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Economy in U.S. Expanded in Third Quarter at Fastest Rate Since 2011

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-12-20/third-quarter-growth-in-u-dot-s-dot-revised-higher-on-services-spending

The economy expanded in the third quarter at the fastest rate in almost two years as Americans stepped up spending on services such as health care and companies invested more in software.

Gross domestic product climbed at a revised 4.1 percent annualized rate, the strongest since the final three months of 2011 and up from a previous estimate of 3.6 percent, Commerce Department data showed today in Washington. The gain exceeded the most optimistic projection in a Bloomberg survey.

Inventories accounted for a third of the increase in GDP in the third quarter, showing companies were confident about the prospects for demand. Stronger retail sales in October and November underscore the Federal Reserve’s view that the world’s largest economy is improving.

“You have equity markets supporting household net worth, rising home values and also payroll gains and falling unemployment, so we do really look for consumption to start picking up,” said Robert Rosener, associate economist at Credit Agricole CIB in New York, whose forecast for growth of 3.8 percent was the highest in the Bloomberg survey. “This is a very good sign for momentum going into the fourth quarter.”

The median forecast of 72 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected a 3.6 percent gain in GDP, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. Forecasts ranged from 3.3 percent to 3.8 percent.

Stocks rose after the figures, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advancing 0.6 percent to 1,820.78 at 11:46 a.m. in New York.

Consumer purchases, which account for almost 70 percent of the economy, increased 2 percent, more than the previously reported 1.4 percent, the revised data showed.

Spending on services contributed 0.32 percentage point to third-quarter growth, up from a previously reported 0.02 percentage point. In addition to the pickup in outlays for health care, Americans spent more on recreational services.

Outlays for non-durable goods climbed at a 2.9 percent rate in the third quarter, led by more spending on gasoline.

Inventories increased at a $115.7 billion annualized pace in the third quarter, the most in three years, after a previously reported $116.5 billion annualized rate. In the second quarter, they rose at a $56.6 billion pace.

Stockpiles added 1.67 percentage points to GDP last quarter, little changed from the 1.68 percentage-point contribution in the previous reading.

While economists grew more optimistic about demand in the fourth quarter, GDP will nonetheless be restrained as the pace of inventory growth cools.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. economists project the economy will grow 2 percent from October through December, up from the 1.5 percent rate they had penciled in prior to the Commerce Department’s Dec. 12 retail sales report. Barclays Plc has raised its fourth-quarter tracking estimate to 2.3 percent from 2 percent before the retail figures.

Domestic final sales, which exclude inventories, increased 2.5 percent in the third quarter compared with a previously reported 1.9 percent increase.

Corporate spending on equipment rose 0.2 percent, compared with a previous reading of no change. Business investment in intellectual property was revised up to a 5.8 percent increase from 1.7 percent, reflecting more spending on software.

Further investment will depend on how much confidence companies have that the economy will accelerate.

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Honeywell International Inc., whose products range from cockpit controls to thermostats, expects capital expenditures in the range of $1.2 billion or more in 2014, up about 30 percent from this year.

“We’re very disciplined in terms of cap-ex,” Chief Financial Officer David Anderson said on the company’s 2014 guidance call on Dec. 17, referring to capital expenditures. “We really have to see the whites of the eyes of the economic return characteristics to really commit.”

Economic indicators “are pointing to just a continued resilience, not exuberance, but resilience and expansion in the U.S. economy,” Anderson added.

Today’s report also included corporate profits. Before-tax earnings rose at a 1. Links:
dumpster rental Bountiful UT .3 percent pace in the prior period. They increased 5.7 percent from the same time last year.

Residential real estate is underpinning the economy, as rising prices boost household wealth and growing demand helps the industry overcome rising mortgage rates.

Home construction increased at a 10.3 percent annualized rate in the third quarter. While slower than the 13 percent pace previously reported, the figure primarily reflected revisions to brokers’ commissions and other ownership transfer costs, today’s report showed.

Data from the Commerce Department this week showed that housing starts jumped 22.7 percent to a 1.09 million annualized rate, the most since February 2008, while permits for future projects also held near a five-year high, indicating that the pickup will be sustained into next year.

Other signs show that fiscal drag, which weighed on growth during 2013, will start to ease. U.S. lawmakers this week passed the first bipartisan federal budget produced by a divided Congress in 27 years, easing $63 billion in automatic spending cuts and averting another government shutdown.

Government outlays increased 0.4 percent in the third quarter, led by a 1.7 percent gain in state and local spending that was the same as the previous reading. Federal spending decreased 1.5 percent.

Tighter fiscal policy has made stimulating the U.S. economy even more of an uphill battle for the Fed. The central bank this week announced it would scale back its bond-purchase program by $10 billion, to $75 billion a month, after seeing an improved outlook for the labor market.

“This has been done in the face of a very tight, unusually tight fiscal policy for a recovery period,” Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Dec. 18 during a press conference at the conclusion of a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Stilwell in New York at vstilwell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

Evan Turner uncut

By now, even casual 76ers fans realize Evan Turner is having a career season.

The 6-foot-7 swingman is ranked 11th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 21.7 points per game. That’s way above his career average of 10.8 points. The fourth-year veteran is also averaging 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 45.6 percent from the field this season.

Turner’s play is a major reason why the Sixers (6-9) are exceeding expectations. They were picked to finish last in the NBA this season my most major publications. Yet they are a game behind the first-place Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division standings.

The Chicago native talked on Saturday about defying expectations, his career season and an uncertain future with the Sixers.

