U.S. Economy Improves for May

Manufacturing gives a boost to the Chicago Fed's National Activity Index.

Jun 23, 2014 at 9:36AM

Manufacturing helped edge national business activity back into above-average territory for May, according to a Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index released (link opens as PDF) today. 

Based on a weighted average of 85 different indicators, the Chicago Fed Index provides an overall picture of our nation's economy. An above-zero reading denotes economic activity exceeding historical levels, while a negative number implies a historically underperforming economy.

After clocking in at an upwardly revised -0.15 (originally -0.32) for April, this month's report puts business activity back into positive territory with a 0.21 reading. From a longer-term perspective, however, the index's three-month moving average took a revised 0.23-point dip to 0.18. 

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Chart

Manufacturing was the main reason May's month-to-month index made such a major leap. While production-related indicators overall contributed 0.20 points to the index, manufacturing production jumped 0.6% after falling 0.1% in April, and manufacturing capacity utilization clocked in 0.3 percentage points higher to hit 77.0%. Employment also made a solid addition, contributing 0.10 points to May's numbers.

While the Chicago Fed's three-month moving average serves as an important reminder that month-to-month indices aren't the same as long-term indicators, investors can celebrate where May's gains came from. Manufacturing serves as an important economic backbone, and employment improvements signal steadier business optimism that won't disappear overnight. This week's upcoming durable goods orders, GDP growth, and jobless claims reports should shed further light on the overall health of the U.S. economy.

Discover a top stock pick for 2014
Every year, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer hand-picks 1 stock with outstanding potential. Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014" today.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information