Posts Tagged ‘Economic Data’
In the week ending December 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 343,000, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 372,000. The 4-week moving average was 381,500, a decrease of 27,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 408,500.
Let’s have a peek at the big table….
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Retail Trade: Uh, Where’s The Sales?
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $412.4 billion, an increase of 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month and 3.7 percent (±0.7%) above November 2011. Total sales for the September through November 2012 period were up 4.3 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The September to October 2012 percent change was unrevised from -0.3 percent (±0.2%).
I don’t like this number much, albeit the headline number looks ok.
It’s all autos — ex-autos the number was flat.
The bigger issue is that food and bevereage and general merchandise (think “department stores”) were both down, with the latter down 0.9% monthly. November includes Black Friday!
Online’s share continued to increase, however. I guess if there’s a “bright spot” it’s there.
Note that without seasonal adjustment the figures for general merchandise were up, but they darn well better be given the “start of the holiday season.”
My overall take? Shrug.
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PPI: -0.8% (!)
The Producer Price Index for finished goods fell 0.8 percent in November, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Prices for finished goods decreased 0.2 percent in October and rose 1.1 percent in September. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods declined 1.2 percent in November, and the crude goods index edged up 0.1 percent. On an unadjusted basis, the finished goods index advanced 1.5 percent for the 12 months ended November 2012, the smallest increase since a 0.5-percent rise for the 12 months ended July 2012. (See table A.)
Ah, a look inside tells the tale — the bottom line is that it’s all energy. Foods were up 1.%; ex-food and energy the index was up 0.1%, or basically flat.
Of course nobody actually eats anything, right?
Within the internals trend shifts are evident in energy prices, which is good (they’re coming down) but the paradox is that this usually signals internal economic weakness.
The interesting internal trend here is the compression of margins in the food category, which now has been going on since July. This too is an indicator of economic weakness.
There’s nothing that stands out in this report, other than those two markers — but they are simply further confirmation of the regional fed indices that I’ve been warning about since the summer.
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PPI: -0.2%; Are We All Clear?
The Producer Price Index for finished goods declined 0.2 percent in October, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Prices for finished goods increased 1.1 percent in September and 1.7 percent in August. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods edged down 0.1 percent in October, and the crude goods index moved up 0.9 percent. On an unadjusted basis, the finished goods index advanced 2.3 percent for the 12 months ended October 2012, the largest rise since a 2.8-percent increase for the 12 months ended March 2012. (See table A.)
Hmmmm… The table shows a 0.4% increase in foods, offset by a 0.5% decrease in energy and a -0.2% decrease in everything else.
The decrease was led in the core by a decrease in pricing for new vehicles. That’s an interesting change in trend, and may indicate that pricing power has exhausted in the vehicle space. If so the results in the car makers over the next three or so months should be apparent.
One month does not make a trend, but this is not positive.
The other interesting point is that crude goods, which had been decreasing through the “belly” of 2012, were basically flat-lined on a 12-month basis while Intermediate goods on core were flat as well.
The report is overall neutral with one cautionary note, and that is to watch the autos in December and January when the retail trade figures come out for those months to see if this bleeds through into final demand.
Retail Sales: -0.3%
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $411.6 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, but 3.8 percent (±0.7%) above October 2011. Total sales for the August through October 2012 period were up 4.7 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The August to September 2012 percent change was revised from 1.1 percent (±0.5%) to 1.3 percent (±0.2%).
Retail trade sales were down 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from September 2012, but 3.8 percent (±0.8%) above last year. Gasoline stations sales were up 7.7 percent (±1.7%) from October 2011 and nonstore retailers were up 7.2 percent (±3.0%) from last year.
I find this an interesting report for a number of reasons, with one of the most-interesting being the distribution of gains. For example, the gross gain from October 2011 was $20.418 billion.
Gasoline was $3.76 billion of that increase. Autos were $5.955 billion; between the two that was nearly half of the advance.
In general the report was quite a bit more-solid that I had originally expected, given that Sandy was in there. Another point is that unadjusted sales were actually up 3.5% — so beware the so-called “seasonal adjustments” as well.
Verdict: Neutral to mildly-positive, which probably explains the market basically ignoring the release.
As I have repeatedly observed my favorite part of the Durable Goods survey is the communications equipment component, because it has a high correlation with hiring – that is, actual employment expansion. Since the population expands about 1% a year this series should show clear, convincing and consistent growth.
New orders for manufactured durable goods in April decreased $7.1 billion or 3.6 percent to $189.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down two of the last three months, followed a 4.4 percent March increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 1.5 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 3.6 percent.
Yuck. What’s even worse is here:
Nondefense new orders for capital goods in April decreased $5.3 billion or 7.3 percent to $67.6 billion.
Remember, this series is adjusted for seasonality but not inflation. So subtract off the CPI from that number, since that’s a negative adjustment.
The table shows some nasty figures:
Find me a positive number in the new orders column. Ok, ok, “computers and electronic products” - up 0.7%. Everything else…. not. And note, that’s in “electronic products”, not computers themselves, which were down 4.4%.
This report is terrible folks, especially coming in the “meat” of the “QE2″ program.
Service sector activity slowed in May, according to the latest survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Retail sales dwindled as shopper traffic dropped sharply; big ticket sales remained in decline. Revenues also weakened at non-retail services firms. Looking ahead six months, retail merchants pulled back from their optimism of a month ago. Non-retail services providers maintained a positive outlook, but were less upbeat than in April.
Service sector revenues softened in May, pulling the index to 9 from 28.
The internals were NASTY on retail traffic and sales:
Retail sales cooled in May, as shopper traffic fell sharply. The revenues index slashed twenty-one points from last month’s reading, ending the survey period at 3. The index for shopper traffic plummeted from 34 to -29 in May. In addition, falling big-ticket sales remained a drag on overall sales revenues. The big-ticket index faltered once again, finishing at -27, compared to April’s -31.
That’s outright contraction and not in a small way either.
Recession indicator? Yep. Look at the deterioration in the retail indicators:
Revenues down, wage demand up, big ticket sales in the trashcan and shopper traffic collapsed.
“Here it comes”