Majority of Economic Data found at www.haver.com
Friday, June 23rd
The Conference Board reported that its INDEX OF LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS rose 0.3% during May (3.5% y/y),
this after rising 0.2% in April. Eight of the ten components that comprise the LEI increased including, in order of impact were
the interest rate spread, the ISM New Orders Index, average consumer expectations for business conditions, the Leading Credit Index
(inverted), stock prices, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), manufacturers’ new orders for consumer
goods and materials, and materials and manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft. The negative
contributor was building permits while the average weekly manufacturing hours remained unchanged during May. According to
Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, “the U.S. LEI continued on its
upward trend in May, suggesting the economy is likely to remain on, or perhaps even moderately above, its long-term trend of about
two percent growth for the remainder of the year.”
Thursday, June 22nd
INITIAL CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS for the week ended June 10th rose 3,000 to 241,000 from a revised
238,000 one week prior. Initial claims for unemployment benefits have remained below 300,000 for one-hundred-twenty
consecutive weeks, the longest streak since 1970. Meanwhile, the four-week rolling average rose 1,500 to 244,750 from 243,250 one
week prior. Continuing claims for the week ending June 10th rose 8,000 to 1,944,000 from 1,936,000 while the continuing claims
four-week average rose 5,000 to 1,932,000 from 1,927,000.
Wednesday, June 21st
SALES OF EXISTING HOMES rose 60,000 during the month of May to 5.620 million from 5.560 million one month prior.
Over the past year Sales of Existing Homes have risen 2.7%. During calendar year 2016 there were 5.452 million sales of existing
homes, the highest level since 2006. According to Haver Analytics, “the number of homes on the market declined 8.4% y/y to
1.960 million. The months’ sales supply of homes improved to 4.2, the highest level since October.” The median existing-home
sales price rose 3.18% (5.8% y/y) or $7,890 to $252,800 in May from $245,000 during April.
Friday, June 16th
HOUSING STARTS fell 5.54% or 64,000 to 1,092,000 during May, as compared to 1,156,000 in April. Over the past year
Housing Starts have fallen 2.6%. Calendar year 2016 starts rose by 1,116,000, the highest since August 2007 and more than double
- Of note is the fact that there must be approximately 100,000 housing starts per year just to replace those lost to natural causes,
man-induced causes or by the growing U.S. population. During May, Single-family housing starts fell 3.87% or 32,000 to 794,000
from 826,000. Multi-family housing starts fell 32,000 or 9.70% to 298,000 in May from 330,000 during April. BUILDING
PERMITS, a preview of future housing starts fell 4.89% to 1,168,000 during May from 1,228,000 one month prior.
The University of Michigan reported that the PRELIMINARY JUNE READING OF CONSUMER SENTIMENT slipped to a
level of 93.5 from a final May 97.1 as well as from a preliminary May 97.7. The preliminary June expectations component fell to
84.7 from a final May 87.7 and from a preliminary May 88.1. Lastly, the preliminary June current conditions component fell to
109.6 from a final May level of 111.7 as well as from a preliminary May 112.7.
Thursday, June 15th
U.S. Import Prices fell 0.3% during May, this after rising 0.2% in April. Over the past year U.S. Import Prices have risen 2.1%.
Petroleum prices fell 3.9% during May (16.2% y/y). Export prices fell 0.7% during May (1.4%y/y). Agricultural export prices
fell 1.6% in May (0.1% y/y), this after rising 0.1% in April. Non-Agricultural Export Prices fell 0.6% in May but rose by 1.5% y/y.
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, a measure of strength of the manufacturing, factory and utility sectors, rose 0.0% during May,
this after rising 1.1% during April, respectively (2.1% y/y). CAPACITY UTILIZATION edged down to 76.6% during May from
76.7% in April and as compared to 75.6% y/y. Finally, MANUFACTURING CAPACITY fell to 75.5% during May from 75.8%
in April and vs.75.0% one year ago and as compared to a recession low 65.4%. On a side note, the nation’s mines, factories and
utilities operated at an average of 80.4% of capacity from 1972 to 2009.
