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8 August 2018 Chainstore Sales Growth is Strong, but the Tax Cuts aren't Responsible (Publication Centre)

The release yesterday of the weekly Redbook chainstore sales report for the week ended Saturday August 4 means that we now have a complete picture of July sales.

24 January 2017 Chainstore Sales Growth is Trending Upwards, but not for Long (Publication Centre)

Now that the holidays are just a distant memory, the distortions they cause in an array of economic data are fading. The problems are particularly acute in the weekly data­ -- mortgage applications, chainstore sales and jobless claims -- because Christmas Day falls on a different day of the week each year.

18 September 2018 Chainstore Sales Growth has Jumped Thank the Tax Cuts (Publication Centre)

The first estimate of retail sales growth in August was weaker than implied by the Redbook chainstore sales survey, but our first chart shows that the difference between the numbers was well within the usual margin of error.

22 May 2018 Chainstore Sales Growth has Surged, Thank Warmer Weather? (Publication Centre)

We have been pleasantly surprised by the recent Redbook chainstore sales numbers.

9 May 2017 Chainstore Sales Rebound Points to Robust Q2 Consumption (Publication Centre)

If the Redbook chain store sales survey moved consistently in line with the official core retail sales numbers, it would attract a good deal more attention in the markets. We appreciate that brick-and-mortar retailers are losing market share to online sellers, but the rate at which sales are moving to the web is quite steady and easy to accommodate when comparing the Redbook with the official data.

24 August. 2016 Chainstore Sales Still Pitifully Weak, Despite the Dip in the Dollar (Publication Centre)

We are a bit troubled by the persistent weakness of the Redbook chain store sales numbers. We aren't ready to sound an alarm, but we are puzzled at the recent declines in the rate of growth of same-store sales to new post-crash lows. On the face of it, the recent performance of the Redbook, shown in our first chart, is terrible. Sales rose only 0.5% in the year to July, during which time we estimate nominal personal incomes rose nearly 3%.

6 September 2017 Harvey set to Distort Chainstore, MBA Data Today, but no hit on ISM (Publication Centre)

Last Friday's August auto sales numbers were overshadowed by the below-consensus payroll report and the six-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, but they are the first data to reflect the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

09 Mar. 2016 Why are Chainstore Sales so Weak Compared to the Official Data? (Publication Centre)

The Redbook chain store sales survey used to be our favorite indicator of the monthly core retail sales numbers, but over the past year it has parted company from the official data. Year-over-year growth in Redbook sales has slowed to just 0.7% in February, from a recent peak of 4.6% in the year to December 2014

7 March 2017 Why has Spending not Faltered After Tax Refunds were Delayed? (Publication Centre)

The delay in the processing of personal income tax refunds this year appears not to have had any adverse impact on retail sales, so far. Indeed, the Redbook chainstore sales survey suggests that sales have accelerated over the past few weeks.

25 July 2018 More Signs Today that Housing Market Activity is Peaking (Publication Centre)

New home sales surprised to the upside in May, rising 6.7% to 689K, a six-month high.

24 October 2017 Which to Believe, the Markit PMI or the ISM Survey? (Publication Centre)

A startlingly wide gap has emerged over the past nine months between the ISM manufacturing index and Markit's manufacturing PMI.

25 October. 2016 Consumers Confidence is High, but Expect an October Correction (Publication Centre)

Recent consumer confidence numbers have been strong enough that we don't need to see any further increase. The expectations components of both the Michigan and Conference Board surveys are consistent with real spending growth of 21⁄2-to- 3%, which is about the best we can expect when real income growth, after tax, is trending at about 21⁄2%.

24 October 2018 September New Home Sales Likely Hit by Hurricane Michael (Publication Centre)

The path of new home sales over the past couple of years has followed the mortgage applications numbers quite closely.

27 June 2017 Flat Capex Orders won't Stop the Labor Market Tightening Further (Publication Centre)

The flat trend in core capital goods orders continued through May, according to yesterday's durable goods orders report. We are not surprised.

