The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% both overall, and less food and energy, in March. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is unchanged at the headline level, and up 1.8% at the core.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose 2.9 points to 95.9 in April.
The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators rose only 0.2% in March following a downwardly revised gain of only 0.1% in February.
Housing starts in March rose a disappointing 2.0%, following February’s -15.3 decline. Starts came in at an annualized 0.926 million. Housing permits, an indicator of future activity, were also disappointing, falling -5.7% to a 1.039 million annual rate. On a year-over-year basis, housing starts were down -2.5% while permits were up 2.9%.
The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey rose 2.5 points in April to 7.5.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.3 points to 46.6 in the latest week.
Initial weekly jobless claims rose 12,000 to 294,000. The 4-week average rose 250 to 282,750. Continuing claims fell 40,000 to a new 15-year low of 2.268 million.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $1.9 billion last week, with total assets of $4.485 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $4.4 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose a sharp $78.9 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -2.3% last week, with purchases down 3.0% and refis down -2.0%.
The Empire State manufacturing index fell into negative territory at -1.19 in April, compared to 6.90 in March.
The Fed reports that industrial production fell -0.6% in March, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell -0.5% to 78.4%.
The Atlanta Fed’s Business Inflation Expectations survey held steady, in April, with businesses’ year-long inflation expectations at 1.7%.
The NAHB housing market index rose 3 points in April to 56.
The Fed’s Beige Book reported that economic activity in five Districts is expanding “moderately”, and is overall “modestly” positive but still sluggish.
Net foreign demand for long-term US securities rose $9.8 billion in February. Japan, for the first time since 2008, replaced China as the largest holder of US Securities.
The Treasury Department reports that government’s budget deficit came in at $-52.9 billion in March, compared to $-36.9 billion in March, 2014. Six months into fiscal 2015, the government’s deficit is 6.3% over March 2014 at $-439.5 billion.
Producer Prices for Final Demand rose 0.2% overall in March. On a year-over-year basis, prices have fallen -0.8%. PPI-FD less food & energy was also up 0.2%, and is up 0.9% on a year-ago basis. Other components:
- PPI-FD less food, energy & trade services – M/M change: 0.2%
- PPI-FD less food, energy & trade services – Y/Y change: 0.8%
- PPI-FD Goods – M/M change: 0.3%
- PPI-FD Goods – Y/Y change: -4.3%
- PPI-FD Services – M/M change: 0.1%
- PPI-FD Services – Y/Y change: 0.9%
Retail sales in March rose a healthy 0.9% after dropping -0.5% in February.
Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose only 1.1% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 3.4%, as an early Easter shifted dales to March.
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell a sharp -2.8 points to 95.2 in March.
Business inventories rose 0.3% in February. Sales kept track with inventories, leaving the stock-to-sales ratio at a fat 1.36, the highest ratio since July, 2009.
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Chain stores are reporting generally good sales for March today, as an early Easter pulled sales from April.
Wholesale inventories rose 0.3% in February, while a -0.2% drop in sales left the stock-to-sales ratio at a boated 1.29.
Initial weekly jobless claims rose 14,000 to 281,000. The 4-week average fell 3,000 to 282,250. Continuing claims fell 23,000 to 2.304 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.7 points to 47.9 in the latest week.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $1.6 billion last week, with total assets of $4.483 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $0.7 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $10.5 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose o.4% last week. Purchases rose 7.0%, but re-fis fell -3.0%.
The minutes of the Fed’s last FOMC meeting shows some concern about when–and how–to raise rates and unwind Quantitative Easing. The minutes show that making monetary policy changes very gradually is going to be the policy. Policy changes may begin as early as the summer, though this, of course, will be data-driven.
The Labor Department JOLTS report shows 5.133 million job openings on the last business day of February, versus 4.965 million in January.
Consumer credit rose a $15.5 billion in February, mainly on autos and government acquisition of student loans. Revolving credit fell $-3.7 billion, which seems to be bad news for consumer spending, especially as revolving credit has fallen in four of the last five months.
Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose to 3.4% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 3.0%.
Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index fell -3 points to -2 in March.
So, a few things have caught my attention over the last couple of days. None of them are related. They’re all just sort or random things I noticed in passing.
In response to the SJW freak-out over the owner of Memories Pizza in Indiana, Dana Loesch started a GoFundMe for the pizza shop that got over $800,000 in pledges. This made one SJW named John Furr unhappy.
