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Real GDP growth for Q1 2016 was revised up to 0.8% from 0.5%. Additional data showed that the decrease in business investment, previously estimated at 3.5%, was smaller than forecasted, now revised to 2.6%. The trade deficit was narrower than previously thought with exports only falling 2% from the 2.6% earlier projected. Growth in consumer and government spending was maintained at 1.9% and 1.2% respectively.
New-home sales for April were extraordinary, coming in at 619,000, the highest since January 2008. Sales varied significantly by region. The Northeast, South, and West saw an increases of 50%, 15.8%, and 23.6% respectively while the Midwest declined 4.8%. The supply of new homes has not kept pace with sales. Despite the unusual reading, sequential changes in new-home sales have historically been volatile. Therefore, while the reading is noteworthy, inferring a trend requires more months of data.
Corporate profits dropped 3.6% in the first quarter YoY. However, profits rose a modest 1.9% from the fourth quarter. Financial corporations saw a decline of $2 billion in profits, whereas it was a decline of $24 billion in the fourth quarter. Non-financials saw an increase of $45.7 billion following a $129.2 billion decline last quarter. Corporate profits are after-tax profits and do not include inventory valuation or capital consumption adjustments.
Durable goods orders for April were mixed. Orders exceeded expectations with a monthly gain of 3.4%, owing largely to vehicle and commercial-aircraft orders. Other positive factors included a increase in shipments and improvement in the inventory-to-shipments ratio. However, business investment was a concern as orders of core capital goods declined 0.8% and have declined in the last 5 out of 6 reports.
On Tuesday’s news of an 8-year high in new-home sales, residential-construction companies rose 1.9%. Mohawk Industries (MHK) jumped 2.3%, Lennar (LEN) increased 3.9%, and D.R. Horton (DHI) rocked 4.2%. Home improvement stores and home furnishing manufacturers showed strong gains as well. Whirlpool (WHR) increased 4.4% and Home Depot (HD) increased 1.5%.
Netflix (NFLX) announced a deal with Disney (DIS) to the exclusive rights of new movies from Disney, Marvel, LucasFilm, and Pixar beginning in September. Netflix shares rose 3.2% on the news. The deal puts pressure on rival pay-TV and streaming services such as HBO, Starz, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
HP Enterprise (HPE) announced a future sale of its business service unit to Computer Sciences (CSC). Investors sent the stock up 6.8% on the news. HP Enterprise is expected to concentrate on selling hardware for servers, storage, and networking as well as specialized software.
Alibaba (BABA) stated that US regulators have placed the company under an investigation of its accounting practices. The investigation includes an examination of logistics company Cainiao Network of which Alibaba owns a large stake. The stock was hammered, closing down 6.7%.
Tuesday May 31 — Personal Income and Outlays (a gauge of the consumer sector)
Wednesday June 1 — ISM Manufacturing Index (a gauge of the manufacturing sector)
Friday, June 3 — Employment Situation (a report on the state of the labor market)