Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 29 Sep 16

The final revision of 2nd Quarter GDP came in at 1.4% annualized growth, while the GDP Price index was 2.3%.

The nation’s deficit in good trade fell to -58.4 billion in August from $-59.3 billion in July, as exports rose 0.7% and imports rose 0.3%.

Wholesale inventories fell -0.1% in August, with non-durables down -0.6% and durables up 0.1%.

The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index fell a sharp -2.4% to 108.5 in August, with 3 of the 4 regions showing declines.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 3,000 to 254,000. The 4-week average fell  2,250 to 256,000. Continuing claims fell 46,000 to 2.062 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.3 points to 41.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-21.0 billion last week, with total assets of $4.452 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-1.6 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $10.9 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 28 Sep 16

Durable goods orders were unchanged in August, with ex-transportation orders down -0.4%, but core capital goods orders up 0.6%. On a year-over-year basis, durables orders are down -1.3% from a year ago, with ex-transportation orders down -1.1% and core capital goods orders down -3.1%.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -0.7% last week, with purchases up 1.0%, but refis down -2.9%.


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Economic Statistics for 27 Sep 16

New home sales fell -7.6% in August, to a 609,000 annual rate. July’s reading was revised upwards, however, by 5,000, resulting in a July increase of 13.8%.

The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey for September rose from 4.5 to 16.7.

What used to be called the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, then the S&P Case-Shiller HPI, and, as of today, is called the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI was unchanged in July, while the year-over-year change fell -0.1% to 5.0%.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose 3.0 points to 104.1 in September.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index rose 3 points to a still-negative -8 in September.

State Street’s Investor Confidence Index rose 5.8 points in September to 95.5, mainly on increased investor confidence in Asia.

The PMI Services Flash for September rose 1.0 points to 51.9.

Redbook reports that last week’s US retail sales growth was unchanged at a sluggish 0.2% on a year-ago basis.


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 23 Sep 16

Podcastlogo 150x150Ted Cruz announced his endorsement of Donald Trump, and #NeverTrump went apoplectic. Meanwhile Trump tightens the race with Hillary to a neck and neck contest, according to the wildly unreliable polls. So, the contest is now down a preference for a candidate who will start Civil War II at home, or World War III abroad. The Fed has no tools left to fix the economy or to unwind the monetary lossening they’ve already made. Michael went to the MRC gala, which sounds like a hoot. Dale continues to wait for an iPhone 7, and notes that innovation at Apple is as dead as fried chicken.

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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Economic Statistics for 22 Sep 16

A tough week, including bad weather and a power outage has impacted my ability to keep up with the economic stats this week, but I think we’re back on track, now.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell from 0.27 to -0.55 in August.

The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.5% in July, and is up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis.

Existing home sales softened in August, falling -0.9% to a 5.33 million annual rate. Sales are only up 0.8% on a year-over-year basis.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators fell -0.2% in August, retracting some of July’s 0.5% gain.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose from -4 to 6 in September.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 8,000 to 252,000. The 4-week average fell 2,250 to 258,500. Continuing claims fell 36,000 to 2.113 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.9 points to 41.3 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-8.6 billion last week, with total assets of $4.473 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $2.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $37.4 billion in the latest week.


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 16 Sep 16

Podcastlogo 150x150

Donald Trump disavows Obama Birtherism, and says it was all Hillary’s fault, anyway. Hillary takes time out from convalescing to campaign a bit, looking hale and healthy. For now. Not that we’ll know how healthy she actually is, unless she collapses again. There’ll never be another movement Conservative as President, because Americans want their free stuff. Finally, remember to stand, sit, or kneel for the National Anthem.

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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Economic Statistics for 16 Sep 16

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in August, with core prices (less food and energy), up 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis, prices are up 1.1% overall and 2.3% at the core.

Aggressive foreign buying sent net foreign demand for long-term US securities up from $-3.6 billion in June to $103.9 billion in July.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index was unchanged at 89.8 for September.


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Economic Statistics for 15 Sep 16

Producer Prices for Final Demand were unchanged in August. PPI-FD ex-food and-energy rose 0.1% and less trade services rose 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis, PPI-FD is unchanged, prices less food and energy are up 1.0%, and prices less food, energy, and trade services are up 1.2%.

August retail sales fell -0.3% as consumers pulled back. Sales less autos, and sales less autos and gas, were both down -0.1%.

The nation’s current account deficit narrowed in the 2nd Quarter to $-119.9 billion from a revised $-131.8 billion in the 1st Quarter.

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey rose from 2.0 to 12.8 in September.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey rose from -4.21 to -1.99 in September.

Industrial Production fell -0.4% in August, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories also fell -0.4% to 75.5%.

Business Inventories were unchanged in July while sales fell -0.2%. The stock-to-sales ratio was unchanged at 1.39.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 1,000 to 260,000. The 4-week average fell 500 to 260,750. Continuing claims were unchanged at 2.143 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.8 points to 42.2 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $22.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.482 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-22.4 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-8.0 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 13 Sep 16

The Treasury reports the federal government’s deficit is growing, at $-107.1 billion for August. The year-to-date deficit is $-620.8 billion, 17.1% higher than  August, 2015.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell -0.2 points to 94.4 in August.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth rose to 0.8% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 0.4%.


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