Archive

Posts Tagged ‘MBA Purchase Applications’

US Economics Week Ahead: Jobs & the Fed

October 31st, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

With the first week of November comes a wave of important economic data—plus a few key earnings announcements—important macro releases include October’s employment report, an FOMC announcement, and several other indicators that will help gauge the health of the consumer and overall economy.  Also important to note is that the ECB, Bank of England, and Bank of Australia are all scheduled to make their own policy announcements next week, which could have some carry over into US markets.  On the earnings front, the market will be hearing from companies that include Cisco, Kraft Foods, Viacom, and Prudential.

Nevertheless, this week’s spotlight will be on Friday’s employment report, which is expected to show the unemployment rate moving from 9.8% to 9.9% with a decline in payrolls of -175K.  During the week it will be important for investors to watch the employment components of both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing ISM along with the ADP employment report for any clues towards Friday’s payroll numbers.  Any major swings in these indicators could shift expectations for Friday’s number and thus have a big impact on the day’s trading.

This Wednesday’s FOMC statement will undoubtedly receive immense scrutiny from investors looking for hints toward the timing of an eventual tightening cycle, however, as economic conditions have remained fairly static since the last meeting major changes are unlikely.  Other notable indicators include Monday’s motor vehicle sales and manufacturing ISM, Wednesday’s non-manufacturing ISM and Treasury refunding announcement, Thursday’s chain store sales and productivity, and Friday’s consumer credit report.

Here is the rest of this week’s US calendar:

Monday, Nov. 2

October’s Motor Vehicle Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): Car companies once again introduced strong incentives for the month to bring buyers back into the market after the expiration of the government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program, but sales should remain relatively subdued.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for domestic vehicle sales at an annualized pace of 7.3 million units compared to 6.7 million units in September.  August sales reached an annualized pace of 10 million units thanks to the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program.

10:00 a.m. EST:  ISM Manufacturing Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): October’s ISM index should remain above 50 for the third consecutive month, despite likely remaining relatively unchanged from September’s release of 52.6.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a release of 53.0.  Investors will not only be paying close attention to the new orders index—previously 60.8—, but also the employment index—previously 46.2— for clues toward Friday’s employment report.  An ISM above 50 bodes well for the overall economy, and should place some upward momentum on industrial production.

10:00 a.m. EST:  September Construction Spending (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): According to the Bloomberg consensus survey construction spending is expected to fall -0.2% in September versus an increment of 0.8%in August.  Strong housing start data will likely place some momentum on residential construction while high commercial vacancy rates and lower government spending should more than offset these gains through government and public construction spending.

10:00 a.m. EST:  September’s Pending Home Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): Pending home sales rose 6.4% in August.  However, pending home sales could start facing some pressure over the coming months as the first time home buyer tax credit is presently set to expire on November 30th.

10:30 a.m. EST:  Daniel Tarullo, Federal Reserve Governor, is participating on a panel to discuss executive compensation at a University of Maryland event.

10:00 p.m. EST:  US Treasury 4Q09 Borrowing Requirements (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Treasury will release its borrowing estimates for the next two quarters.  Further details will be released in Wednesday’s refunding announcement.

Tuesday, Nov. 3

7:45 a.m. EST: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a weekly increment of 0.1% in store sales compared to a gain of 0.2% a week prior.

8:55 a.m. EST: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were rose 0.7% last week on a year over year basis.

10:00 a.m. EST:  Factory Orders (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): After falling -0.8% in August—on the back of weak durable goods—factory orders are expected to show at least a modest gain.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increment in September of 1.0%.  The advanced durable goods orders report indicated a 1.0% increment in September, which should place some upward momentum on September’s factory orders.

Wednesday, Nov. 4

7:00 a.m. EST: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week’s data declined 12.3% after falling 13.7% a week prior possibly due to the upcoming expiration of the first time home buyer tax credit.  The refinance index fell 16.2%, while the purchase index fell 5.2%.

7:30 a.m. EST:  Challenger Job-Cut Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index measures the number of announced corporate mass layoffs, but does not take into account the timing of the actual layoffs.  Meaning layoffs announced in October may not actually take place until September, or even take place slowly over an extended period of time.

8:15 a.m. EST:  ADP Employment Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The ADP Employment report is considered a good window into Friday’s critical payroll number.  Any significant swings in this release combined with unexpected shifts in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing ISM employment indices could shift the consensus forecast for Friday’s employment release.

