- by New Deal democrat
Monthly data releases for March in the last week included Leading Economic INdicatorss, down -0.1, the first decline in half a year. These in turn were influenced by a decline in housing permits. Housing starts, on the other hand, rose to over 1 million annualized for the first time in over 5 years. Industrial production and caparicty utilizstion rose. Consumer prices in March actually declined slightly, led by a drop in gasoline prices.
Let's start this week's look at the high frequency weekly indicators by looking at employment data, which completely flipped this week vs. last week:
Initial jobless claims
- 352,000 up 6,000
- 4 week average 361,250 up 3,250
- flat at 91 w/w up 1.5% YoY
Initial claims have established a new lower range of between 330,000 to 375,000 this year. In the last two years, beginning at the end of the first quarter there has been a spike of 20,000+ in jobless applications, and we certainly did see a big increase two weeks ago for one week. As in the past two springs, we now seem to be moving sideways in the new range. The ASA is still running slighty below 2007, and slightly ahead of last year, although the comparison is deteriorating a small amount.
Daily Treasury Statement tax withholding
- $131.1 B (adjusted for 2013 payroll tax withholding changes) vs. $138.2 B, -5.1% YoY for the last 20 days. The unadjusted result was $152.6 B for a 10.4% increase.
- $111.1 B was collected during the first 14 days of April vs. $103.6 B unadjusted in 2012, a $7.5 B or a +7.2% increase YoY.
Railroad transport from the AAR
- -1600 or -0.6% carloads YoY
- +1300 or +0.7% carloads ex-coal
- +7700 or +3.3% intermodal units
- +6100 or +1.2% YoY total loads
- Harpex unchanged at 384
- Baltic Dry Index up 13 to 888
- ICSC -1.1% w/w +2.0% YoY
- Johnson Redbook +2.0%YoY
- Gallup daily consumer spending 14 day average at $86 up $12 YoY
- YoY this week +5.6%
Real estate loans, from the FRB H8 report:
- up 6 or +0.2% w/w
- up 22 or +0.6% YoY
- +2.6% from its bottom
Mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association:
- +4% w/w purchase applications
- +20% YoY purchase applications
- +5% w/w refinance applications
Interest rates and credit spreads
- 4.62% BAA corporate bonds down -0.08%
- 1.79% 10 year treasury bonds down -0.02%
- 2.83% credit spread between corporates and treasuries down -0.06%
- -2.7% w/w
- +1.1% m/m
- +9.0% YoY Real M1
- -0.3% w/w
- +0.9% m/m
- +5.5% YoY Real M2
Oil prices and usage
- Oil $88.01 down -$3.47 w/w
- gas $3.54 down -$0.07 w/w
- Usage 4 week average YoY -3.4%
Bank lending rates
- 0.23 TED spread up .01 w/w
- 0.2000 LIBOR unchanged w/w
JoC ECRI Commodity prices
- down -1.58 to 126.87 w/w
- +3.73 YoY
The positives include housing prices and mortgage applications, gas prices lower than one or two years ago, and money supply remaining positive, although less so than previously. Consumer spending is positive. Rail turned positive as well. Real estate loans improved, as did credit spreads.
Basically neutral indicators include shipping rates, interest rates and temporary jobs. Overnight banking loans haven't budged. Initial claims were generally neutral this week.
Tax withholding remains a question mark. It is negative after my best estimated adjustment. But relative to the last few months, this past week was one of the most positive comparisons. Commodities, although positive YoY, have weakened recently.
Overall, this is the same lukewarmly positive data we have seen since the beginning of this year. Have a nice weekend.