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Ford Motor Company (F), General Motors Company (GM): The Economic Data That Moved the Markets This Past Week

Despite the holiday-shortened trading week, investors were bombarded with economic data points that offered plenty of insight into the health of the U.S. economy. And most of the data was positive, leading investors to bid stocks higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rose 226 points, or 1.51%, and of its 30 components, only five ended the week in the red. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 1.59%, while the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) increased by 2.23%. Let’s dive into the week’s economic data.

On Monday, the Commerce Department reported that construction spending in May increased by 0.5% and hit an annual rate of $874.9 billion, the highest level in nearly four years. A big part of the boost came from a housing market that by most indications is really heating up. But, while we’ve been getting good news on home sales and construction starts, rising interest rates bear watching, as they could derail this train before it gets up to full speed.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)

On Tuesday we got June’s auto-sales numbers from Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), which both saw sales increase 13% and 6.5%, respectively. These reports were bolstered by a solid U.S. factory order report, which indicated that factory orders in May increased by 2.1%, up from an upward-revised 1.3% increase in April. Many economists look at this report to tell us how manufacturing in the U.S. is doing and what they can expect from the big industrial companies in the coming months. And I think analysts and economists will be raising forecasts after this report.

On Wednesday, investors got both the ADP private-sector jobs report and the United States’ International Trade report. The ADP jobs number was expected to come in at 160,000 but managed to reach 188,000 for the month of June. That was a welcomed surprise on the half-day of trading leading into the Fourth of July holiday on Thursday.

On the other hand, we learned that the U.S. trade deficit in May grew by more than the expected $40.1 billion to more than $45 billion. This report could mean that the U.S. is strengthening as consumers and businesses are buying more goods, but it could also mean that other nations around the world are weakening, causing them to buy less of what we have to offer. We already know China is slowing and Europe is a mess, and it’s a little scary to consider that the rest of the world may not be all that healthy.

The markets were closed on Thursday. The only thing being released around my house was a lot of fireworks.

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