President Barack Obama talks with advisor Karen Dunn aboard Marine One en route from Camp David to Joint Base Andrews, Md., Oct. 22, 2012. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is seen in the background. (Pete Souza)
‘Stock market’s performance under President Obama ranks fifth among all Presidents since 1900′
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk in the Green Room of the White House before hosting a Smithsonian Museum of African American History reception in the East Room, Feb. 22, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama listens during the groundbreaking ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, February 22
LA Times: Sales of previously owned homes rose 4.3% in January and inventories fell to nearly seven-year lows as lower prices, unusually warm weather and an improving economy lifted demand.
….. January sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million …. Sales rose in all four major regions, including an 8.8% pop in the West.
Job creation, mild weather, rising rents and increased household formation contributed to the sales gains, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors group. “Things are genuinely improving,” Yun said.
Marketwatch: New applications for U.S. jobless benefits fell by 20,000 to 368,000 in the week of Feb. 26, the lowest level in nearly three years, the Labor Department reported Thursday.The last time claims were that low was in May 2008.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected first-time jobless claims to rise to a seasonally adjusted 398,000 from last week’s revised level of 388,000.
….The four-week average is considered a more accurate gauge of employment trends because it lessens week-to-week volatility in the data. The decline in claims, which have fallen 27% since last August, appears to be consistent with a modest pace or hiring and fewer layoffs.
Continuing claims, meanwhile, declined by 59,000 to 3.77 million in the week of Feb. 19. About 9.24 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week of Feb. 12, up 74,000 from the week before.
Washington Post: Stocks jumped Thursday after a government report showed that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits dropped unexpectedly last week. Retailers also reported solid February sales.
The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to 368,000. That’s the lowest level for claims since May 2008. Economists had expected them to rise.
Ritholtz.com: No politics or partisanship here, “just the facts ma’am”. The stock market, as measured by the S&P500 (a capitalization-weighted index, published since 1957, of the prices of 500 large common stocks actively traded in the United States) is up just about 50 percent since President Obama’s inauguration …. only Eisenhower comes close, but not even in the same zip code. A 50 percent stock move does a lot “spreading the wealth around” and Joe the Plumber’s pension is in much better shape today than it was in November 2008.
Washington Monthly: For about the first two months after President Obama was inaugurated …. Wall Street indexes were dropping sharply … conservatives said the declines were evidence that the White House’s economic policies were a mess, if not an outright failure, and that the president didn’t know what he was doing.
…..The drop in the Dow, the Wall Street Journal insisted, was a direct result of investors evaluating “Mr Obama’s agenda and his approach to governance”. Karl Rove and Lou Dobbs made the same case. So did Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, John Boehner, Mitt Romney…..
That was nearly two years ago, and wouldn’t you know it, they’re not saying that anymore.
….a chart like this one (see above) comes with all kinds of caveats … the value of a stock market index is hardly the best metric for measuring the strength of the economy …. and it’s easier to generate major gains like these when one starts from a very low point – and after eight years of disastrous Republican policies, Bush bequeathed an economy in shambles.
That said, there are some relevant angles to results like these, too. For example, it’s hard not to notice that the right seems awfully selective about when Wall Street indexes count – when the markets are down, Obama deserves the blame; when the markets are up; Obama doesn’t deserve the credit. It’s funny how that works. It’s also tough for unhinged conservatives to continue to insist that the White House is comprised of radical socialists, intent on destroying private enterprise, when major indexes have soared under Obama’s watch.