Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

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Economic Statistics for 21 May 15

Existing home sales fell -3.3 % in April to a worse-than-expected 5.04 million annual rate, as weakness continues in the housing sector.

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey fell -0.8 points in May to 6.7.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators jumped 0.7% in April, mainly on increases in building permits. Oddly, the jump in permits hasn’t yet shown up as strength in the constructions sector.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index fell -8 points in May to a deeply negative -13.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index improved from -0.42 in March to a still-negative -0.15 in April.

May’s flash reading for the PMI manufacturing index fell -0.4 points to a 16-month low of 53.8.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 10,000 to 274,000. The 4-week average fell 5,500 to 266,250. Continuing claims fell 12,000 to 2.211 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index slipped -1.1 points in the May 17 week to 42.4.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-20.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.480 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $4.0 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $22.8 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 19 May 15

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index fell -2 points in May to 54.

April housing starts soared 20.2% to a much better than expected 1.135 million annual rate, while permits were 1.143 million.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales softened to 1.8% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s already-soft 2.1%.


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Economic Statistics for 15 May 15

The Empire State Manufacturing survey for May pulled out of negative territory, but only to a soft 3.09 from -1.19.

Industrial production fell for the 5th straight month in April, down -0.3%, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factory’s fell -0.2% to 78.2.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index plunged from 95.9 to 88.6 in May.

E-Commerce retail sales rose 3.5% in the 1st Quarter of 2015, with year-on-year growth of 14.5%.

Foreign demand for long-term US securities rose $17.6 billion in March. China reclaimed the top spot from Japan as holders of US bonds.


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Economic Statistics for 14 May 15

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 1,000 to 264,000. The 4-week average fell 7,750 to 271,750. Continuing claims were unchanged at 2.229 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.2 points to 43.5 in the latest week.

Producer Prices for Final Demand fell -0.4% in April. PPI-FD less food and energy fell -0.2%, but rose 0.1% less food, energy and trade services. Goods prices fell -0.7%, and Services prices fell -0.1%. On a year over year basis:

PPI-FD: -1.3%
Less Food and Energy: 0.8%
Less Food, Energy, Trade Services: 0.7%
Goods: -5.5%
Services: 0.9%

 The Fed’s balance sheet rose $28.5 billion last week, with total assets of $4.501 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $6.3 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $27.6 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 13 May 15

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -3.5% last week, with purchases down -0.2% and refis down -6.0%.

Retail sales were unchanged in April, while sales less autos rose 0.1% and sales less auto and gas were up 0.2%. All of these numbers were, obviously, below expectations.

April export prices fell -0.6%, while import prices fell -0.3%. On a year-over-year basis, prices are down -6.3% for exports, and -10.7% for imports.

The Atlanta Fed’s Business Inflation Expectations survey shows yearly inflation expected at 1.9% in May, up from 1.7% in April.

Business Inventories rose 0.1% in March, while a 0.4% increase in sales lowered the stock-to-sales ratio a tick to 1.37.


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Economic Statistics for 12 May 15

The Fed’s Labor Market Conditions Index fell from -0.3 to -1.9 in April, remaining in negative territory for two consecutive months.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose to a better, but still-soft 2.1% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.6%.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose solidly in April, up 1.7 points to a higher-than-expected 96.9.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) softened unexpectedly to 4.994 million in March from 5.133 million in February.

The Treasury’s budget for April showed a higher-than-expected surplus of $156.7 billion. Individual income taxes are up a year-on-year 12.9%. Corporate taxes, which make up only 9.3% of receipts, are up 11.8%. Total receipts are up 8.9%. Spending, meanwhile, increased 6.4%, led by an 8.2% increase in Medicare. Defense spending is down 3.0% from last year.


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Economic Statistics for 8 May 15

Wholesale inventories rose 0.1%, but a -0.2% drop is sales leaves the stock-to-sales ratio at a chubby 1.30.

The March Employment Situation shows 223,000 net new jobs created, with the unemployment rate dropping -0.1% to 5.4%. Labor force participation rose a tick to 62.8%, which is still at 1978 levels. Average hourly earnings rose just 0.1%, while the average workweek is unchanged at 34.5 hours. The already weak February report was revised sharply downwards to 85,000 net new jobs from the already weak initial report of 126,000.


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