AROUND THE STREET September 24, 2009, 12:34PM EST
Market professionals chime in on August existing-home sales, the latest in unemployment claims,
when to expect the eventual rate hike, and more
By BusinessWeek staff
What did experts have to say on Sept. 24 about developments in the economy and markets? BusinessWeek compiled
comments from Wall Street strategists and economists.
Michael Englund, Action Economics
The U.S. existing-home sales report revealed a surprising 2.7% August drop to just a 5.100 million [annual] rate, from
an unrevised 5.240 million rate in July, though the sales pace still lies well above the 4.490 million January trough. The
sales rate also remains above the 4.86-5.06 million range that once appeared to be the "floor" over the 13 months
ending in October—before the accelerated collapse in global financial markets ratcheted the housing data to new
We expect an ongoing uptrend in these figures beyond August, given the upward trajectory for pending home sales,
[reported mortgage] loans, [housing] starts, and the continued impact of the first-time home buyer's credit.
David Wyss, Standard & Poor's
Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 21,000 in the week ending Sept. 19 to 530,000. The consensus estimate
was 546,000. Note, however, that the previous week was revised upward by 11,000. The number of people receiving
benefits fell 123,000 in the week ending Sept. 12 to 6,138,000, lowering the insured unemployment rate 0.1 to 4.6%.
The data are better than expected, as layoffs gradually slow from their summer peak. However, layoffs remain high by
Julian Callow, Barclays Capital
In an article in today's Financial Times, "Fed watcher" K. Guha wrote that "most policymakers presently anticipate that
the first rate hike will not come before the second half of 2010." This fits in with our view that the Fed will commence
tightening with a 25-basis-point hike [in the Fed funds rate target] in the third quarter of 2010. The article also
observes the Fed, which wants to estab