Foreigners trim long-term U.S. security buys in April

NEW YORK, Fri Jun 15, 2012 – Overseas investors cut back on purchases of long-term U.S. securities in April, the U.S. Treasury said on Friday, as both public and private accounts unloaded mortgage-backed debt.

The United States attracted a net long-term capital inflow of $25.6 billion in April after drawing $36 billion in March.

Foreigners stepped up Treasury purchases to $37.3 billion from $20.1 billion in March but were net sellers of securities guaranteed by the biggest U.S. mortgage financing agencies to the tune of $14.1 billion. That was more than double the outflow seen from that sector in March.

As for Treasuries, private investors were more avid buyers in April, accounting for 23.4 billion of the total inflow.

China, the largest foreign U.S. creditor, raised its Treasury holdings slightly to $1.146 trillion from $1.144 trillion, while No. 2 Treasury holder Japan cut holdings by $10.2 billion to $1.066 trillion.

Including short-dated assets such as bills, foreigners sold a net $20.5 billion in April, compared with March’s downwardly revised net outflow of $48.6 billion.

Consumer spending rises modestly for April, inflation eases

WASHINGTON, Fri Jun 1, 2012 – Consumer spending rose modestly in April while incomes grew more slowly and inflation pressures eased, according to Commerce Department data published on Friday.

Spending climbed 0.3 percent, in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll and following a downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain for March.

Incomes increased just 0.2 percent, half of March’s pace and weaker than analyst estimates.

At the same, the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation remained comfortably within the central bank’s 2 percent target, at 1.9 percent.

Gross domestic product expanded just 1.9 percent in the first quarter, following downward revisions to an initial estimate this week. The softness raised new concerns about the economy’s vigor as worries about a Europe-led slowdown persist.

Americans continued tapping into their savings to sustain their spending. The savings rate continued a recent downward trajectory, dipping to 3.4 percent in April from as high as 5 percent last summer.

US Airways says April unit revenue rose 9 percent

PHOENIX, Ariz., Thu May 3, 2012 – U.S. Airways Group Inc. said on Thursday that its unit revenue had increased about 9 percent in April from a year earlier amid higher passenger traffic.

In a monthly operating statement, the airline said passenger traffic had risen 2.1 percent, while it increased its capacity – the number of seats for sale – by 1.6 percent.

The airline said its load factor, which is a measure of how full airplanes are, increased 0.4 percentage point to 83 percent.

Consumer sentiment little changed in April, according to survey

NEW YORK, Fri Apr 27, 2012 – Consumer sentiment was little changed in April as Americans expected the economy to slowly improve, though they were less cheery about the state of their own finances, a survey released on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment inched up to 76.4 from 76.2 in March.

The survey topped economists’ forecasts for 75.7, which had been the preliminary figure reported in early April.

While recent developments in the overall economy were viewed as being somewhat less favorable, the outlook for the recovery still improved.

The gauge of consumer expectations rose to 72.3 from 69.8, while the component measuring the five-year outlook rose to 92 from 89.

However, just one in four households expected their finances to improve during the year, and the survey’s barometer of current economic conditions fell to 82.9 from 86.0.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said their finances improved in April, down from 34 percent in March and a slight improvement over 27 percent last year.