9:00 a.m. EST:  Treasury Refunding Announcement (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): According to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association the Treasury will likely announce that it will issue $444.5 billion of marketable debt during the fourth quarter.  This would equate to a 13% jump from last quarter, but remain below the levels of fourth quarter 2008 as they were beginning to fund several new programs.  Treasury yields have the potential to creep higher over the coming months as additional supply hits the market.

10:00 a.m. EST:  October’s ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Like the manufacturing ISM, non-manufacturing ISM, should remain above 50, but be relatively unchanged on a month over month basis.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a reading of 51.9, versus 50.9 in September.  Again, investors will be paying close attention to the employment index for clues towards Friday’s employment report.  Also, it is important to look for any continued improvements in the new orders index that would confirm a continued upward trend for the index.

10:30 a.m. EST: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report measures US domestic petroleum inventories.  Large unanticipated swings in this index could have a significant impact on energy prices.  Last week this report showed a rise of 0.8 million barrels versus an increment of 1.3 million barrels a week prior.

2:15 p.m. EST:  FOMC Announcement (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Investors will be analyzing the FOMC statement very closely for any indication of when they intend to begin tightening monetary policy or how they intend to withdraw quantitative easing.  Nevertheless, it is unlikely that November’s statement will express any significant changes versus the prior month, as economic conditions have remained somewhat static.  However, you can be sure the statement will be analyzed under a microscope for even the slightest hint of a shift in policy.

Thursday, Nov. 5

October Chain Store Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): US chain store sales were up 0.1% on a yearly basis in September, and could experience some modest gains in October.  Relatively strong performance in the ICSC-Goldman Sachs weekly chain store sales index should bode well for retailers, but numerous headwinds still exist, including a weak labor market and wavering consumer confidence reducing spending.  

October’s Monster Employment Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This survey conducted by Monster Worldwide Inc. measures online job demand.  According to last month’s national survey, “Despite recent improvements in economic sentiment, U.S. employers continue to exhibit caution when it comes to hiring,” said Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster Worldwide.“On the upside, demand for workers is firming in the blue-collar segment, with welcome signs of revived activity in construction and manufacturing.”

8:30 a.m. EST: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims fell last week by 1K to 530K, after falling 11K a week prior. Despite second derivative improvements these numbers still indicate further deterioration to upcoming payroll numbers, and the unemployment rate, which is very likely to exceed 10% in the coming months. The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is expecting a pullback in this week’s initial claims data to 523K from 530K—these numbers are still very high.

8:30 a.m. EST: Third Quarter 2009 Productivity and Costs (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Productivity gains continue to surprise to the upside as employers are able to gain more output from fewer employees.  Never before in history has productivity experienced such strong gains during a protracted economic downturn.  With that said the current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for third quarter productivity growth of 6.3%, compared to 6.6% during the second quarter.  A 6.3% rise in 3Q09 nonfarm business gross value add coupled with a what is a forecasted decline in nonfarm private sector hours worked helps support the case for strong productivity growth during the quarter.  Strong gains in productivity will likely cause employers to delay employers from hiring as they are now receiving more from less.

9:00 a.m. EST: RBC CASH index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): The Royal Bank of Canada’s Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household (CASH) Index is a monthly measure of consumer attitudes toward investing, the economic outlook, and personal finances.  This index does hold some importance in so much that it tends to demonstrate a pretty significant correlation with the consumer sentiment index being released next week.

10:30 a.m. EST: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

4:30 p.m. EST: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  The Fed’s balance sheet again declined last week to US$2.144trn from US$2.183trn a week prior.    The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to help moderate long-term interest rates.

Friday, Nov. 6

8:30 a.m. EST: Employment Situation Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Very Significant): The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a decline in payrolls of -175, versus a decline of -263K in September, and an unemployment rate of 9.9% compared to 9.8% a month earlier.  October’s anticipated second derivative improvement in payrolls is partially due to expected improvements in September’s education components after strong losses last month. The unemployment rate will likely continue to rise—the consensus forecast range for October’s unemployment rate is 9.9% to 10.1%—and eventually peak above 10% next year.

