Japan's economic recovery took a breather in February. From AFP/CNA on Tuesday:
Japan's factory output fell for the first time in 12 months while unemployment remained unchanged at 4.9 per cent, data showed Thursday, underlining the fragile nature of the economic recovery...
Average household spending in February slipped 0.5 per cent from the previous year and 1.6 per cent from the previous month, according to official data.
The new government figures showed Japan's factory output fell by 0.9 per cent in February, marking the first monthly drop over the past year. The fall was sharper than market expectations of a decline of 0.5 per cent.
Somewhat better news was that UK fourth quarter economic growth was a bit faster than previously estimated. Reuters reports:
The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday gross domestic product grew 0.4 percent in the last three months of 2009, above forecasts for an unrevised reading of 0.3 percent growth and the first quarter of growth since the start of 2008.
The data from the US on Tuesday were also positive. Bloomberg reports:
Consumers in the U.S. gained confidence in March as the gloom over job prospects began to lift, indicating employment will be central to preserving the recent acceleration in spending.
The Conference Board’s confidence index rose to 52.5, exceeding the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, from 46.4 in February, according to figures today from the New York research group...
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose 0.3 percent in January, indicating the housing market is stabilizing as the economy expands. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index climbed from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis after a similar gain in December.