28 June 2017 ISM Survey Suggests May Trade Deficit to Drop Sharply (Publication Centre)

The April international trade numbers were startlingly, and surprisingly, horrible. The deficit in trade in goods leaped by $6.2B -- the biggest one-month jump in two years -- to $67.1B, though the headline damage was limited by a sharp narrowing in the oil deficit, thanks to lower prices, and a rebound in the aircraft surplus.

24 May 2017 FOMC Minutes will Reinforce Skepticism over the Q1 Slowdown (Publication Centre)

The minutes of the May 2/3 FOMC meeting today should add some color to policymakers' blunt assertion that "The Committee views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory and continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further, and inflation will stabilize around 2 percent over the medium term."

26 September 2017 Dudley Follows the Yellen Line, December Hike Increasingly Likely (Publication Centre)

New York Fed president Dudley toed the Yellen line yesterday, arguing that the effects of "...a number of temporary, idiosyncratic factors" will fade, so "...inflation will rise and stabilize around the FOMC's 2 percent objective over the medium term.

26 April 2017 The Surge in Spending on Building Materials Can't Last Forever (Publication Centre)

Across all the major economic data, perhaps the biggest weather distortions late last year and in the early part of the year were in the retail sales numbers, specifically, the building materials component. Sales rocketed at a 16.5% annualized rate in the first quarter, the biggest gain since the spring of 2014, following a 10.2% increase in the fourth quarter of last year.

23 January 2018 Why Have Rate Expectations Stopped Driving EURUSD? (Publication Centre)

In April last year, something odd happened in the FX market.

22 November 2017 Core Capital Goods Orders Rising Strongly, Further Gains Ahead? (Publication Centre)

Today brings a wave of data, some brought forward because of Thanksgiving. We are most interested in the durable goods orders report for October, which we expect will show the upward trend in core capital goods orders continues.

22 February 2018 Jobless Claims Still Under Downward Pressure, Labor is Scarce (Publication Centre)

We have learned over the years not to become too excited in the face of swings in the jobless claims numbers, even when the movement appears to persist for a month or two.

21 November 2017 Q4 Growth Shaping up Well, but Holiday Spending Strength is Key (Publication Centre)

It's much too soon to have a very firm view on fourth quarter GDP growth, not least because almost half the quarter hasn't happened yet.

22 November. 2016 Soybean Exports Still High, but Falling Sharply (Publication Centre)

Surging soybean exports contributed 0.9 percentage points, gross, to third quarter GDP growth, though the BEA said that this was "mostly" offset by falling inventories of wholesale non-durable goods.

28 November 2017 Consumers' Spending Ought to be Strong this Holiday Season (Publication Centre)

Media reports suggest that the underlying trends in retailing--rising online sales, declining store sales and mall visits--continued unabated over the Thanksgiving weekend.

23 October 2018 Business Surveys have Flattened Richmond Fed due to Correct (Publication Centre)

All the regional PMIs and Fed business surveys are volatile in the short-term, so observations for single months need to be viewed with due skepticism.

23 Mar. 2016 Mortgage Lending Conditions Improving - Where are the Sales? (Publication Centre)

Further evidence emerged yesterday in support of our view that mortgage lending conditions are easing. The monthly mortgage origination report from Ellie Mae, Inc., a private mortgage processing firm, shows average credit scores for both successful and unsuccessful loan applications continue to trend downwards--though the latter rose marginally in February--while loans are closing much more quickly than in the recent past.

23 August 2017 New Home Sales set for Cycle Highs, but Only Temporarily (Publication Centre)

The level of new home sales is likely to hit new cycle highs over the next few months, with a decent chance that today's July report will show sales at their highest level since late 2007.

24 January 2018 Existing Home Sales Likely Dropped in December, but the Trend is Rising (Publication Centre)

In November, existing home sales substantially overshot the pace implied by the pending home sales index.

31 July 2018 Employment Costs are Accelerating, but Slowly... For Now (Publication Centre)

The most important number, potentially, in today's wave of economic reports is the Employment Costs Index for second quarter.

