U.S. homebuilding fell more than expected in March as the construction of single-family homes in the Midwest recorded its biggest decline in three years, but an increase in building permits suggested the housing market recovery remained intact.
U.S. consumer spending barely rose in February amid delays in the payment of income tax refunds, but the biggest annual increase in inflation in nearly five years supported expectations of further interest rate hikes this year.
New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in February, but a surge in shipments amid demand for machinery and electrical equipment supported expectations for an acceleration in business investment in the first quarter.
The U.S. current account deficit unexpectedly fell in the fourth quarter, hitting its lowest level in more than a year, as an increase in the primary income surplus offset a soybean-driven drop in exports.
U.S. homebuilding jumped in February likely as unseasonably warm weather boosted the construction of single-family houses too near a 9-1/2-year high, suggesting the economy remained on solid ground despite an apparent slowdown in the first quarter.