Good U.S. economic news can't stem the euro slide

05/16/2012 4:28 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

When lightening struck the plane of newly elected French President Francois Hollande yesterday while he was on his way to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, I had a sudden dark thought that nothing would ever go right in the global economy every again. But Hollande’s plane safely returned to Paris and the French President, bundled onto a new plane, arrived in Berlin for his talks with Merkel.

And today the U.S. government announced that industrial production in the United States had climbed more than forecast in April. Output at factories, mines and utilities increased 1.1% in the month, the biggest gain since December 2010. That follows on a 0.6% drop in March. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a 0.6% gain for April.

Auto sales were the big driver for the better than expected numbers. First quarter motor vehicle sales were the strongest in the last four years. Increased sales lead to increased production with motor vehicle production rising 3.9% in April after a 1.2% increase in March. Auto sales in the first quarter averaged an annual rate of 14.5 million units. That’s the highest annual rate since the first quarter of 2008

The U.S. economy also provided good news on the housing front. Housing starts in April climbed 2.6% to a 717,000 annual pace. That was up from March’s 699,000 annual rate, which itself was revised upwards this today’s data release. However, building permits, an indicator of future housing starts, declined in April from a three-year high.

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