News In Brief

Data Points

Paddy Hirsch Sep 1, 2011

Mortgage rates are scraping along near historic lows, Freddie Mac says in its latest survey of what lenders are offering to well-qualified borrowers. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.22% early this week, the same as the week before, and just above the 4.15% record low reached two weeks ago. (via LAT)

The Institute of Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index came in at 50.6 for August, much better than economists were expecting. Readings above 50 indicate manufacturing is expanding, but the WSJ reports the number is down from last month, increasing concerns about a stalling global economy.

Retail sales look resilient. Target Corp., Limited Brands Inc., and teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. posted sales gains that beat Wall Street expectations. But there were several stragglers. Gap Inc., which has been struggling with a sales malaise, posted a bigger-than-expected drop. Kohl’s Corp., and J.C. Penney Co. reported unexpected declines. (via LAT)

Jobless claims fell by 12 to 409,000 in the week ended Aug.27, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a drop to 410,000, according to the median forecast.

U.K. manufacturing shrank the most in more than two years in August as demand from domestic and overseas customers weakened. (via Bloomberg)

A series of dismal PMI readings in Europe. Greece hit a six-month low of 43.3–remember, anything under 50 shows contraction. German PMI fell to 50.9. France fell to 49.1. Italy fell to 47. Spain contracted severely at 45.3. (via Clusterstock)

Manchester United has reduced its net debt by nearly £70m ($112m) on the back of record full-year revenue ahead of the football club’s expected $1bn initial public offering in Singapore. (via FT)

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