economist of the Conference Board, a New
York-based private research firm.
Its survey of 10 economic health checks, such as
joblessness and hours worked in factories, did not register any
improvement in June from May.
This amounts to a slowdown from May, when the board's
index of leading economic indicators rose 0.6% on the previous month.
"Only consumption growth has been a consistent
growth force during the first half of the year," said Mr Goldstein.
"As if there were not enough to slow down
economic growth, the financial markets continue to be pounded by a
relentless barrage of news about questionable corporate practices."
Five of the survey's 10 components saw improvement in
June. These were money supply, weekly jobless claims and weekly
But stock prices and consumer expectations fell in
June, while manufacturers' orders of consumer goods remained unchanged.
Consumers account for two-thirds of the US economy,
and their confidence is vital for the prospects of future economic
Not only did consumer confidence fall in June, but
other researchers have found signs of a slowdown in spending.
But the latest official figures gave a more hopeful
picture on joblessness, showing new claims for unemployment benefit had
fallen sharply during the week.
The US Labor Department said new claims hit their
lowest level in 17 months in the week to 13 July, falling by a
seasonally adjusted 28,000 to 379,000.
EXPORTERS LEAD UK FACTORY REVIVAL
The manufacturing sector is continuing to show signs
of recovery, a detailed survey of UK firms has said.
Manufacturers have seen "considerable
gains" in export sales and orders over the past three months, the
latest quarterly survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)
The findings echoed an official report last week
showing that manufacturing output had risen for the second month in a
But the BCC said that although the outlook was
getting better, companies were continuing to cut jobs.
The manufacturing sector is emerging from a year-long
recession, having been battered by the global economic downturn and the
strength of the pound against the euro.
But the BCC's survey — which covers more than 7,000
firms — showed that exports were beginning to pick up.
The survey found the balance of manufacturers
reporting higher export sales over those reporting lower sales climbed
to plus 7%, compared with plus 1% during the first three months of the
Exports orders also picked up, with the balance
figure rising to plus 5%, from plus 1% in the first quarter.
But the domestic situation worsened slightly, with
sales and order data slipping back.
The BCC also found that manufacturers were continuing
to cut jobs, although at a slower pace than in the first quarter.
"The manufacturing recovery is not yet assured,
although it appears to have strengthened somewhat since last
quarter," said David Frost, the BCC's acting director general.
"However, employers are continuing to lay off
staff and we must remain cautious until the pick up in recovery filters
through into employment prospects.
"With the global picture still unclear,
inflation at a 27-year low and with the stock market threatening to
hamper economic prospects, there is no need for the Bank of England to
be even contemplating raising interest rates in the short-term."
HOPE THE WORST IS OVER
around the world have steadied, amid mounting hopes that two months of
sharp declines may be over.
Japan's Nikkei share index was up almost 2% in
trading, leading Asia higher, after Wall Street stocks closed up on
US shares had surged at one point, but the froth came
off by the end of the day — a sign that the mood is still uncertain.
Now, all eyes are on the long list of US corporate
results due later in the day.
YEN'S RISE SPELLS TROUBLE FOR JAPAN
Japan's currency is strengthening inexorably against
the dollar, sparking worries that the rise could stamp out any sparks of
recovery from the country's decade-long downturn.
Since the beginning of 2002, the yen has gone up
almost 15%, rising from about 135 yen to the US dollar to less than 116
The relentless appreciation to a 17-month high comes
despite concerted action from the Bank of Japan, which has got its
colleagues in Europe and the US to join it in selling yen and buying
dollars to stem the tide.
FORMER COLONIES SEEK AID FROM EUROPE
Leaders of former European colonies are asking the
European Union for aid to protect them from free trade.
Members of the 78-nation strong African, Caribbean
and Pacific group (ACP) are meeting in Fiji to discuss what should
replace the preferential trade agreements signed with their former
These agreements, worth more than $13bn, have
provided protection for products such as sugar, bananas and coffee, and
allowed duty free access to EU markets for other exports from the ACP.
WTO RULING AGAINST US DUMPING LAW
The World Trade Organization has issued an interim
ruling against the United States over an anti-dumping law giving US
firms cash from punitive duties applied on foreign companies, Canada
said on Wednesday.
Canadian International Trade Minister Pierre
Pettigrew said he was "very pleased" by the ruling against the
so-called Byrd Amendment which he said encouraged US firms to seek
damages from foreign companies.
