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U.S. trade gap widens to $28.5 billion

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The U.S. trade gap widened to a deficit of $28.5 billion in January, which was roughly $1.6 billion more than the $26.9 billion deficit economists had expected. The increased January trade gap numbers give hint that consumer's appetites for imported goods may be returning as the domestic economy improves.

The balance of goods and services expanded more than 15% from December's $24.7 billion.

Some economists feel an import-led deficit expansion could prove to be a mild drag on gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2002. Earlier in the year, the U.S. dollar ($) was strong relative to foreign currencies and had some impact on foreign imports being more competitive as consumers here in the U.S. had greater purchasing power.

The Commerce Department said the higher trade gap number showed consumers and U.S. businesses increasing their demand for industrial materials such as energy products, rubber and lumber. Demand also rose for capital goods including computers, semiconductors and accessories. Demand waned for imported aircraft. The report also showed demand for imported consumer goods such as TVs, toys and games improved. Demand cooled for clothing and compact discs.

Stock futures holding higher ground

Stock futures are higher this morning as S&P futures (sp02m) trade higher by 5 points at 1,172. NASDAQ futures (nd02m) are up 6.5 points at 1,517, while Dow futures (dj02m) are up 39 points at 10,620.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $2.58. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $3.54 and set for selling at $1.32.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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