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Reuters unexpectedly use that word--again.

In some unfortunate news, new home sales hit a record low. How does Reuters react to the news? Once again, they are taken by surprise.

Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly fell to a record low in January, while mortgage demand for purchases hit a 13-year low last week, fanning fears of renewed housing market weakness.
Enough is enough. Reuters and AP financial writers should just remove that word from their vocabulary. This repeated mock-surprise that the economy has yet to magically recover is embarrassing.

What is even more amusing is that this first paragraph has already been edited once since first being published and the unexpected part remains. Here's the quote as first captured at Hot Air.

Sales of newly built single-family homes unexpectedly fell to a record low in January, according to government data on Wednesday that hinted at potential trouble for the fragile housing market recovery.
At least we have gone from "hinted of potential trouble" to "fanning fears". Hot Air also adds the following analysis--click the link above to read the Hot Air text complete with embedded links to references.
Potential trouble? Really? Today's figure is the worst since they started keeping records in 1963. As Daily Finance's Joseph Lazarro notes:
[H]istorically, increases in home sales are strongly correlated with greater demand and an economic expansion -- and decreases are linked to the opposite. However, government statisticians also caution that the new home sales figures contain a margin of error and are subject to revisions. Further, economists note that it typically takes three to five months to detect a trend, so investors should not read too much into data from one month.
Unfortunately, new home sales also dropped "unexpectedly" in December. That followed November, when new homes plunged "unexpectedly" to the lowest level since April. Indeed, new home sales have been trending downward steadily since August.
Six months of downward trends and yet month after month the drop is unexpected by the media. I wonder if they were as shocked by this news? (And does anyone else love the sweet, sweet irony of the NYT reporting on layoffs of another media outlet?)


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Comments (26)

Don't deny them the use of ... (Below threshold)

Don't deny them the use of the word, they are surprised... as is anybody who believes that Obama's policies should have turned things around by now.

If, on the other hand, you are one of those (such as me) who think that Obama and Congress scare the dickens out of people, then you're not surprised when scared employers continue to layoff people, when scared consumers don't buy things, scared banks aren't interested in increasing their loan volume and when potential home buyers who are scared housing prices will continue to drop refuse to buy new houses.

I'm sure that little Stevie... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm sure that little Stevie Green will show up shortly and 'splain Barry's Obamanomic theories and how this administration has everything well in hand.

After all, isn't Barry 'focusing laser-like' on job creation? Everything else is on the back-burner.

It is highly unexpected tha... (Below threshold)
914:

It is highly unexpected that Barry will refrain from Bowdism by proxy, and admit, He is an adjunct fool.

I think that "unexpectedly"... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

I think that "unexpectedly" is going to figure prominently in headlines during the month of November as related to shock and dismay as politicians they have been providing cover for a retired by voters nation wide.

Just a hunch on my part but these people seem to live in an isolation chamber and don't have the first clue as to what is happening to this economy or country.

The shadenfruede after the elections is going to be deliciously enjoyable.

Lemmae guess this is filed ... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Lemmae guess this is filed under unexpectedly:

"Government-backed mortgage giant Freddie Mac today reported a loss of $7.8 billion for the final three months of last year, with a total loss of $25.7 billion for the year overall."

"Government-backed mortgage... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Government-backed mortgage giant Freddie Mac today reported a loss of $7.8 billion for the final three months of last year, with a total loss of $25.7 billion for the year overall."

Wonder what BONUS the CEO will get. Has the MSM contacted Maxine Waters to get her take on this? How about Barney Frank?

They need to find new exper... (Below threshold)
Roy:

They need to find new experts.

Gmac,"The shadenfr... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Gmac,

"The shadenfruede after the elections is going to be deliciously enjoyable."

I expect there will be a LOT of tea bagging (of the Ace of Spades HQ pudding variety) after the elections...

This will all be followed u... (Below threshold)
Hank:

This will all be followed up by the headline most of us would like to see:

Obama unexpectedly defeated by .....

Six months of downward t... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Six months of downward trends and yet month after month the drop is unexpected by the media.

There are a number of agencies that make forecasts of various economic indicators. Whenever the actual numbers come out they are compared to the forecast.

It is likely that a decline was forecast, but the the actual decline was greater than what was forecasted. Thus it was classified as an unexpected drop.

At least that is how it works with unemployement indicators. I imagine it is the same with home sales.


Tina S:That's real... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Tina S:

That's real spin there.

I predicted that I could th... (Below threshold)

I predicted that I could throw a pizza out my window and it would fly across town.

Unexpectedly, it didn't.

I would never ever vote a n... (Below threshold)
914:

I would never ever vote a neg against TINA. She is honest, straightforward and does not presume to understand the topic at hand.

