� The U.S. Labor Department indicated last week that initial
unemployment claims fell more than expected to 550,000 for the week
ending Aug 1. While the total number of people seeking jobless benefits
increased, Department analysts saw the report as fresh evidence that the
economy is improving providing support for higher energy prices.
� The U.S. Federal Reserve indicated on Wednesday that it will be
maintaining its policy of low interest rates.
� U.S. trade deficit was reported on Wednesday to be lower than
originally anticipated causing optimism about the economy in general.
� The National Association of Realtors released data this week
indicating that existing home sales are rising all across the U.S.