The Philly Fed Current Business Outlook Survey came out at a print of 35.9 compared to 19.3 before, and expectations of 21.0. This print is the highest reading since January 2004. Yet the only component metric that matters is, you guessed it, the Prices Paid index, which came at a ridiculous 67.2 from 54.3 previously! The prices paid index, which increased 13 points in February, has now increased 55 points over the past five months. And confirming the crush in margins was the in the prices received index which tacked on a barely notable 3.9 points to 21. The Prices Paid less Prices Received spread is the highest since 1979! It is time for the sellside clown brigade to start lowering margins with gusto.
From the report:
The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, increased from 19.3 in January to 35.9 this month. This is the highest reading since January 2004 (see Chart). The demand for manufactured goods is showing continued strength: Although the new orders index was virtually unchanged in February, it has increased over the past six months. The shipments index also improved markedly, increasing 22 points. Firms also reported a rise in unfilled orders and longer delivery times this month.
On margin deterioration:
Price increases for inputs as well as firms’ own manufactured goods were more widespread again this month. Sixty?seven percent of the firms reported higher prices for inputs, compared with 54 percent in the previous month. The prices paid index, which increased 13 points in February, has now increased 55 points over the past five months. On balance, firms also reported a rise in prices for their own manufactured goods. The prices received index increased 4 points and has steadily increased over the past four months. Twenty?nine percent of firms reportedhigher prices for their own goods this month, compared to 26 percent in January.
And the margin grim reaper: Prices Paid less Prices Received – highest since 1979.
And once gross margins go, EPS is next to follow.