7 November 2018 No Sign of Slowing Labor Demand it's Rising Faster than Supply (Publication Centre)

The flow of data pointing to strength in the labor market has continued this week, on the heels of last week's report of a 250K jump in October payrolls.

6 June 2017 ISM Non-manufacturing Jobs Up Sharply. Summer Payrolls to Surge? (Publication Centre)

The 6.4-point rebound in the May ISM non-manufacturing employment index, to a very high 57.8, supports our view that summer payroll growth will be strong. On the face of it, the survey is consistent with job gains in excess of 300K, as our first chart shows, but that's very unlikely to happen.

6 July 2017 Downside Risk for June ADP Jobs, but Official Data Will be Stronger (Publication Centre)

Today's June ADP employment report likely will undershoot the 183K consensus, but we then expect the official payroll number tomorrow to surprise to the upside.

7 September 2017 Jobless Claims will Rocket After Harvey, but Timing is Tricky (Publication Centre)

The jobless claims numbers today likely will mark the end of the calm before the storm effect, even though the data cover the week ended September 1, and Harvey hit on August 26.

8 June. 2016 Job Openings Likely Dipped in April, but Remain Very High (Publication Centre)

A casual glance at our char t below, which shows the number of job openings from the JOLTS report, seems to fit our story that the slowdown in payrolls in April and May--perhaps triggered by the drop in stocks in January and February--will prove temporary. Job openings dipped, but have recovered and now stand very close to their cycle high.

US 15 September 2017 Core CPI Mean-Reverts, Hefty Storm-Induced Increases Ahead? (Publication Centre)

The run of soft core CPI numbers is over. The average 0.18% increase over the past two months probably is a good indication of the underlying trend -- the prints would have been close to this pace in both months had it not been for wild swings in the lodging component -- and the other one-time oddities of recent months' have faded.

9 August. 2016 NFIB Survey Signals Better Non-Oil Business Capex as Soon as Q3 (Publication Centre)

The headline NFIB index of small business activity and sentiment in July likely will be little changed from June--we expect a half-point dip, while the consensus forecast is for a repeat of June's 94.5--but what we really care about is the capex intentions componen

8 September. 2016 Claims, JOLTS, and Sales Don't Support the Grim ISM Message (Publication Centre)

We argued yesterday that the steep declines in the ISM surveys in August, both manufacturing and services, likely were one-time events, triggered by a combination of weather events, seasonal adjustment issues and sampling error. These declines don't chime with most other data.

5 September 2018 The Surge in August's ISM is Welcome but won't be Repeated (Publication Centre)

August's 14-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, reported yesterday, clearly is a noteworthy event from a numerology perspective, but we doubt it marks the start of a renewed upward trend.

5 June 2018 ISM Non-manufacturing Set to Rebound, Watch Employment (Publication Centre)

The headline May ISM non-manufacturing index today likely will mirror, at least in part, the increase in the manufacturing survey, reported Friday.

30 October 2018 Airline Fares Lifted September's Core PCE Deflator Noise not Signal (Publication Centre)

The modest overshoot to consensus in September's core PCE deflator won't trouble any lists of great economic surprises, but it did serve to demonstrate that the PCE can diverge from the CPI, in both the short and medium-term.

30 November. 2016 ADP Likely to Signal Decent Payroll Growth (Publication Centre)

The November ADP employment report today likely will show private payrolls rose by about 180K. We have no reason to think that the trend in payroll growth has changed much in recent months, though the official data do appear to be biased to the upside in the fourth quarter, probably as a result of seasonal adjustment problems triggered by the crash of 2008. We can't detect any clear seasonal fourth quarter bias in the ADP numbers.

30 May 2017 Why Don't Markets Take the Fed's Interest Rate Forecasts Seriously? (Publication Centre)

Markets expect the Fed will fail to follow through on its current intention to raise rates twice more this year and three times next year. Part of this skepticism reflects recent experience.

