"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

The Required Disclosures

The information presented in this blog and its individual articles is provided for informational use only and should not be considered investment advice or an offer for a particular security. The contents reflect the views and opinions of the individual writer as of the date the article was written and do not necessarily represent the views of the individual writer on the current date. They also do not in any way, shape, or form represent the views of the Firm Never-To-Be-Named. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and The Great Redoubt and its individual writers disclaim any responsibility to update such views. These views should not be relied on as investment advice, and because investment decisions for any security are based on numerous factors, may not be relied on as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any contributor to The Great Redoubt. Neither The Great Redoubt nor any individual author can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered. Please consult your tax or financial advisor for additional information concerning your specific situation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Something For Everyone...

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everyone:
We've got some store sales,
We've got retail sales,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Let's start off with the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales, in which we reflect on last week's major retail chain store sales. The week ending 2/5 saw sales increase 2.2% for the week. And this week - well, the week ending 2/12 - they're fallen 1.4% for the week. But nobody really pays too much attention to this particular metric, except as an indicator for overall retail sales figures, so that's not likely to drive the market around. Not on its own, anyway.
Ah, but retail sales? Now retail sales are huge. If you remember the December figures, they were up 0.6%, or "only" 0.5% ex-auto. The analysts are feeling optimistic, and calling for 0.5% growth in January (with growth still sitting at 0.5% if you strip out auto sales). So that's the analysts. And what does the US Census Bureau think? Well, for the first time in a while, the US Census Bureau is saying that the analysts were a trifle optimistic. The January advance estimate has total (seasonally adjusted) US retail and food service sales for January up 0.3%, while the ex-auto sales were also up 0.3%. Not great, but not terrible either.
Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns;
Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!
Empire State Survey,
The Redbook measures,
Nothing portentous or polite;
Tragedy tomorrow,
Comedy tonight!
Let's start with the big dog of the pair: the New York Fed's Empire State Manufacturing Survey. This isn't the biggest and most important of these surveys - that honor goes to the Philadelphia Fed's survey - but this is nothing to sneer at. The general business conditions index was at 11.92 for January, and the analysts are expecting that to go up to 15. The survey results beat that handily, rising to 15.4.
The Redbook report, as you may remember, is yet another measure of sales. It pales before the might of the Retail Sales figures we just discussed up above, but it's still something of a leading indicator. And the indications are pretty good. Last week they were largely in agreement with the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales. This week, they deviate - Redbook store sales are up 2.2% (this is a year-over-year figure, though).
Something imported,
Something exported
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
Something in stock,
Something that's not,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!
As a lovely companion to the trade balance figures from last week, we now have the Bureau of Labor Statistics' US Import and Export Price Indexes. Back in December, export prices were up 0.7% for the month and import prices were up 1.1% for the month. Analysts never actually seem to weigh in on this one, so let's skip straight to the January results. The US import price index was up 1.5% for January, while the export price index rose only 1.2%. The import costs were driven by a 3.9% increase in fuel prices. What gains we had in export prices primarily came from agricultural exports, which were up 3.2%.
And business inventories? Well, in November they were up 0.2%. For December (and yes, there is a two month lag on this), the analysts are expecting a 0.7% increase in inventories. Now, before we go on to what actually happened, let's talk briefly about why anyone would care about business inventories. Why do we care? Well, they are serve as an indicator of future production and sales. No company - producer, wholesaler, or retailer - builds up massive inventory supplies without immediate plans to put them to work. So, if inventories are up, the companies with the increased inventories are likely expecting things to improve.
So, back to the US Census Bureau for the December 2010 Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales report. And business inventories are overall up 0.8% from November.
Nothing with gods, nothing with fate;
Weighty affairs will just have to wait!
Nothing that's formal,
Nothing that's normal,
No recitations to recite;
Open up the curtain:
Comedy Tonight!

No comments:

Post a Comment