So, Mr. Furr tweeted how upset he was that GoFundMe allowed this project to be accepted and completed. He’s so upset that, even though he’s used the site for his prog-lefty fundraising, he’s going to boycott them from now on. Sure, he found the site useful to dredge up what money he could from his SJW sympathizers, but now that someone with an opposing political view has used the site, it’s become too corrupted to have anything to do with.
Apparently, it’s not enough for GoFundMe to be neutral in this political issue, and go about their business of allowing anyone to needs funding within their TOS to obtain it. Neutrality, is, in his view, just as evil as opposition in his quest for transcendental justice, I guess.
Think about what that implies. Either you give full-blown support to the appropriate Lefty causes or you’re simply an enemy. That’s the totalitarian face of the progressive Left. They aren’t interested in “tolerance”. They require approval. If you don’t want to weigh in and stand on the sidelines…well, that’s not good enough. You’re either all-in or you’re a class traitor. So, don’t kid yourself that they won’t come for you if they obtain the power to do so. You won’t get to be left alone.
These SJWs are totalitarians who demand a rigid conformity, and demonize anyone who won’t mouth the appropriate political line.
The Left could not be more effective at fomenting civil war in this country if they were trying to do so.
Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, has been made into a movie, and they showed it on FOXNews over the Easter weekend. It was weird.
In the movie, Jesus kind of announces himself to the world by having Peter haul in a butt-load of fish in a single cast. Nobody had seen anything like it. Anyway, the Sanhedrin convinces Pilate to crucify Jesus, and he’s put in the tomb, with the High Priest asking for Roman soldiers to guard the tomb to ensure the disciples don’t steal the body and claim he came back from the dead.
A couple of days later, some folks go to the tomb, where the stone has been rolled away, and the corpse is gone, with an empty shroud just laying there. The very next scene, Peter is back in Galilee, fishing, and looking all sad and puppy-like. Then, a whole bunch of fish swim into his net. He hauls in his record catch, and yells over to one of the other disciples, “He has returned!” Except that he, you know, hadn’t. So, basically, the whole Resurrection deal was just…disappeared from the movie.
Now, look, the Resurrection is kind of a Big Deal in Christianity. One might almost say that Christianity without the Resurrection is pointless. I mean, if you’re gonna do a Jesus movie, and play it on Easter Frickin’ Sunday, you might think that some mention would be made of the couple of hundred people or so whom the Bible asserts actually saw and spoke with Jesus for about a month after the crucifixion, or watched him fly up into heaven. But, you’d be wrong. The body just disappeared—with hints that the disciples took it—and the whole resurrection deal was symbolic thing, rather than Resurrected Jesus walking up to people and saying, “Yeah, It’s me. No really, poke my spear-holes of you don’t believe me!”
I found it odd that this Killing Jesus deal was hyped as some sort of authoritative look at Jesus life, and they just elided the whole Resurrection thing away. On Easter Sunday.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia made a strange statement. They are suspending their report on state-level leading and coincident indicators. Why?
The recent benchmark data revisions from the Bureau of Labor Statistics produced greater changes to the Philadelphia Fed’s estimating methodology than are typical. While estimates for most states do appear to be reasonable, those for some states are not.
In other words, the BLS has “adjusted” the data so badly that they don’t make any sense, and the Fed can’t use them to produce the state leading and coincident indicators index. They are, in short, worthless. The BLS, of course, says they give us the real scoop, without any of that nasty political data massaging.
Apparently, the Philly Fed disagrees.
Sally Kohn is an NYU law school graduate. But, I’m going to assume it was the NYU School of Legal Things and Stuff for Kids That Don’t Think Too Good, because today she wrote this:
You could also argue that the government is forcing you to drive below the speed limit or wear a seatbelt in your car. But it’s not. There isn’t a police officer holding a gun to your head literally forcing you to buckle up. In fact, you are 100 percent free to speed and not wear your seatbelt—and simply deal with the consequences if you’re pulled over. Is the threat of the fine for breaking the law amount to “forcing” you to follow the law? No.
This definition of “force” contravenes literally everything we know about how law—and language—works. The whole point of having laws is to engage you with whatever force is necessary to stop you from, or punishing you for, disobeying them. You can’t even spell “law enforcement” without “force”.
So, the key takeaway: Progressives aren’t just raging totalitarians…they are dumber than wet stumps.