Wednesday, June 14th
RETAIL SALES fell 0.3% during May, this after rising a 0.4% during April (6.0% y/y). Spending on MOTOR VEHICLE &
PARTS fell 0.2% (6.8% y/y) while RETAIL SALES EXCLUDING AUTOS fell 0.3% (5.8% y/y). NON-AUTOS LESS
GASOLINE, Retail Sales fell 0.0% during May (5.8% y/y). Two key components of this report, RETAIL SALES AT GASOLINE
STATIONS fell 2.4% during May (6.5%y/y) while FOOD SERVICE AND DRINKING PLACE SALES fell 0.1% during May
The Commerce Department reported that BUSINESS INVENTORIES fell 0.2% during April (2.3% y/y), this after rising 0.2%
during March, while BUSINESS SALES rose 0.0% in April (5.6% y/y). This relationship between business inventories as compared
to sales helped keep the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO at 1.37 months during April, unchanged versus March and as compared
to 1.42 months one year ago. The manufacturing inventory-to-sales ratio rose to 1.38 months in April, up from 1.37 months during
March and as compared to 1.41 months one year ago.
The CONSUMER PRICE INDEX fell 0.1% during May (1.9% y/y), this follows a gain of 0.2% in April. A key component of the
CPI, energy prices fell 2.7% (5.4% y/y) during May, this after rising 1.1% during April. Food and beverage prices rose 0.2% in May
(0.9% y/y). Ex- food and energy, the core CPI rose 0.1% in May, by 0.1% during April and by 1.7% y/y.
Tuesday, June 13th
The PRODUCER PRICE INDEX rose 0.0% during May, this after rising 0.5% during April. Over the past year the PPI has risen
2.4%. Energy prices fell 3.0% in May (7.6% y/y), this after rising 0.8% in April. Finished food prices fell 0.2% during May (0.9%
y/y). Excluding food and energy, the so-called core PPI rose 0.3% in May (2.1% y/y). Prices for INTERMEDIATE GOODS rose
0.1% (4.8% y/y) during May.
Friday, June 9th
The Commerce Department reported that WHOLESALE INVENTORIES fell 0.5% during April, this after rising 0.1% during
March and by 1.6% y/y. WHOLESALE SALES fell 0.4% during April, by 0.2% during March but has risen 7.3% y/y. This
relationship between wholesale inventories as compared to sales helped keep the INVENTORY-TO-SALES RATIO at 1.28 months
during April as compared to March ry and versus 1.35 months one year ago.
Wednesday, June 7th
The Federal Reserve reported that CONSUMER CREDIT grew by $8.20 billion during April, this after rising $19.54 billion in
March. Over the past year Consumer Credit has risen 5.8%. The calendar year 2016 increase of 6.4% follows gains of 6.9% during
2015, 7.0% during 2014 as well as gains of 7.2% and 6.1% during 2013 and 2012, respectively. According to Haver Analytics,
“annualized, credit growth averaged 8% during the fifteen years ended 2007. Over an even longer time period that increase does not
loom particularly large. However, against an average of 5% growth in disposable income during those years, it precipitated a rise in
the ratio to disposable income to 24% from a longer term norm of 17%.” Non-revolving Credit (automobiles, consumer durables
and student loans), which accounts for nearly two-thirds of total consumer credit, rose by $6.66 billion during April and by 5.9% y/y
while revolving credit (credit cards) rose $1.53 billion during April and by 5.7% y/y.
Monday, June 5th
U.S. FACTORY ORDERS fell 0.2% during the month of April, this after slipping 0.2% in March. Meanwhile, SHIPMENTS
rose 0.0% during April. The fact that orders fell while shipments remained unchanged resulted in a 0.1% rise in INVENTORIES
(backlog) and a 0.2% increase in UNFILLED ORDERS.
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of non-manufacturing (service) sector activity fell to 56.9% in May
as compared to 57.5% during April. The level recorded during May is far above the 37.2 recorded during Q4-2008 in a sector
that employs 80% of the U.S. workforce. Of note were New Orders (57.7% v. 63.2%), Employment (57.8% v. 51.4%), Business
Activity (60.7% v. 62.4%), and Backlog of Orders (57.0% v. 53.5%). The Prices Paid Component fell to 49.2% from 57.6%.
Friday, June 2nd
NON-FARM PAYROLLS (approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce) rose by 138,000 during May, below the consensus estimate
of 175,000. Payroll gains for the prior two months were revised to 174,000 and 50,000 from 211,000 and 79,000 for a net revised
loss of 66,000 jobs during April and March, respectively. The May numbers along with the revisions the prior two months resulted
in a three month average of 121,000. PRIVATE SECTOR companies created 147,000 jobs as the PUBLIC SECTOR shed 9,000.