21 March 2017 The Debt Ceiling is Back, but no Crisis Likely Until the Fall (Publication Centre)

The federal debt ceiling was re-imposed last week, with no fanfare, and no reaction in the markets. All eyes were focussed instead on the Fed's rate hike and Chair Yellen's press conference.

31 May 2017 A Consumer Rebound is Underway, but Watch out for Healthcare Costs (Publication Centre)

In the wake of April's 0.2% increase in real consumers' spending, and the upward revisions to the first quarter numbers, we now think that second quarter spending is on course to rise at an annualized rate of about 3.5%.

5 July 2017 ISM Signals Continued Industrial Recovery, but not a Boom (Publication Centre)

The June ISM manufacturing index signalled clearly that the industrial recovery continues, with the headline number rising to its highest level since August 2014, propelled by rising orders and production. But the industrial economy is not booming and the upturn likely will lose a bit of momentum in the second half as the rebound in oil sector capex slows.

5 December 2017 ISM Non-manufacturing Set for Clear Correction. Don't Worry (Publication Centre)

Last week's strong ISM manufacturing survey for November likely will be followed by robust data for the non-manufacturing sector today, but the headline index, like its industrial counterpart, likely will dip a bit.

4 December 2018 The Manufacturing Cycle has Peaked, but No Rollover Yet (Publication Centre)

The rebound in the ISM manufacturing index was a relief, after the sharp drop in October, though the strength in last week's Chicago PMI meant that it wasn't a complete surprise.

29 November 2017 The Profit Share in GDP is set to Fall Sharply as Wage Growth Picks up (Publication Centre)

It doesn'tt matter if third quarter GDP growth is revised up a couple of tenths in today's third estimate of the data, in line with the consensus forecast.

20 December 2017 Single-Family Permits Hit a Cycle High, Q1 Construction Set to Jump (Publication Centre)

The single most important number in the housing construction report is single-family permits, because they lead starts by a month or two but are much less volatile.

14 July 2017 Core CPI Inflation Won't Fall Forever, but When Will the Rebound Come? (Publication Centre)

Today brings a huge wave of data, but most market attention will be on the June CPI, following the run of unexpectedly soft core readings over the past three months.

14 February 2018 Gas Prices Will Lift the January CPI: Core has Risks in Both Directions (Publication Centre)

We have no real argument with the consensus forecasts for the January CPI, with the headline likely to rise by 0.3%, with the core up 0.2%.

14 August 2018 Turkey's Meltdown is no Threat to the U.S. Economy, or Banks (Publication Centre)

Turkey has all the problems you don't want to see in an emerging market when the U.S. is raising interest rates.

14 June 2017 Fed to Stick to One More 2017 Hike After Today, and Three More in 2018 (Publication Centre)

The Fed will hike by 25 basis points today, but what really matters is what they say about the future, both in the language of the statement and in the dotplot for this year and next.

14 June 2018 Four Dots for 2018, and a Hawkish Tilt in the Statement (Publication Centre)

The Fed was more hawkish than we expected yesterday.

15 May 2018 Autos Likely Constrained April Retail Sales, Core Trend is Gently Upwards (Publication Centre)

The story of U.S. retail sales since last summer is mostly a story about the impact of the hurricanes, Harvey in particular.

15 December 2017 Strong November Sales Mean Q3 Consumption Heading for 3% (Publication Centre)

The 0.8% jump in nominal November retail sales is consistent with a 0.4% rise in real total consumption, which in turn suggests that the fourth quarter as a whole is likely to see a near-3% annualized gain.

14 September 2018 Core Inflation won't Keep Falling (Publication Centre)

We were right about the below-consensus inflation numbers for June, but wrong about the explanation. We thought the core would be constrained by a drop in used car prices, while apparel and medical costs would rebound after their July declines.

13 September. 2016 Will the NFIB Survey Point to Stronger Non-mining Capex? (Publication Centre)

The key labor market numbers from today's August NFIB survey of small businesses have already been released--they appear a day or two before the employment report--but they will be reported as though they are news. The headline hiring intentions reading dipped to nine from 12, leaving it near the bottom of the range of the past couple of years.

