The release of the latest FOMC meeting minutes showed that a majority of Fed officials are almost ready to hike rates for the first time in nine years: “Most participants anticipated that, based on their assessment of the current economic situation and their outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, these conditions could well be met by the time of the next meeting. Nonetheless, they emphasized that the actual decision would depend on the implications for the medium-term economic outlook of the data received over the upcoming intermeeting period.”
Industrial production slipped .2% in October, dragged down by declines in utility and mining output. On the upside, manufacturing output advanced .4% after falling for two straight months.
Home builders slowed construction as housing starts dropped 11% to an annual pace of 1.06 million – the lowest level since March. On a positive note, permits to build new homes rebounded 4.1% to a rate of 1.15 million.
Builder confidence declined in November, as the NAHB housing market index fell to 62, with measures of current sales conditions and sales expectations both declining. On the upside, buyer traffic increased. The NAHB noted “the November report is pullback from an unusually high October, and is more in line with the consistent, modest growth that we have seen throughout the year. A firming economy, continued job creation and affordable mortgage rates should keep housing on an upward trajectory as we approach 2016.”
Consumer prices increased in October for the first time in three months, rising .2%, boosted by energy costs.