PM Dear Dairy: White Noise Edition

It was one of those days where random information kept flowing in, none of it earthshaking, and little of it related, but yet overall it was worth paying attention.

First, from France comes the news that not only is Sarkozy’s rival Monsieur Hollande a rabid anti-banker, he’s also a few freedom fries short of le Happi Meal:  He wants tolower the retirement age to 60.  I’m not sure how many of the last years he’s slept through, but he may be shocked to discover Edith Piaf is no longer on the radio.

Second, there were a number of economic releases out from the US today, and it was pretty much split down the middle in terms of green light vs red light.  Durable goods were better than expected, and rather solid at +3% rather than the expected 2%.  The details of the report were solid, all looking good.  On the negative side, the Conference Board leading indicator came in substantially weaker than expected at 0.4% rather than 0.7%, with last month’s revised down from 0.5% to 0.2%.  New home sales were also weaker than expected, at an annual rate of 307k rather than 321k.

Initial unemployment claims were also released today, a tad weaker than forecast at 377k.  But by and large they have been doing just fine, as shown in this nice graph from the folks at Calculated Risk:

Despite the gnashing of teeth from Bernanke and Co. yesterday, this drop in claims since the end of the recession is good news and very encouraging.  I don’t quite buy it as far as a true indicator of economic health, but it’s great to see people going back to work.