+

914, I agree. And it wasn't... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

914, I agree. And it wasn't unexpectently. ww

"Reuters, AP, et. al. unexp... (Below threshold)
Sir Toby Belch:

"Reuters, AP, et. al. unexpectedly found to
have considerable left bias in their reportage.", Media Matters unexpectedly
reveals.

She is honest, straightf... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

She is honest, straightforward and does not presume to understand the topic at hand.

Heh. So true.

And poor wide-eyed Reuters, constantly surprised by the actual outcome of events.

Six months of down... (Below threshold)
Tina S:
Six months of downward trends and yet month after month the drop is unexpected by the media.

Dan,

The first 2 paragraphs of the Reuters article says that analysts expected sales to rise from 348,000 units from December to 360,000 in January. Instead it dropped to 309,000, its lowest level on record.

Anytime a financial indicator is significantly more or less than forecasted, Reuters is likely to point that out in the headline. They do this because the stock market is likely to spike up or down based on unexpected news. By saying it was unexpected; they are actually saying that the sales for the past month are worse (thats how investors interpret it) than we thought they had been. And that's not good for Obama or the country.

Not really, Tina. I have so... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Not really, Tina. I have some sense of what's good for the country, and Obama ain't it, at least so far.

Initial jobless cl... (Below threshold)
Eric:
Initial jobless claims rise unexpectedly

There's that word again.

Eric, analysts always forec... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Eric, analysts always forecast major financial indicators, such as home sales, well in advance. When the actual sales data is released it is compared to what the ananlysts expected it to be. When a major economic indicator is significantly off from what was forecasted the term "unexpected is used". When the term "unexpected" is applied to bad financial news it is always a bad sign. Much worse the when the bad news was forecasted. Using the word "unexpected" is in no way sugar coating. It is the opposite. They are describing the the state of the economy as being worse than expected. Investors usually intrepret this as a sign of more bad things to come.

Tina, the joke is the repea... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Tina, the joke is the repeated use of the word "unexpectedly" in the lede about every piece of economic news in the last year.

Feb 25: Initial jobless claims rise unexpectedly

Feb 23: Home prices unexpectedly dip

Feb 18: Jobless claims jump unexpectedly

Feb 12: Germany's Recovery Stalled Unexpectedly in Fourth Quarter

Feb 9: U.S. wholesale inventories unexpectedly fall in December

Feb 5: Jobless Rate Drops Unexpectedly to 9.7%

Feb 4: First-time jobless claims rise unexpectedly

Feb 2: Australia Unexpectedly Holds Interest Rates

Jan 20:U.S. housing starts unexpectedly fall in December

Jan 14: US retail sales drop unexpectedly in December

Jan 21: Initial jobless claims unexpectedly rise

Jan 27: New home sales unexpectedly fall in December

Jan 26: Home prices rise unexpectedly in November

Dec 31: Jobless claims fall unexpectedly as layoffs ease

Dec 17: New jobless claims rise unexpectedly

Dec 15: Homebuilder Outlook Declines Unexpectedly in December

Dec 11: Business inventories rise unexpectedly in October

Dec 10: U.S. trade gap narrows unexpectedly in October

Dec 3: New jobless claims fall unexpectedly to 457K

Aug 20: New jobless claims rise unexpectedly to 576K

Aug 13: Weekly jobless claims rise unexpectedly

June 30: Consumers' confidence in economy unexpectedly falls in June, halting 3-month upward trend

Okay I'm tired of cutting and pasting. There are hundreds more examples.

Eric, the reason they use t... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Eric, the reason they use the word "unexpected" is because investors are more concerned when an economic indicator falls above or below the forecasted value. An investor sees it as a flag that says the economy is not going as expected so you better review your portfolio. Read some of the articles whose link you provided. You will see they typically spend a significant portion of the article discussing why the expectations were not meet and how this will affect the stock market as well as other sectors of the economy. It may appear funny to a person that does not change their investment portfolio based on the results of economic indicators. But to people that do make such investments, Reuters is putting a crucial piece of information in the headline.

It is highly unlikely and ... (Below threshold)
914:

It is highly unlikely and would be very unexpected if Barry were to create one job.

Hey everyone, I just posted... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Hey everyone, I just posted a comment on Reuters asking for someone to explain why so many articles that report on economic indicators frequently use the word expected/unexpected?

It should appear shortly on the comments section of the Reuters article in question.

They are catch words and ph... (Below threshold)
914:

They are catch words and phrase's designed to raise advertising revenue. Nothing more, nothing less.

I think we should lobby the... (Below threshold)
timajin:

I think we should lobby these folks to write about what they expect and the logic that supports that expectation. Then when something happens everyone can test whether it was unexpected. For instance, they should define what their expectation is for gains in employment or decline in unemployment. Then when there's an increase in unemployment it's easy to know whether it's unexpected and how skewed their logic and math really are.

Although, I guess when you live in a world of rainbows and unicorns anything that doesn't fit that warm-fuzzy theme is unexpected.




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