Yesterday the turkeys were stuffed. Today, it's 300 million stuffed Americans who are imitating beached whales, so keep your belt unbuckled and check out how the high-frequency economic indicators fared last week.
Monthly indicators were mixed. The BEA revised 3rd Quarter GDP down to 2.8%, as expected, due primarily to an increase in imports. On the brighter side, Personal Consumption Expenditures - a measure which generally leads the business cycle - improved, as did personal income and real disposable income. The Case-Schiller house price index continued to show monthly improvement, and better Year over Year comparisons, although still down on that basis. New Home Sales for October also showed improvement. New orders for nondefense capital goods - a Leading Indicator - improved.
Consumer confidence improved from earlier this month, but still declined compared with the last several months. The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (CFNAI) stalled, declining slightly for the first time this year. Durable goods declined substantially, a complete surprise compared with expectations. The American Trucking Association also reported a small decline in October traffic, the second in a row. My co-blogger Silver Oz points out that some of the improvement in rail traffic might have to do with substitution effects due to the price of oil.
The BLS reported initial jobless claims, seasonally adjusted, were 466,000. On an unadjusted basis they were totaled 543,926. By contrast, last year there were 609,138 initial claims.
The ICSC reported same store retail sales were unchanged from the previous week, and up 3.3% from a year ago, and said
ICSC Research now expects same-store sales for November to increase 4 percent to 6 percent as easy year over year comparisons will dominate the results.
reported that year-over-year GAFO retail sales increased 0.9 percent for the week ending November 21 while sales rose a slight 0.2 percent versus the previous week ending November 14.
GAFO retail sales posted a minimal gain as the previous week contained the Veteran’s Day holiday which allowed consumers an extra day to spend – providing a rather difficult comparison. ShopperTrak noted that in many years the week following Veteran’s Day shows retail sales declines, so even a slight increase could be a good sign for the retail industry heading into Thanksgiving week and Black Friday....
Rail traffic continued to point to bullishness, as intermodal traffic remained stable, while baseline, cyclical, and total traffic went UP! It is particularly bullish that cyclical traffic went up this late in November. (Last week a commenter asked why I use this site vs. the AAR site. The short answer is that I am looking for high-frequency weekly data to see if the economic expansion is stalling or not, and the AAR's report is monthly. The two reports on a monthly basis appear to give virtually identical numbers).
The Daily Treasury Statement for November 24 showed $103.1 million paid withholding taxes so far this month compared with $111.3 on November 24 last year. This is still the best Year-over-Year comparison since March, and while it continues to show great stress in the jobs market as well as for state and local municipalities, it may be bottoming on an absolute basis now.
The Department of Energy's weekly report showed that demand for gasoline, after spending several weeks lower than one year ago, improved last week slightly compared with last year. Refinery stocks are running above average as they have all year.
The Price of Oil fell under $74 on the Dubai investment scare. Given that result, a couple of more middle eastern petrosheikhdoms getting into financial trouble might be kinda nice!