13 June 2017 NFIB Headline Likely to Decay, but Capex and Jobs Readings are Strong (Publication Centre)

Under normal circumstances, we can predict movements in the headline NFIB index from shifts in the key labor market components, which are released a day ahead of the official employment report, and, hence, about 10 days before the full NFIB survey appears.

11 July 2018 Higher Oil Prices have Driven up Core PPI Inflation it will Rise Further (Publication Centre)

Core PPI inflation has risen relentlessly, though not rapidly, over the past two-and-a-half years.

10 July 2018 Businesses' Capex Plans Set to Surge, Following Stronger Earnings (Publication Centre)

For some time now, we have puzzled over the softness of small firms' capital spending intentions, as measured by the monthly NFIB survey.

10 January 2017 The Core Inventory Cycle is Turning, but Q4 Data Likely Won't Show it (Publication Centre)

For some time now we have argued that collapse in capital spending in the oil sector was the source of most of the softening of activity in the manufacturing and wholesaling sectors last year.

11 October 2017 JOLTS Data Signal Rapid Job Gains, and Tight Labor Supply (Publication Centre)

Today's JOLTS survey covers August, which seems like a long time ago. But the report is worth your attention nonetheless.

12 December 2018 Core PPI Inflation is Set to Plummet, but the Core CPI won't Follow it Down (Publication Centre)

The overshoot in the November core PPI does not change the key story, which is that PPI inflation, headline and core, is set to fall sharply through the first half of next year, at least.

13 January 2017 Will Consumers' Spending Rise in Line with the Sentiment Surveys? (Publication Centre)

December's retail sales numbers are the most important of the year for retailers, but they don't necessarily tell us anything about the future prospects for consumers' spending or the broad economy. The December 2016 numbers, however, might be different, because they capture consumers' behavior in the first full month after the election.

12 September 2017 NFIB Labor Indicators Still Very Strong, Despite August Dips (Publication Centre)

The key labor market numbers from the monthly NFIB survey of small businesses are released ahead of the main report, due today.

12 May 2017 Core CPI Inflation to Mean-Revert After the Shocking March Drop (Publication Centre)

The April CPI report today will be watched even more closely than usual, after the surprise 0.12% month-to-month fall in the March core index. The biggest single driver of the dip was a record 7.0% plunge in cellphone service plan prices, reflecting Verizon's decision to offer an unlimited data option.

15 November 2017 Core CPI to Mean-Revert as Rents and Vehicle Prices Rebound? (Publication Centre)

A modest dip in gasoline prices will hold down the October CPI, due today, but investors' attention will be on the core, after five undershoots to consensus in the past six months.

15 November 2018 Consumption Seems to have Started Q4 with Surprising Strength (Publication Centre)

Consumption accounts for almost 70% of GDP, and retail sales account for about 45% of consumption.

2 May 2017 The Rebounding Auto Sales to Signal the Start of a Q2 Consumer Rebound (Publication Centre)

March auto sales were much weaker than expected, falling by 5.5% month-to-month to a 25-month low, 16.5M. The average for the previous six months was 17.8M. The sudden drop in March likely was driven in large part by the huge snowstorm which tracked across the Northeast in the middle week of the month, so we think a decent rebound in April is a good bet.

19 September 2017 Housing Takes a Modest Hurricane Hit, so far, More to Come? (Publication Centre)

The September NAHB survey, released yesterday, shows, that the housing market took a knock from the hurricanes but the damage, so far at least, appears to be contained.

19 November 2018 The Drop in Oil Prices will Hurt, but not too Badly, Retailers will Benefit (Publication Centre)

The plunge in oil prices in recent weeks is not a threat to the overall U.S. economic growth story in the near term--we have always expected growth to slow, but remain decent, once the boost from the tax cuts fades--but it will make a difference, at the margin.

2 October 2018 U.S. Manufacturing Outperforms as the Global Cycle Peaks (Publication Centre)

The inevitable--more or less--correction from August's 14-year high is no big deal.

