Business Week Index

The production index continued to slip in the week ended Feb. 28. The unaveraged index also fell, from a revised Feb. 21 figure of 131.6, to 130.3. The monthly index for February was 131.1, down 1.5% from 133.1 in January. Continued rain and mud slides in Southern California as well as heavy winds and snow in the Powder River Basin, caused large declines in rail-freight traffic and coal output. Steel, autos, and electric production were also down. Trucks, oil, and lumber output posted small gains.

BW production index copyright 1998 Bloomberg L.P.

BusinessWeek Index
PRODUCTION INDICATORS
                                                     LATEST     WEEK      YEARLY
                                                      WEEK       AGO       % CHG
      STEEL (3/7) thous. of net tons                  2,216      2,294 #     3.8
      AUTOS (3/7) units                             108,661    111,103 r#  -17.8
      TRUCKS (3/7) units                            150,850    146,859 r#    7.8
      ELECTRIC POWER (3/7) millions of kilowatt-hrs. 61,959     61,327 #     2.6
      CRUDE-OIL REFINING (3/7) thous. of bbl./day    14,548     13,847 #     7.1
      COAL (2/28) thous. of net tons                 20,065 #   22,663      -9.1
      LUMBER (2/28) millions of ft.                   494.7 #    481.8       2.6
      RAIL FREIGHT (2/28) billions of ton-miles        26.5 #     27.4      -2.6
      Sources: American Iron & Steel Institute, Ward's Automotive Reports, Edison
      Electric Institute, American Petroleum Institute, Energy Dept., WWPA1, SFPA2,
      Association of American Railroads
      
      LEADING INDICATORS
                                                    LATEST      WEEK     YEARLY
                                                     WEEK       AGO       % CHG
      STOCK PRICES (3/6) S&P 500                   1055.69      1049.34     31.1
      CORPORATE BOND YIELD, Aaa (3/6)                 6.81 %       6.71 %   -8.8
      INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS PRICES (3/6)               95.9         95.4    -11.4
      MONEY SUPPLY, M2 (2/23) billions            $4,105.8     $4,090.9 r    6.5
      INITIAL CLAIMS, UNEMPLOYMENT (2/28) thous.       304          320     -2.6
      MORTGAGE APPLICATIONS, PURCHASE (3/6)          221.1        217.3     25.6
      MORTGAGE APPLICATIONS, REFINANCE (3/6)       1,403.4      1,526.1    252.0
      Sources: Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Journal of Commerce (Index: 1990=100),
      Federal Reserve, Labor Dept., Mortgage Bankers Assn. (Index: March 16, 1990=100)
      
      PRICES
                                              LATEST       WEEK      YEARLY
                                               WEEK        AGO         % CHG
      GOLD (3/11) $/troy oz.                  294.100     296.750      -16.3
      STEEL SCRAP (3/3) #1 heavy, $/ton        135.50      140.50       -2.9
      COPPER (3/6)  cents/lb.                    81.8        77.7      -31.0
      ALUMINUM (3/6)  cents/lb.                  70.0        68.8      -14.1
      COTTON (3/6) strict low
          middling 1-1/16 in.,  cents/lb.       66.10       63.66       -7.7
      OIL (3/10) $/bbl.                         14.00       15.12      -29.1
      CRB FOODSTUFFS (3/10) 1967=100           224.83      221.71       -9.2
      CRB RAW INDUSTRIALS (3/10) 1967=100      302.51      302.85      -11.4
      Sources: London Wednesday final setting, Chicago market, Metals Week, Memphis
      market, NYMEX, Commodity Research Bureau
      
      FOREIGN EXCHANGE
                                             LATEST      WEEK       YEAR
                                             WEEK        AGO        AGO
      JAPANESE YEN (3/11)                   129.14     126.75      122.43
      GERMAN MARK (3/11)                      1.83       1.82        1.70
      BRITISH POUND (3/11)                    1.65       1.65        1.60
      FRENCH FRANC (3/11)                     6.14       6.10        5.73
      ITALIAN LIRA (3/11)                   1803.5     1790.7      1693.0
      CANADIAN DOLLAR (3/11)                  1.41       1.42        1.36
      MEXICAN PESO (3/11)3                   8.660      8.581       7.975
      TRADE-WEIGHTED DOLLAR INDEX (3/11)     109.9      109.3       104.8
      Sources: Major New York banks. Currencies expressed in units per U.S. dollar,
      except for British pound in dollars. Trade-weighted dollar via J.P. Morgan.
      
      INTEREST RATES
                                             LATEST       WEEK     YEAR
                                              WEEK         AGO      AGO
      FEDERAL FUNDS (3/10)                    5.44 %      5.51 %    5.21 %
      COMMERCIAL PAPER (3/10) 3-month         5.49        5.45      5.46
      CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT (3/11) 3-month  5.58        5.59      5.44
      FIXED MORTGAGE (3/6) 30-year            7.28        7.22      7.97
      ADJUSTABLE MORTGAGE (3/6) one-year      5.78        5.76      5.78
      PRIME (3/6)                             8.50        8.50      8.25
      Sources: Federal Reserve, HSH Associates, Bloomberg Financial Markets
      
      #Raw data in the production indicators are seasonally adjusted in computing
      the BW index (chart); other components (estimated and not listed) include
      machinery and defense equipment. 1=Western Wood Products Assn.   2=Southern
      Forest Products Assn.    3=Free market value   NA=Not available   r=revised
        NM=Not meaningful
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