Orders for Durable Goods Fall, As Do Jobless Claims

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This morning we learned that orders for durable goods--big-ticket items from refrigerators to heavy machinery--fell 1.1 percent in May, a bit better than economists had expected. The drop was due mostly to a fall in demand for commercial aircraft. According to Ian Shepherdson, chief Economist with High Frequency Economics, Boeing had only five aircraft orders in May compared to a recent average of nearly 40 per month.

Also on the economic indicator front, the Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims fell by 19,000 compared to last week, the biggest drop in two months. Overall, 4.5 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment benefits.

In Washington, DC, it’s crunch time as House and Senate negotiators rush to finalize the financial regulations reform bill by this evening. To meet the self-imposed deadline for having a bill signed by July 4, Conference Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) has said he would keep the negotiators working all night. It could be a late night for legislators...and lobbyists. There’s a lot still left to be settled, especially the “Volcker Rule” which could limit banks trading with their own money and tougher regulations of derivatives proposed by Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln.

And what’s Russell Simmons doing in the middle of the debate?

While financial regulatory reform will have a long-term impact on Wall Street and Main Street for years to come, the real excitement today is about the official launch of Apple’s new iPhone 4. Around the globe, die-hard iPhone fans have lined up to be the first owners of the new smart phone as many worried there could even be shortages. The new phone has largely received positive reviews. But that doesn’t mean some aren’t complaining about Apple’s dominance of the smart phone market.

Finally, he’s moving on. Pay czar and former administrator of the September 11 victim’s compensation fund, Kenneth Feinberg will no longer supervise executive pay for the five remaining firms that still have government TARP money. He’s off to deal with another mess, the BP oil spill and the recently created $20 billion fund the company created.