Slower growth but with persistent inflation pressure remains the outlook for the US economy after the latest economic data. Reuters reports:
The business barometer from the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago fell to 53.5 this month, below economists' expectations of a reading of 58.0, from 62.1 in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
During the same period, U.S. consumer confidence slipped to 105.4 from an upwardly revised 105.9 in September, according to The Conference Board. The median forecast from economists was for a reading of 108.0 for October...
The Employment Cost Index, a broad gauge of what employers pay in wages and benefits, rose by a larger-than-expected 1.0 percent in the third quarter, marking the largest increase since the second quarter of 2004...
The National Association of Purchasing Management-New York's index of local business activity climbed to 425.3 in October from 421.0 in September.
The picture is not too different in the UK. Again from Reuters:
The Nationwide Building Society said house prices rose another 0.7 percent this month. That was just over half the rate of increase in September but still left the cost of an average home 8 percent or some 12,500 pounds higher than a year ago.
Consumer spirits, meanwhile, appear to have lifted after August's surprise interest rate hike and security scare at Britain's biggest airports.
Pollster GfK NOP said its monthly consumer confidence barometer rose two points to -5 in October as rising house prices and the FTSE-100 index of leading shares at a 5-year high brightened people's outlook for their own finances.
Feeling flush or not, Britons were shopping less than usual in October, according to the country's biggest business lobby group, the Confederation of British Industry. Its retail survey showed sales volumes falling at their fastest pace in 7 months.
So where are UK interest rates headed?
BoE Governor Mervyn King told a parliamentary committee that there was no such thing as a "done deal" when it comes to interest rate decisions but markets paid little heed and are fully pricing in a hike to 5.0 percent next week.
Retail sales fell in Germany too, reports Bloomberg.
Sales, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, fell 1.7 percent from August, the biggest decline since May 2004, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists forecast a 0.6 percent gain, the median of 29 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. In France, consumer confidence dropped for the first time in five months in October.
But confidence in the euro zone generally remains relatively buoyant while inflation receded, according to another Bloomberg report.
An index of sentiment among executives and consumers in the dozen nations sharing the euro rose to 110.3, the highest since February 2001, from 109.3 in September, the European Commission said today in Brussels. Inflation slowed to 1.6 percent in October, holding below the ECB's 2 percent limit for a second month, a separate report showed...
In a separate report, the commission said its business climate indicator "remained broadly stable" in October. The indicator slipped to 1.42 from 1.44 in September, holding "at a very high level, last achieved in 2000," the commission said.