Payrolls for the month ending May, 2014 showed total nonfarm payrolls set an all-time high, eclipsing the prior peak set back in
January 2008. That 76 month stretch was the longest since the Great Depression. Payroll data was influenced by the manufacturing
(-1,000), construction (11,000), and the private service producing sectors (131,000). The retail industry lost 6,100 during May (0.1%
y/y). Meanwhile, the UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ticked down to 4.3% during May as compared to 4.4% during April, its lowest
since May 2001. According to the household survey, employment fell 233,000 during May (1.2% y/y) while the labor force fell by
429,000 (0.8% y/y). This helped push the LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE down to 62.7% during May from 62.9% in
April. The average for this ratio was 67.1% from 1997 to 2000. The UNDEREMPLOYMENT RATE, which includes the
unemployed as well as those who were either marginally attached to the labor force or were involuntarily working part-time
(Table A-15) fell to 8.4% in May as compared to 8.6% during April and versus a seasonally adjusted 9.4% one year prior.
AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS (Table B) rose 0.15% or $0.04 to $26.22 from $26.18 during May and have risen by $0.63
or 2.46% from $25.59 one year ago. This helped push AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS up 0.15% to $901.97 during May from
$900.59 in April. Average Weekly Earnings over the past year have risen by $21.67 or 2.46% to $901.97 from $880.30. AVERAGE
HOURS WORKED remained at 34.4 during May as compared to April and versus 34.4 hours one year ago. Also of note was the
fact that the manufacturing week (Table B-7) held steady at 41.8 hours during May as compared to April and versus 41.9 hours one
year ago. The AVERAGE DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT (Table A-12) rose to 24.7 weeks during May as compared to 24.1
weeks one month prior while the MEDIAN DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT rose to 10.4 weeks during May as compared to
10.2 weeks one month prior.
The U.S. TRADE DEFICIT widened to $47.6 billion during April from $45.3 billion during March. The value of EXPORTS
fell 0.26% to $190.5 billion from $191.0 billion while the value of IMPORTS rose 0.80% to $238.6 billion during April from $236.7
billion in March. According to Haver Analytics, “petroleum imports, by contrast, dropped 12.2% in the month, although they were up
45.2% y/y. This reflected an increase in the price of crude petroleum of 53.7% to $45.40 from $29.53 in April 2016. The quantity of
energy-related petroleum product imports fell 1.4% y/y.” Our trade deficit with China widened to $27.6 billion during April from
$24.3 billion one year ago.
Thursday, June 1st
The Institute for Supply Management’s composite index of manufacturing sector activity edged up to 54.9% during May from
54.8% in April. Generally speaking, “a reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is expanding; below50%
indicates that it is generally contracting.” Of note were the changes in New Orders (59.5% v. 57.5%), Production (57.1% v. 58.6%),
Supplier Deliveries (inverse, indicates faster delivery times) (53.1% v. 55.1%), Inventories (51.5% v. 51.0%) and Employment
(53.5% v. 52.0%). The Prices Paid Component fell to 60.5% during May as compared to 68.5% in April.
U.S. CONSTRUCTION SPENDING fell 1.4% during April, this after rising 1.18% during March. Over the past year
Construction Spending has risen 6.7%. Private Construction Spending fell 0.7% in April (10.4% y/y), this after rising 1.0%
during March. Private Residential Construction Spending fell 0.7% in April (16.0% y/y). Nonresidential Construction
Spending fell 0.6% (4.3% y/y) while Public Construction Spending slipped 3.7% in April (-4.4% y/y).
FIRST QUARTER PRODUCTIVITY was revised to unchanged from an initially recorded drop of 0.6%, down from a gain of 1.8%
during Q4 and as compared to 1.2% rise over the past twelvemonths. Meanwhile, HOURLY COMPENSATION rose at a revised
annualized rate of 2.2%, this as compared to an initial 2.4%, 3.1% during Q4 and 2.3% y/y. UNIT LABOR COSTS (defined as
output per hour of work and can be determined by dividing total labor costs by output) rose at a revised annualized rate of 2.2%, down from an initially reported 3.0% during Q1 as compared to the 2.2% increase during Q4 and versus 1.1% y/y.