20 June 2017 As the Balance Sheet Shrinks, how can we Assess the Fed's Stance? (Publication Centre)

The initial pace of the Fed's balance sheet run-off, which we expect to start in October, will be very low. At first, the balance sheet will shrink by only $10B per month, split between $6B Treasuries and $4B mortgages.

21 June 2017 Home Sales set for new Cycle Highs, but not in May (Publication Centre)

Over the past couple of weeks, the number of applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase have reached their highest level since late 2010, when activity was boosted by the impending expiration of a time-limited tax credit for homebuyers.

21 December 2017 Fourth Quarter GDP Heading for 3%. Trade, Inventories will be Drags (Publication Centre)

We see no compelling reason to expect a significant revision to the third quarter GDP numbers today, so our base case is that the second estimate, 3.3%, will still stand.

20 March 2018 FOMC to Stick to Three Hikes this Year, but an Extra Dot for 2019? (Publication Centre)

We would be astonished if the FOMC meeting starting today does not end with a 25bp rate hike.

19 December 2017 New Home Sales and Construction Appear Set to Rocket Next Year (Publication Centre)

In the short-term, all the housing data are volatile. But you can be sure that if the recent pace of new home sales is sustained, housing construction will rise.

19 Apr. 2016 Weaker Dollar Will Boost Q2 Retail Sales, but not March Consumption (Publication Centre)

If we're right in our view that the strength of the dollar has been a major factor depressing the rate of growth of nominal retail sales, the weakening of the currency since January should soon be reflected in stronger-looking numbers. In real terms--which is what matters for GDP and, ultimately, the lab or market--nothing will change, but perceptions are important and markets have not looked kindly on the dollar-depressed sales data.

16 October 2018 Q3 Consumption Rose by Nearly 4%, Despite So September Retail Sales (Publication Centre)

The softness of the headline September retail sales numbers hid a decent 0.5% increase in the "control" measure, which is the best guide to consumers' spending on non-durable goods.

16 May 2017 Manufacturing is Recovering, Despite the Hard and Soft Data Gap (Publication Centre)

The over-hyped mystery of the gap between the hard and soft data in the industrial economy has largely resolved itself in recent months.

15 October 2018 The Stock Market Wobble isn't Enough to Deter the Fed (Publication Centre)

A 45bp rise in long-term interest rates--the increase between mid-August and last week's peak--ought to depress stock prices, other things equal.

17 January 2017 December Data Understates Core Retail Sales (Publication Centre)

On the face of it, the December core retail sales numbers were something of a damp squib. The headline numbers were lifted by an incentive-driven jump in auto sales and the rise in gas prices, but our measure of core sales--stripping out autos, gas and food--was dead flat. One soft month doesn't prove anything, and core sales rose at a 3.9% annualized rate in the fourth quarter as a whole.

17 October 2017 Manufacturing Sector set for Modest Post-Hurricane Rebound? (Publication Centre)

The first October survey evidence from the industrial economy, in the form of the Empire State report, is remarkably strong.

18 October 2017 Housing Activity is Poised for a Hefty Q4 Rebound as Demand Rebounds (Publication Centre)

Today brings the September housing construction report, which likely will show that activity was depressed by the hurricanes.

18 January 2018 Housing Starts Likely Dipped Last Month, but the Trend is Rising (Publication Centre)

Hot on the heels of yesterday's news that the NAHB index of homebuilders' sentiment and activity dropped by two points this month -- albeit from December's 18-year high -- we expect to learn today that housing starts fell last month.

17 September 2018 Hurricane Florence will Distort the Data, but not on Harvey's Scale (Publication Centre)

As we reach our deadline on Sunday afternoon, eastern time, Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump vast quantities of rain on the Carolinas, and is forecast to head through Kentucky and Tennessee, before heading north.

21 June. 2016 Monetary Policy Testimony Won't Signal a Change in Fed Thinking (Publication Centre)

Back in the dim and increasingly distant past the semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony--previously known as the Humphrey-Hawkins--used to be something of an event. Today's Testimony, however, is most unlikely to change anyone's opinion of the likely pace and timing of Fed action.

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