On the Sixers defying expectations:

"You’re bound to win some, ain’t you? Especially with how the East is going this year. Aren’t we in first place in the Atlantic? It’s always fun to win. That’s it. Obviously, people break down the squad and the team we have and the young guys we have – that’s an accomplishment."

On taking stock into the predictions that the Sixers would finish last in the NBA:

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"I really didn’t think much of it. You have to play the games and compete. Sponsor links:

On the Sixers being underestimated in the preseason having a similar feel to the team’s being overlooked in previous seasons:

"It’s all about the atmosphere and how you’re publicized. In our situation with the Philadelphia 76ers, you might hear about the negative before you hear about the positive. It’s just how it goes sometimes in the city. It’s not what they think. It’s what the guys in the jerseys think, and the confidence the guys in the locker room have."

On what he’s doing differently to make this a career season:

"I’m getting to the line more, driving, my midrange is getting better, my shots are going in. One thing is, I think I’m able to work myself out of bad starts, rough starts. The past few years, I was on teams with such good scorers that if I didn’t get it going, I didn’t really have an opportunity to pick myself up out of it."

On how playing under new coach Brett Brown has enabled him to have more success:

"Basically, I don’t have to look over my shoulder. He’s instilled a lot of confidence in me and it’s all about doing what you’re good at."

On why he’s attacking the paint more this season:

"Obviously, Coach Brown is big on it. Layups and threes - that’s the way the NBA is supposed to be going. Once again, as I get more acclimated, everything gets easier… . Everything transfers over."

On his uncertain future with the Sixers:

"I really don’t [think about it.] All good things, I hope - God willing. I don’t think of anything negative. As a player and everything and the things I’m doing, it’s just confidence that wherever I end up, I’ll have the opportunity to do well and keep getting better as a player."

Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers

Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/sixers/Evan-Turner-uncut-.html

Learning about girls from Styx the cat

WHEN a woman is truly interested in a guy, she does whatever is necessary to make him see her in the best possible light - even if it means hiring an actual lighting crew temporary fence Park Ridge IL follow her everywhere she goes.

Most guys don’t understand what women go through in order to win our hearts. We like to think we’re the ones who make it all happen. We want to believe that our game is so strong, and our charm so irresistible, that no woman could possibly turn us down. In reality, that’s a defense mechanism we use to deal with rejection. That way when the hammer drops, we can tell ourselves that it’s not us. It’s you.

In truth, we generally don’t have as much game as we think. Females, on the other hand, know from the word “go” what can and cannot happen. With that knowledge in mind, they calculate every twist and turn in a relationship, carefully preparing a step-by-step plan to win their desired result.

I’ve seen women fry their hair to a crisp in order to achieve a fierce ‘do for the first date. I’ve seen women spend hours in shoes that have their feet howling at the 888-200-2157. I’ve even heard tell of women squeezing into elasticized girdles that cut off their circulation. When their faces turn blue and we ask what’s wrong, those suffocating women simply smile and say, “That’s just my new makeup. It turns colors when I’m having a great time.”

Dummies that we are, we fall for it, hook, line and sinker, never suspecting that the whole thing has been planned, often with the help of her board of female advisers.

Until recently, I thought only human females engaged in that type of chicanery. But I’m learning that female behavior is universal, and my lessons are coming from an unusual source - our cat, Styx.

When she was worming her way into our home, she was just like any other female. She put her 60068 330 West Touhy Avenue, Park Ridge IL paw forward at all times. She rubbed herself against our legs in startling displays of affection. She arched her back in the sunlight so her fur shone like black diamonds. She stared at us like Puss in Boots from the “Shrek” movies, inviting us into a world that was endlessly adorable.

She presented herself as a harmless, furry kitten, alone in the world and in need of a helping hand. As small as she was, the whole thing was believable. She couldn’t have been more than a few months old. By the time my family convinced me to let go of my healthy skepticism - I was always a little skeptical about her, after all - Styx had them thoroughly indoctrinated.

Then we let her in, and things changed.

The lustrous black fur that shone like jewels in the midday sun was alley-cat dusty. The eyes that she’d used to hypnotize my wife and children weren’t emerald green. They were goblin green. But the worst thing of all, the thing that let me know she was just like every other female, was that she lied about her age.

When we took Styx to the veterinarian, he told us that she was probably about a year old. This was no helpless kitten. This chick had been around the block a time or two, but she allowed us to believe that she was vulnerable. She let us think she was young. She implied that she’d been abandoned by her mother. In reality, her mother was right across the street, probably coaching her the whole time.

Now that she’s made her way into our home and seen the lay of the land, Styx is doing what some women do in that situation. She’s letting herself go.

Her graceful gait has become a fitful sway, due to the extra weight she’s carrying in her expanding gut. Her breath once smelled of mother’s milk. Now she’s in perpetual need of a Tic Tac. That wonderful little foundling who once put her best paw forward now uses those paws to scratch us. And when we try to engage in a little petting, she’s never in the mood.

Yep, Styx has shown me a thing or two about females, but I haven’t lost hope yet. Like most men in my situation, I’m still waiting for things to turn around, because the way I see it, I don’t really have a choice. Styx trapped me. She trapped all of us. We’re just hoping that the Styx we knew will come back.

Solomon Jones is the author of 10 books,including his latest novel, The Dead Man’s Wife (Minotaur Books), and the humor collection Daddy’s Home: A Memoir of Fatherhood and Laughter. The married father of three has been featured on NPR and CNN, and has written on parenting for Essence and other publications. He created the literacy program Words on the Street. His column appearsTuesdays. More at Solomonjones.com.

Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20131126_Learning_about_women_from_Styx_the_cat.html