Tuesday, May 30th
The CONFERENCE BOARD’S CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX fell to 117.9 during May (27.6% y/y) as compared to
119.4 in April. The present situation index rose to 140.7 in May from 140.3 in April and by 24.3% y/y while the expectations
component edged down to 102.6 during May from 105.4 in April, but has risen 30.7% y/y. Those surveyed saying that jobs are
“hard to get” improved to 18.2% of respondents during May from 19.4% during April while those claiming that jobs are “plentiful”
fell to 29.9% of respondents during May versus 30.3% in April.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that PERSONAL INCOME rose 0.4% during April (3.6% y/y), this after rising 0.2%
during March. DISPOSABLE PERSONAL INCOME (personal income less taxes) rose 0.4% (3.7% y/y), this after rising 0.2%
during March. The WAGE & SALARY COMPONENT rose 0.7% in April (3.7% y/y). PERSONAL CONSUMPTION which
represents approximately 70% of economic activity rose 0.4% in April, by 0.3% in March and by 4.3% y/y. PERSONAL SAVINGS
(Disposable Personal Income Less Outlays) rose at an annualized rate of 5.3% during April, by 5.3% during March and as compared
to 5.8% one year ago. The PCE CHAIN PRICE INDEX one of the Fed’s favorite measures of inflation rose 0.2% in April (1.7%
y/y), while the core PCE Chain Price Index rose 0.2% during April and by 1.5% y/y.
Friday, May 26th
ORDERS FOR DURABLE GOODS (those expected to last at least three years) fell 0.7% during April, this after rising 2.3%
during March. Smoothing out the m/m volatility, over the past year Orders for Durable Goods have risen 0.9%. Transportation
Orders fell 1.2% (-6.0% y/y) while Orders for NonDefense Capital Goods, Excluding Aircraft rose 0.0% (2.9% y/y) in April.
Orders for nondefense capital goods fell 1.9% during April (-2.6% y/y).
FIRST QUARTER GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, as reported by the Commerce Department, a tally of the output of all goods
and services in the United States, rose at a revised annualized rate of 1.2%, up from an initially reported 0.7% and as compared to
2.1% during Q4 and a year-over-year growth rate of 2.0%. FINAL SALES rose at a revised annualized pace of 2.2%, up from an
initially reported 1.6%, above the 1.1% recorded during Q4 and as compared to a growth rate of 2.2% y/y. GOVERNMENT
SPENDING fell at a revised annualized rate of 1.1%, an improvement over the initially recorded 1.7%, but nonetheless a sharp
drop the 0.2% in Q4 and as compared to –0.5% y/y. Meanwhile, the INVENTORY EFFECT subtracted a revised 1.0% from Q1
GDP, slightly worse than the 0.9% that was initially reported, versus an addition of 1.0% during Q4 and as compared to -0.2% y/y.
PERSONAL CONSUMPTION rose at a revised annualized rate of 0.6% during Q1 versus the initially reported 0.3%, down from
3.5% during Q4 and compared to a growth rate of 2.8% y/y. BUSINESS FIXED INVESTMENT, a key contributor to recent
economic growth, rose at a revised annualized rate of 11.4%, up from an initially recorded 9.4%, up from 0.9% in Q4 and versus 3.6%
y/y. The impact from FOREIGN TRADE added a revised 0.2% to Q1-GDP, twice the 0.1% that was initially reported, up from
-1.7% during Q4 and below the 0.1% drop y/y. RESIDENTIAL INVESTMENT rose at an annualized rate of 13.7% during Q1,
unrevised from the initial figure, up from 9.6% during Q4-2016 and versus a gain of 2.4% y/y. Finally, during Q1 the PCE Chained
GDP Price Index rose at a revised annualized rate of 2.2%, down from an initially reported 2.3%, slightly higher than the 2.1%
during Q4 as well as from the 2.0% y/y.
Tuesday, May 23rd
The Commerce Department reported that SALES OF NEW HOMES fell 73,000 to 569,000 during April from 642,000 during
March (0.5% y/y). Sales of New Homes have fallen by 55.51% from the peak in July 2005 of 1,279,000 units. According to Haver
Analytics, “the month’s supply of homes at the current sales rate rebounded sharply last month to 5.7, the highest point since
September 2015. The median number of months a new home was on the market increased to 3.7 (NSA), the highest level since last
June.” The median price of a new home fell $9,500 or 2.98% during April to $309,200 from $318,700 in March. Over the past year
the median price of a new home has fallen 3.8%.
