Will Stimulus be Big Enough, Soon Enough? Economic Data Today Expected to Show More Weakness

Several reports due Wednesday are expected to provide more evidence that consumers are cutting back on spending and companies are eliminating jobs in the face of a deepening recession.

The new figures will come a day after the government said the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy, shrank at a 0.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter. Many economists expect the GDP to shrink by much more in the current quarter.

Wall Street economists forecast that a report on consumer spending in November, to be released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday, will show a drop of 0.7 percent. That would be the fifth straight month of decline.

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

Meanwhile, the Labor Department’s tally of initial applications for unemployment benefits last week is expected to rise slightly to a seasonally adjusted 560,000 from 554,000 in the previous week.

And the Commerce Department is expected to report that durable goods orders fell by 3 percent in November, after a 6.2 percent drop in October. October’s decline was the largest fall in two years.

Two reports on home sales Tuesday also sketched a bleak picture. Demand for both new and existing homes fell more sharply in November than expected.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081224/a
p_on_bi_ge/financial_meltdown

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