201706.21
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Committing To A World Without 3%

When President Trump nominated Congressman Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services he created a vacancy in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. After no candidate secured a majority in the first round of voting, a runoff was to take place yesterday among the top two contenders. Republican Karen Handel squared off against Democrat Jon…

201705.31
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When Up Or Down Might Not Matter

Many surveys of especially manufacturer sentiment were for most of the past few years highly volatile in their month-to-month changes. It wasn’t at all unusual for the Chicago Business Barometer, for example, to be up big one month and then down just as much if not more the next. What was important was not those…

201705.30
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Not A Cycle; Weakness Produces Further Weakness No Matter How Confident

If economists are hoping for more than signs of wage acceleration, revisions to the Personal Income data series are going to make it that much harder to justify still seeing them. Income was revised lower across-the-board. The base effect of oil prices that had been supporting “reflation” may have had the opposite effect on consumers….

201705.11
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Hopefully Not Another Three Years

The stock market has its earnings season, the regular quarterly reports of all the companies that have publicly traded stocks. In economic accounts, there is something similar though it only happens once a year. It is benchmark revision season, and it has been brought to a few important accounts already. Given that this is a…

201705.02
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Auto Pressure Ramps Up

The Los Angeles Times today asked the question only the mainstream would ask. “Wages are growing and surveys show consumer confidence is high. So why are motor vehicle sales taking a hit?” Indeed, the results reported earlier by the auto sector were the kind of sobering figures that might make any optimist wonder. Across the…

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…