conference 1) the Feddowngraded its economic growth projections for 2011 to a centraltendency range of 3.1 to 3.3 percent from 3.4 to 3.9 percent 2) theslowdown in first quarter economic growth is likely due to“transitory” factors such as lower defense spending, weakerexports and weather 3) he defined the “extended period”language as a “couple of meetings,” which is much shorter thanthe assumed six months 4) he confirmed that QE2 would end inJune and reinvestment of maturing securities would continuefollowing the expiration. He also argued that ending QE2 isunlikely to have a significant impact on financial markets becausethe “stock” of the Fed’s holdings is more important than the“flow” of purchases 5) the Fed also raised its headline and coreinflation forecasts in 2011 and Chairman Bernanke acknowledgedthat while near-term inflation expectations have picked up,medium-term expectations have not moved very much. We have consistently had one of the lower economic growthforecasts for the year and continue to expect real GDP to grow 2.4 percent in 2011 and 2.8 percent in 2012. We agree that muchof the pullback in real GDP in the first half of the year will likely  be due to temporary factors, which should pick up in the secondhalf of the year. We also believe that inflation is expected to runslightly higher, with overall CPI rising 3.3 percent this year andcore CPI rising 1.4 percent. Despite growing worries aboutinflation, we expect the first rate hike to occur in early 2012.That said, economic growth figures released this week wereexactly in line with our conservative forecast. U.S. real GDP grew at only a 1.8 percent rate in the first quarter, which was well below the previous quarter’s solid gain. The gains in businessinvestment and inventories were not enough to offset declines ingovernment spending and construction outlays. Consumerspending pulled back in the first quarter to a 2.7 percent pace ashouseholds continue to grapple with rising food and energy prices, which have taken a toll on purchasing power. Real finalsales, which exclude net trade and inventories, grew at only a0.8 percent, which continues to suggest tepid economic growth.Looking ahead, initial jobless claims figures were also releasedthis week and continue to be one the most important forwardlooking indicators for the labor market. Initial claims rose to429,000 in the week ending April 23, the highest level sinceJanuary and the third consecutive weekly increase. The closely  watched four-week moving average also inched higher and is now at 406,500. While the Labor Department attributes the increaseto technical factors such as the Easter holiday, claims may besignaling slower job growth in the coming months.
Initial Claims for Unemployment
Seasonally Adjusted, In Thousands25030035040045050055060065070086889092949698000204060810250300350400450500550600650700Year-over-Year Percent Change: Apr-23 @ -6.1%Initial Claims: Apr-23 @ 429.0 Thousand4-Week Moving Average: Apr-23 @ 408.5 Thousand52-Week Moving Average: Apr-23 @ 438.5 Thousand
 
2
 
Economics Group U.S. Outlook Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
ISM Manufacturing • Monday 
The ISM Manufacturing Index dipped slightly to 61.2 in Marchfrom 61.4 in February. The production index improved while thenew orders index showed slightly slower expansion compared toFebruary. The employment index also declined slightly butremained solidly in expansion territory. The supplier delivery index jumped to 63.4, the second-highest level in nearly seven years,indicating delivery times slowed as demand picked up. The pricespaid index rose to the highest since July 2008 as prices for oil andother commodities continued to rise. A noticeable decline in theorder backlog index in March suggests we may see a bit of apullback in the headline index for April. The stark slowdown in thePhiladelphia Fed Index for April may also portend a lower ISMreading for April. On the other hand, the rise in the EmpireManufacturing Index for April gives us hope for a stronger ISMprint.
Previous: 61.2 Wells Fargo: 59.4Consensus: 60.2
ISM Manufacturing Composite Index
Diffusion Index3035404550556065878991939597990103050709113035404550556065ISM Manufacturing Index: Mar @ 61.212-Month Moving Average: Mar @ 57.9
 
Factory Orders • Tuesday 
Initial estimates showed factory orders declined 0.1 percent inFebruary. Excluding transportation equipment, orders rose just0.1 percent, the weakest since October. Capital goods orders werepreviously reported as having fallen 0.8 percent, dragged down by a24.3 percent drop in defense orders. However, revisions in theMarch durable goods report released on April 27 showed capitalgoods actually rose 1.0 percent in February. Similarly, non-defensecapital goods excluding aircraft were reported to have declined0.7 percent in February, but this was revised to a 0.5 percentincrease. These upward revisions in February orders data, along with a strong 2.5 percent increase in durable goods orders inMarch, suggest overall factory orders in March rose at a healthy pace, and February’s decline will likely be revised to show anincrease. In addition, non-durable orders likely strengthened inMarch as well due to rising prices for food and commodities.
Non-Defense Capital Goods Orders, Ex-Aircraft
Series are 3 Month Moving Averages-50%-40%-30%-20%-10%0%10%20%30%40%93959799010305070911-50%-40%-30%-20%-10%0%10%20%30%40%3 Month Annual Rate: Feb @ 3.2%Year/Year Percent Change: Feb @ 14.9%
 
Previous: -0.1% Wells Fargo: 2.0%Consensus: 1.5% (Month-over-Month)
 April Employment Report • Friday 
The economy added 216,000 jobs in March, led by strength inprofessional/business services, education/health andleisure/hospitality. The unemployment rate dipped to 8.8 percentas household employment rose by 291,000 while the labor forceexpanded by 160,000. Although the number of unemployed hasdeclined by 1 million since November, hourly earnings growthremains anemic, having been flat in four of the past five months.High gas prices may have put a damper on consumer spending in April. As such, employment growth in retail and leisure/hospitality may have slowed. Government employment likely declined furtherin April as state and local governments continue to grapple with budget deficits. In contrast, continued strength in manufacturingsuggests manufacturing job growth remained strong. Overall, weexpect that job growth slowed in April and that the unemploymentrate was little changed.
Previous: 216K Wells Fargo: 190K Consensus: 190K 
Nonfarm Employment Change
Change in Employment, In Thousands-1000-800-600-400-2000200400600200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011-1000-800-600-400-2000200400600Nonfarm Employment Change: Mar @ 216,000
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