201704.18
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Now You Tell Us

As we move further into 2017, economic statistics will be subject to their annual benchmark revisions. High frequency data such as any accounts published on or about a single month is estimated using incomplete data. It’s just the nature of the process. Over time, more comprehensive survey results as well as upgrades to statistical processes…

201704.12
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Is It Other Than Madness?

As earnings season begins for Q1 2017 reports, there isn’t much change in analysts’ estimates for S&P 500 companies for that quarter. The latest figures from S&P shows expected earnings (as reported) of $26.70 in Q1, as compared to $26.87 two weeks ago. That is down only $1 from October, which is actually pretty steady…

201704.03
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A Second Confidence Experiment

The ISM Manufacturing Index declined slightly for March 2017, pulling back by 0.5 points after registering a multi-year high in February. The difference between the index and troubling auto sales, for example, is another reminder of what is truly a large disparity between economic statistics and sentiment. The ISM version of a PMI is considered…

201704.03
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Rational Auto Theory

JD Power and LMC Automotive were expecting total new vehicle sales to rise 2.4% year-over-year in March, a small turnaround of sorts for the way auto sales have gone so far in 2017. Both new retail auto sales as well as overall sales were slightly negative January and February, so any positive number would be…

201703.24
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Durable Goods After Leap Year

New orders for durable goods (not including transportation orders) were up 1% year-over-year in February. That is less than the (revised) 4.4% growth in January, but as with all comparisons of February 2017 to February 2016 there will be some uncertainty surrounding the comparison to the leap year version. That would suggest that orders as…

201703.24 4

The Inverse of Keynes

With nearly all of the S&P 500 companies having reported their Q4 numbers, we can safely claim that it was a very bad earnings season. It may seem incredulous to categorize the quarter that way given that EPS growth (as reported) was +29%, but even that rate tells us something significant about how there is,…

201703.22
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The Confidence In Confidence

Why aren’t there more homes for sale? The lack of inventory continues to stifle the real estate market, but there aren’t any good reasons offered for what seems on the surface a bit of a paradox. The total volume of resales, according to the National Association of Realtors, was in the prior month (January 2017)…

201703.06
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Manufacturing Back To 2014

The ISM Manufacturing PMI registered 57.7 in February 2017, the highest value since August 2014 (revised). It was just slightly less than that peak in the 2014 “reflation” cycle. Given these comparisons, economic narratives have been spun further than even the past few years where “strong” was anything but. The ISM’s gauge of orders increased…

201703.01
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Talking About Drugs Backward

The greatest mistake any statistician can make is to confuse correlation for causation. It is quite natural to do so, of course, a limitation not limited to modern society where information can at times seem limitless. There are also cases where you are left with little other alternative. But within them requires even more robust…

201702.27
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Durable Goods Groundhog

If the economy is repeating the after-effects of the latest “dollar” events, and it does seem more and more to be that case, then analysis starts with identifying a range for where it might be in the repetition. New orders for durable goods (ex transportation) rose 4.3% year-over-year in January 2017 (NSA, only 2.4% SA),…