Canada was one of several countries to challenge the
amendment, which allowed the US Customs Service to distribute revenues
from anti-dumping and countervailing duties to those US firms that
originally filed for import protection.
MOROCCO TAKES ISLAND DISPUTE TO EUROPE
Morocco's foreign minister is to travel to Europe
later on Friday to discuss his country's dispute with Spain over the
tiny island of Perejil.
Mohamed Benessai will hold talks in Paris and with
the European Union in Brussels on the row, which was sparked last week
when Moroccan soldiers occupied the island.
MICROSOFT PROFITS SOAR
Microsoft reported net profits of $1.5bn (£900m), up
from $65m a year earlier. Sales jumped 10% to $7.25bn in the same three
months of last year.
OPTIMISTIC EBAY'S PROFITS DOUBLE
EBay reported net income profits of $54.3m (£34.5m)
for the three months to end-June, more than double what it earned a year
before, and was one of the few firms reporting on Thursday to be
DAIMLERCHRYSLER PROFITS PICK UP SPEED
DaimlerChrysler turned the corner in the first three
months of the year, and has now helped push DaimlerChrysler into a 1.1bn
euro (£705m; $1.1bn) profit for the second quarter, up by more than
one-third year on year.
HSBC MULLS BID FOR MEXICAN BANK
Banking giant HSBC has said it is considering a bid
for Mexico's largest retail banking group, Grupo Financiero Bital.
Analysts see GF Bital as one of two Mexican banking
firms which could be bought by a foreign investors.
With almost 6 million customers, GF Bital has the
largest customer base of any Mexican bank group and boasts 1,380
PRESCOTT UNVEILS £1BN HOUSING PLAN
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has set out
details of a huge expansion in house building in the south-east of
The plans could lead to 200,000 new homes being built
in the region over the next five to 10 years, with thousands of
subsidised properties for key workers such as nurses and teachers.
But Mr Prescott has abandoned plans to reduce local
people's input into big infrastructure projects such as Heathrow
WANADOO BUYS SPANISH ISP
Wanadoo has bought a Spanish internet service
provider (ISP) in a deal it says will make the merged group into the
biggest ISP in Europe.
French firm Wanadoo said it is to buy Spanish firm
eresMas for 255m euros ($257m; £163m) in shares.
ACCOUNTING GIANT FINED $5M
Accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers has been
fined $5m by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for
improper auditing and violating standards of independence.
COKE PROFITS KEEP THEIR FIZZ
Soft drinks giant Coca Cola said on Wednesday that
profits for the April to June period came in at $1.29bn (£774m), up 15%
on the same period last year. Sales were also up 15% on the year at
UK JOBLESS RATE SHOWS SURPRISE RISE
UK unemployment has shown a surprise rise, as factory
lay-offs saw the manufacturing workforce decline to a record low.
The number of Britons claiming unemployment benefit
rose 1,300 in June to 952,400.
FORD EDGES BACK INTO PROFIT
Auto giant Ford reported a net profit of $570m
(£364m) in the three months to June, after losing $752m in the same
period last year, the respite looks set to be shortlived.
PROFITS RISE AT CADBURY
Profits at Cadbury Schweppes rose 10% to £386m in
the first half of this year.
UK RATE DECISION OPPOSED BY ONE
The men and women who set interest rates in the UK
earlier this month voted overwhelmingly in favour of leaving interest
rates unchanged at 4%, minutes of the rate decision meeting show.
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted
eight to one in favour of the no-change decision, its eight in as many
HEADS FOR EARLY ELECTION
Leaders of the three parties in Turkey's coalition
government have opted for early elections on 3 November in an attempt to
end the country's political crisis.
The decision came after the government lost its
majority in parliament, following mass defections from the party of
ailing Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.
In the last two weeks, 59 deputies have left his
Democratic Left Party (DSP), leaving the coalition government with 275
seats in the 550-seat parliament.
US MULLS LESS DEPENDENCE ON GULF OIL
The United States is actively pursuing a new energy
security policy, so as to considerably lower its dependence on the oil
rich states of the Gulf and diversify significantly its energy sources.
In order to overcome the psychological issue of
energy security the US is hoping to double its oil imports from Nigeria
— from the current 900,000 barrels a day to around 1.8 million barrels
per day in the next five years, says Dr. Paul Michael Wihbey, a fellow
of the American Institute of Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.
Dr. Wihbey, a member of the African Oil Policy Initiative Group (AOPIG),
said this while presenting his paper last week in Lagos, Nigeria,
emphasizing the US needs to diversify its oil and energy sources.