The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Macro Factors]

Oh my....

New orders for manufactured durable goods in February decreased $3.2 billion or 1.4 percent to $231.3 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down three of the last four months, followed a 2.0 percent January increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.4 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.0 percent.

Transportation equipment, also down three of the last four months, led the decrease, $2.5 billion or 3.5 percent to $69.5 billion.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in February, down four of the last five months, decreased $0.5 billion or 0.2 percent to $244.0 billion. This followed a 1.4 percent January decrease.

There's nothing really here to like, but there is one footnote -- computers and communications gear has not posted a three-month negative consecutively.  However annual change for both is deeply negative, particularly computers and related products (-15% on shipments and -6.9% on orders.)  There's no good way to read that one.

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Well, duh.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index was unchanged before seasonal adjustment.

The seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was broad-based, with increases in shelter, energy, and food indexes all contributing. The energy index rose after a long series of declines, increasing 1.0 percent as the gasoline index turned up after falling in recent months. The food index, unchanged last month, also rose in February, though major grocery store food group indexes were
mixed.

The entire flattening was due to energy, which was down 18.8% annualized despite the last month's bounce.  Energy commodities (that is, gasoline, diesel, etc) were down roughly a third in price, while energy services (e.g. electricity and piped gas) were up.  Electricity, despite the huge plunge in the fuels used to make it, was up 3.2% annualized.  

Gee, who's keeping the money when the cost of the fuel to drive that generator goes down?

But don't look in the grocery store, where meats were up 10.7% annualized with beef leading at 15.2%.

PS: Don't go on vacation; your hotel room is up about 6.4% in price over the last year -- and this is all if you believe this table, such as, for example, the claim that "health insurance" has actually gone down in price.

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Ok, this is just plain old-fashioned bad.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $437.0 billion, a decrease of 0.6 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month, but up 1.7 percent (±0.9%) above February 2014. Total sales for the December 2014 through February 2015 period were up 2.9 percent (±0.7%) from the same period a year ago. The December 2014 to January 2015 percent change was unrevised from -0.8 percent (±0.3%).

Meh.

Unadjusted car sales were up, so those who claim this was weather are smoking something funny.  You don't shop for a car in bad weather, given that you have to drive said car (and be exposed to said weather!)

Everything else, pretty-much, was in the toilet.  Electronics stores, building materials, food and beverage (down big; 8%!), gasoline (down slightly although fuel prices were up quite a bit in February.)  Destroying (once again) the "weather" argument clothing was up.

However, sporting goods, general merchandise and internet (non-store) were down -- as were food service (restaurants) and bars.

It looks like the market thinks that "bad news is good news" -- it's once again chuckle-head time if you ask me.

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