Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekly Indicators

- by New Deal democrat

Both the monthly data and the high frequency weekly data were mixed, but with a generally bullish bias.

The monthly data included a bad housing report, mediocre increases in industrial production and capacity utilization, a decent but not outstanding LEI, an mixed Empire State index, and a strongly positive Philly manufacturing index.

Meanwhile, as to the weekly data:

The BLS reported new jobless claims remained the same as last week on an SA basis at 505,000. On a 4 week average basis, this series continues to decline.

Edmunds automotive said that on a preliminary basis,
U.S. new-vehicle sales are expected to rise in November from a year earlier, adjusted for two fewer sales days this year .... [C]ar sales are seen rising 3.8% in the U.S. from a year ago. Without the adjustment for there being 23 selling days this year and 25 last year, the auto Web site's estimate is 4.5% below last year's sales and down 15% from October...."

The overall annualized sales rate in November is projected to be 10.3 million, down slightly from October's 10.43 million rate.
The ICSC reported that same store sales fell -0.1% last week, the second minimal decline in a row. On a YoY basis, sales are up 2.4%, and

ICSC Research expects same-store sales for November could be
as strong as up 5 to 8 percent.
ShopperTrak an increase of 0.7% in mall retail sales compared with a year ago, and also up 7.5% from the previous week.

Rail traffic continued to improve -- not just in a relative sense to last year, but in an absolute sense as well. This is bullish. Last week commenter Olephart correctly observed that I had posted a graph which didn't really make my point. Cyclical traffic frequently starts to decline in October, but sometimes not until now. As of mid-November, it is not just flat, but actually turned up last week.

The Daily Treasury Statement as of November 18 showed $85.8 Million in withholding taxes paid month-to-date, compared with $86.7 Million last year. For the last week, this year's totals have been generally equal to or slightly ahead of last year's. Since this data series tends to lag the end of recessions by one quarter, this may be the month it finally turns.

Oil retreated from its flirtation with $80, as of midday Friday trading at $76.50.