As a large ship moved through the water, a helicopter overhead spotted an unidentified boat approaching and sent a warning to a small fleet of escort boats. Some were armed with loudspeakers, others with flashing lights, another with a .50 caliber machine gun.
Once the fleet zeroed in on the threatening vessel with radar and infrared sensors, some of the escort boats broke away and quickly encircled it. They flashed lights and blasted warnings through loudspeakers. Threat resolved.
All of the escort boats were unmanned—and yet they moved together as a group, thanks to what’s known as “swarm intelligence.”
Privately-owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million. This is 6.3% above the revised August estimate of 957k, and is 17.8% above the September 2013 rate of 863k.
Single-family starts increased to an annual rate of 646k from 639k and multi-unit starts increased to 3371k from 318k.
While rising rates do translate into higher borrowing costs and often higher capitalization rates, which can lead to lower asset values, the notion that rising rates are categorically bad for real estate equities is somewhat overstated, and often incorrect. Rising rates tied to an improving economy, which is what we are seeing today in the U.S., can actually provide a constructive backdrop for the asset class. An improving economy typically means landlords benefit from better operating fundamentals – lower vacancy rates, higher lease rates and better acquisition/development yields.
There are numerous past periods when rates rose on the back of an improving economy and real estate performed well. In fact, during the five periods of rate increases since 2000, the MSCI U.S. REIT Index averaged a 1.2% return over the three months following the initial rate increase and a 14.7% return over the ensuing 12 months (outpacing the S&P 500 Index by more than 200 basis points).
U.S. industrial production increased 1.0% in September after having decreased 0.2% in August. At 105.1% of its 2007 average, total industrial production in September was 4.3% above its level of a year earlier.
The output of manufacturing increased 0.5% in September, production at mines increased 1.8%, and output of utilities rose 3.9%.
Capacity utilization for total industry decreased in September to 79.3%. That is 0.8% below its long-run (1972–2013) average.
Initial jobless claims for the week ending October 11 were a seasonally adjusted 264k, down from the prior week’s revised reading of 287k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 272k.
Individual states that had changes in claims of more than 1k (not seasonally adjusted):
The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims was 284k.
The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.389 million, up from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.382 million.
The insured unemployment rate, which is the number of unemployment insurance recipients as a share of covered employment, was 1.80%, unchanged from the week prior.
90.54% of all U.S. jobs are covered by state unemployment insurance programs.
Of the 9.262 million Americans currently unemployed, 25.79% receive unemployment insurance.
Receipts for the month totaled $351.7 billion, up from $301.4 billion a year earlier. Total outlays were $245.9 billion from $226.43 billion a year earlier.
The rolling 12-month U.S. government budget deficit through September was $484.4 billion, an improvement from $515.1 billion in August. The rolling 12-month budget balance as a percentage of gross domestic product is -2.80%.
The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for August, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1.353 trillion. That is down 0.4% from July and up 4.4% from a year ago.
Manufacturers’ and trade inventories were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1.752 trillion. That is up 0.2% from July and up 5.6% from a year ago.
The total business inventories-to-sales ratio at the end of August was 1.295, up from 1.287 in July. The August 2013 ratio was 1.280.