2/7/11 – theGrio and CNBC Market Update

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There was quite a bit of data for investors to analyze last week. Manufacturing grew at its fastest pace in 7 years in January and the service sector also exceeded expectations. It was still all about jobs however, as the unemployment rate fell to 9 percent. 50 thousand private sector jobs were created — the data is a little distorted because of the winter storms.

African-American unemployment dipped slightly to 15.7 percent, while black teen unemployment rose to 45.2 percent, remaining the highest of any group. In the week ahead investors await reports on small business, consumer credit and consumer sentiment.

We’ll check the pulse of small business with the January sentiment survey from the NFIB. In December, the optimism index dipped slightly to a 92.6 reading, ending 4 months of gains, due to lower expectations of future business conditions.

We’ll gain insight on consumer finances with the December consumer credit report. I November, consumer credit rose by 1.3 billion dollars driven by an increase in home and student loans. Americans carry more than 2.4 trillion dollars of debt.

Are you feeling better about the economy? We’ll find out with the February consumer sentiment report. In January, sentiment dipped slightly to 74.2 reading on concerns about rising food and energy prices. Consumer sentiment is closely tied to spending.