Monday, May 1st
According to the Department of Labor, the EMPLOYMENT COST INDEX, a “measure of quarterly changes in compensation costs,
which include wages, salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits for civilian workers (non-farm private and state and local
government)” rose by 0.8% during the first quarter, this following an 0.5% increase during Q4-2016. The ECI has risen by 2.4% y/y.
The wages & salaries component (70% of ECI) rose by 0.8% during Q1 vs. 0.5% during Q4-2016 and as compared to 2.5% y/y.
The cost of benefits rose by 0.7% over the past quarter, this after rising 0.5% during Q4-2016 and by 2.5% y/y.
Glossary of Frequently Used Economic Terms
Strength of Dollar
A Weak Dollar increases exports while a Strong Dollar decreases exports. The reasoning is that a Weak dollar makes goods
and services cheaper abroad while a strong dollar makes exports more expensive abroad. A strong dollar also helps keep
inflation at bay by making imports cheaper, thereby helping keep wage and other inflationary pressures below the boiling
point. It also provides foreign Treasury buyers two ways to profit – through bond price and dollar appreciation.
A weak dollar can be inflationary since it makes imports more expensive. This, in turn, gives domestic companies
room to increase prices. Conversely, a strengthening dollar makes imports more competitive on a price basis.
“Let’s imagine the dollar quickly dropped by a further 25% against each major world currency, roughly parallel to housing’s unprecedented 30% decline. That would mean it would take $2 to buy a single euro. On the good side, U.S. manufacturers would find it easier to compete globally, and foreign tourism would boom in the U.S. On the bad side, inflation in the U.S. would zoom because of the rising cost of imported products. Americans would have even more trouble getting a loan as foreign buyers pull out of the debt market. Abroad, the cheap dollar would make it harder for other nations to export to the U.S., hurting their growth. China could face social unrest. Trade wars could break out.” (Business Week, What Happens If The Dollar Crashes; October 26, 2009)
An expanding trade deficit (imports exceeding exports) hurt the dollar because more dollars are held by foreigners. Some
fear that foreigners will tire of holding declining dollars and sell them for other currencies putting added pressure on the
greenback. In addition, foreign investors with U.S. assets are seeing those holdings decline as the dollar falls. As these investors sell these holdings and move to investments in other countries, it adds to selling pressure of the dollar.
Employment Cost Index
Compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is considered the most accurate measure of wages, salaries and benefits,
measuring compensation per hour, including wages, salaries and the cost of benefits – from health insurance to Social Security
contributions. Wages and salaries account for approximately seventy percent of the employment cost index with benefits
(health insurance and pension benefits) accounting for the rest.
The put-to-call ratio measures the sentiment of options traders. When the number of puts compared to calls is high, that
means that many traders think the market will go down. When call volume outnumbers puts, many think the market is going
to rise. Many use this as a contrarian indicator meaning that if options traders are too bullish, the market may actually fall.
Put option buyers bet that stocks will fall while call buyers bet that stocks will rise. Conversely put option sellers bet that
stocks will rise while call sellers bet that stocks will fall. Options buyers and sellers are subject to expiration dates. Buyers
of call options bet that a stock will be worth more than the price set by the option (the strike price), plus the price they pay for
the option itself. Buyers of put options bet that the stock’s price will drop below the price set by the option. When the
number of puts compared to calls is high, that means that many traders think the market will go down. When call volume
outnumbers puts, many think the market is going to rise. Many use this as a contrarian indicator meaning that
if options traders are too bullish, the market may actually fall.
Volatility Indices (^vix and ^vxn)
According to the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, the Volatility Index, “known by its ticker symbol “vix,” was
introduced by CBOE in 1993, and measures the volatility of the U.S. equity market. It provides investors with up-to-the-minute market estimates of expected volatility by using real-time OEX index option bid/ask quotes.”
The CBOE NASDAQ Volatility Index, known by its ticker symbol “vxn,” is the “benchmark of “tech stock” volatility based
on the implied volatility of the NASDAQ 100 Index options. Calculated using the same methodology as the CBOE Market
Volatility Index, the VXN is constructed so that, at any given time, it represents the implied volatility of a hypothetical at-the-money NDX option with thirty calendar days to expiration.”
Arms Index (^sti.n)
A contrarian index that indicates the bullishness or bearishness of investors. A reading below one indicates more action in
rising stocks and a figure above one indicates more action in declining stocks. As a contrarian indicator, a reading above one
is bullish for investors while a reading below one indicates bearishness.
Advancing Stocks / Declining Stocks + Advancing Volume / Declining Volume