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The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $432.3 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent from the previous month, and 4.7 percent above November 2012. ... The September to October 2013 percent change was revised from +0.4 percent to +0.6 percent.
In the week ending December 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 368,000, an increase of 68,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 300,000. The 4-week moving average was 328,750, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average of 322,750.The previous week was up from 298,000.
An experimental bond-trading program being run at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York could fundamentally change the way the central bank sets interest rates.Thursday:
Fed officials see the program, known as a "reverse repo" facility, as a potentially critical tool when they want to raise short-term rates in the future to fend off broader threats to the economy.
"The Federal Reserve has never tightened monetary policy, or even tried to maintain short-term interest rates significantly above zero, with such abundant amounts of liquidity in the financial system," according to a draft of a new research paper by Brian Sack, the former head of the New York Fed's markets group, and Joseph Gagnon, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a former Fed economist.
When it does want to raise rates, the Fed under the repo program would use securities it accumulated through its bond-buying programs as collateral for loans from money-market mutual funds, banks, securities dealers, government-sponsored enterprises and others.
The rates it sets on these loans, in theory, could become a new benchmark for global credit markets.