Dale Franks’ QandO posts
Net foreign demand for long-term US securities rose $33.5 billion in November, versus $-1.4 billion in October.
The December Consumer Price Index fell -0.4%, mainly on declines in energy prices, with prices less food and energy unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 0.7% overall, and 1.6% at the core.
The Fed reports that December industrial production fell by -0.1%, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell from 80.1% to 79.7%.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose 4.6 points to 98.2, the highest level since January 2004.
Initial weekly jobless claims rose 19,000 to 316,000. The 4-week average rose 6,750 to 298,000. Continuing claims fell 51,000 to 2.424 million.
Producer Prices for Final Demand fell -0.3% in December. Prices less food and energy rose 0.3%, while prices less food, energy, and trade services rose 0.1%. Prices for goods declined -1.2% while prices for services rose 0.2%. On a year-over-year basis, PPI-FD is up 1.1% overall, while prices less food and energy rose 2.1%, and prices less food, energy, and trade services rose 1.4%. Prices for goods fell 1.2% from last year, while prices for services rose 2.2%.
The Empire State manufacturing index rose from December’s contractionary reading of -3.58 to an expansionary 9.95 in January.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.8 points to 45.4 in the latest week, the highest reading since mid-2007.
The general business conditions index of the Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey fell sharply in January, from 24.5 to 6.3.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $16.6 billion last week, with total assets of 4.516 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $3.2 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $39.9 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that falling rates led to an explosion of mortgage applications, up 49.1% last week, with purchases up 24.0% and refis 66.0%.
Retail sales fell a disappointing -0.9% in December. Sales less autos fell -1.0%, while sales less autos and gas fell -0.3%.
Declining oil prices sent export prices down -1.2% in December, while import prices plunged -3.2%. On a year-over-year basis, Export prices are down -2.5% while import prices are down -5.5%.
The Atlanta Fed’s Business Inflation Expectations survey shows inflation expectations of 1.7% in January, down from December’s 1.9%.
Business inventories rose 0.2% in November, while a -0.2% drop in sales left the stock-to-sales ratio at a moderate 1.31.
The Fed’s latest Beige Book says that economic activity continues to expand at a “modest” or “moderate” rate.
Redbook reports that retail sales continue to slow, rising 3.8% on a year-ago basis, from last week’s 4.3%.
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose from 98.1 to 100.4 in December, the highest level since October 2006.
The Labor Department’s JOLTS report shows 4.972 million job openings on the last business day of November.
The U.S. Treasury monthly budget report for December shows a $1.9 billion surplus for the month, as receipts rose 11%.
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The economy added 252,000 net new jobs in December, while the unemployment rate dipped to 5.6%. Average hourly earnings fell -0.2% while the average workweek was unchanged at 34.6 hours. The fall in the unemployment rate can mainly be attributed to the fact that 273,000 people left the labor force, brining the labor force participation rate down to 62.7%. That’s the second time in the last four months the participation rate has been that low, a level not previously seen since February, 1978.
Wholesale inventories rose 0.8% in November, while a -0.3% decline in sales pushed the stock-to-sales ratio up to a porky 1.21.
Chain stores reporting sales today are generally showing mostly higher rates of year-on-year sales growth in December.
Challenger’s count of layoff announcements for December totals 32,640 vs 35,940 in November and 30,623 in December 2013.
Gallup’s US Payroll to Population rate for December was 44.3%, virtually unchanged from November’s 44.2%.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell 4,000 to 294,000. The 4-week average fell 250 to 290,500. Continuing claims rose 101,000 to 2.452 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.9 points to 43.6 in the latest week, the highest level in seven years.
Consumer credit rose $14.1 billion in November, but revolving credit fell $-0.9 billion, the second contraction in the last four months.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $1.9 billion last week, with total assets of $4.5 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-0.6 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $12 billion in the latest week.
The US Trade deficit narrowed to $-39.0 billion in November from October’s $-43.4 billion, largely on falling oil prices.
The minutes of the December 16–17 meeting indicate moderate economic growth, with restrained inflation and still-weak job market. Discussions about the timing of coming interest rate hikes, with indications that interest rate increases could come even with inflation below 2%, indicate rate increases are possible this year.
ADP estimates that private payrolls grew by 241,000 in December, versus November’s 208,000, but recent ADP figures have overstated those in the government’s official Employment Situation report.
Gallup’s Job Creation Index fell -1 point to 27 in December, in contrast to ADP.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -9.1% last week, with purchases down -5.0% and refis down -12.0%.