At the end of every week, Barry over the the Big Picture posts a "succinct summation of the weeks' events." Consider these points from last week:
2. Dow Jones Industrial Average made new 52 week highs for 6th week in a row.
3. U.S ISM Manufacturing index climbed to 54.2 from 53.1 in January.
4. Initial jobless claims better than expected (344k vs 360k)
5. Ford posts best February sales since 2006
6. Chicago PMI jumps to 56.8 11 month high
7. Orders for durable goods rose 1.9% (Ex-transport), increasing for 5th consecutive month.
8. New Home sales surge 15.6%
9. Home Depot’s profit jumped 32%, proxy for housing recovery.
10. Case Shiller Home Prices climbed 6.8% v one year ago and 0.88% from a month ago. Largest year over year gain since 2006.
11. Pending home sales up 4.5% to the highest levels since April 2010
12. Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment
climbed to 77.6 from 73.8 in January. Consumer Confidence jumps to 69.6
Stocks are at new highs, manufacturing is rebounding, autos sales are doing well, durable goods orders increased and the housing sector is healing. The sum total of all these events is very positive and indicates the underlying economy wants to shift into a higher gear.
And then comes the effects of the sequester, also from Barry's summation post:
7. The sequestration has arrived, an estimated 750,000 jobs will be lost.
Politico had a good summation of the first few rounds of effects, and they aren't good. Here are some high points from the story:
Sequestration officially starts Friday
— most likely at 11:59 p.m., though Obama could act sooner — when the
Office of Management and Budget issues a notice ordering agencies to
make cuts of about 9 percent for most nondefense programs and about 13
percent for defense programs.
Programs that dole out funding as an intermediary — like public rent
assistance, farm loans and food programs — will see immediate cuts. The
same goes for the Farm Service Agency’s loans, particularly those for
small, family-owned farms, which face a cut of $5.4 million, resulting
in 890 fewer direct farm aid loans.