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Personal incomes and spending both rise 0.4%

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Nominal personal incomes and spending rose 0.4% in March, which was fairly close to economist's forecasts. Economist had forecasted incomes to rise 0.4%, but expected spending to rise 0.6% in the latest month.

When adjusted for inflation, real consumer spending rose 0.1% in March, which reversed a 2-month decline. Real disposable incomes were unchanged in March after dropping 0.3% in February.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge, rose 0.3% in March as the core inflation rate (excluding food and energy) rose a fractional 0.1%.

This morning's economic data had little trade impact on stock futures as S&P futures (sp03m) 901.50 currently hold a 3.1 gain and have been hovering near these levels prior to and after this morning's spending/income data. NASDAQ futures (nd03m) are gaining 6 points at 1,091.50, while Dow futures (dj03m) are higher by 38 points at 8,324.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $-0.59. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $0.52 and set for program selling at $-1.76.

Giving a boost to NASDAQ futures was the Semiconductor Association saying that global semiconductor sales for the first quarter increased 13% sequentially, but declined 3.2% from year- ago levels to $36.4 billion. For March, total chip sales rose 2.6% from February at $12.1 billion. The Semiconductor association said it continues to expect double-digit increases in chip sales for 2003 on increased demand by consumer PC purchases, a nearing corporate PC upgrade cycle and strength in the wireless sector.

Shares of Dow component General Electric (NYSE:GE) $29.11 are trading lower at $28.70 over the New York ECN after the Wall Street Journal reported that GE might continue to have downside exposure to asbestos cases associated with individuals who had contact with turbines insulated with the material. While the company has had 30,000 cases settled and covered by its insurance to date, a recent ruling in New York state court could signal GE having to pay more of its liability given at least $800 million is still at stake in secondary insurance coverage for future and current claims.

Elsewhere, follow Dow component Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) $89.10 ticks higher at $90.00 after reporting Q3 earnings that met Wall Street's targets. The consumer products giant said earning's totaled $1.27 billion, or $0.91 per share, which was up from $1.04 billion, or $0.74 per share in the year-ago period.

Jeff Bailey

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