10:00 a.m. EST: Wholesale Trade (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This indicator measure the level of inventories and sales by US wholesalers.  It is generally considered a good forward looking indicator toward trends in consumer behavior as stores typically ramp up inventories prior to any anticipated increment in sales.  It is important to note that this data is on a two month lag.

3:00 p.m. EST: September’s Consumer Credit Outstanding (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): After falling $12.0 billion in August consumer credit outstanding likely declined again during September with declines in both revolving and non-revolving credit.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a decline of US$10.0 billion.  This would be the eighth consecutive month of declines for consumer credit outstanding.  It is important to note that the monthly changes in this index have been quite volatile recently making it harder to calculate accurate forecast. 

3:00 p.m. EST:  Elizabeth Duke, Federal Reserve Governor, delivers the keynote address at the Chicago Fed’s annual Community Bankers Symposium.

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Economics Week Ahead: The End is Near! (for the recession…)

October 24th, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

This week’s most important economic data will likely come in the form of third quarter 2009’s advanced estimate of GDP, which should put an end to four consecutive quarters of declines.  The U.S. government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program during the quarter should help to boost the personal consumption component of GDP, while inventories declining at a slower pace should provide a boost for that component.  Inventories do not need to turn positive to add to GDP they just need to fall at a slower pace.  Inventories are the difference between production and sales.  To highlight this point here is an excerpt from a recent Bank of America research report, “If my factory sells 10 wiggits per month, but is producing only 6 per month, then inventories fall by 4 per month. If sales stay at 10 and I want to slow the inventory depletion to 2 per month I need to raise production to 8.”

Also of note this week is September’s personal income and outlay data on Friday, which should show only a modest increase in income, while consumption should be down more significantly on the back of reduced auto sales stemming from the expiration of the U.S. government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program a month earlier.  Other indicators of note include Tuesday’s S&P Case Shiller HPI and consumer confidence, Wednesday’s durable goods orders and new home sales data, Thursday’s jobless claims release, and finally the Chicago PMI on Friday.

The coming week also brings the market its fair share of earnings releases with more than 25% of the S&P500 and four Dow components reporting.    Some major companies include Exxon Mobile, Chevron, Procter & Gamble, Visa, General Dynamics, Met Life, and Verizon to name a few. Fed speak is relatively light this week ahead of the November 3rd through 4th FOMC meeting.

Here is the rest of this week’s US calendar:

Monday, Oct. 26

8:30 a.m. EDT:  September’s Chicago Fed National Activity Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The CFNAI is an index consisting of 85 separate data sets designed to encompass national economic activity and inflationary pressure. A reading of 0 indicates the economy is growing at the historical trend while a negative or positive result indicates the economy is growing below or above its historical average, respectively. Given the volatile nature of this index, the three-month moving average is typically quoted. This index remains somewhat obscure in the mainstream media and is likely to have a minimal impact on trading. This index has shown improvements over the preceding seven months and is expected to improve again in September from its reading of -0.9 in August.

10:30 a.m. EDT:  October’s Dallas Fed’s Texas Manufacturing Outlook (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index is not highly publicized, and tracks manufacturing activity within the Dallas Feds jurisdiction.  Last month’s survey suggested “factory activity showed the first signs of bottoming out in September, according to the business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key indicator of current manufacturing activity, came in close to zero as the number of companies seeing increases and decreases was nearly equal.”

Tuesday, Oct. 27

7:45 a.m. EDT: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a weekly increment of 0.2% in store sales compared to a gain of 0.6% a week prior.

8:55 a.m. EDT: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were rose 0.5% last week on a year over year basis.

9:00 a.m. EDT: August’s S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The S&P Case Shiller HPI has demonstrated three consecutive months of gains, but could face some pressure in August after a disappointing FHFA HPI release for the month.  Only three components (Detroit, Las Vegas & Seattle) of the 20 city index demonstrated monthly declines in July.

10:00 a.m. EDT: October’s Consumer Confidence (Risk: Downside, Market Reaction: Significant): Higher energy prices and continued uncertainty over the economic outlook could place some continued pressure on the Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a reading of 54.0, compared to 53.1 in September.

10:00 a.m. EDT: State Street Investor Confidence Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The State Street Investor’s Confidence Index measures investors’ tolerance to risk. According to the State Street report, “After eight consecutive increases in Global Investor Confidence, which took the Index from an all-time low of 82.1 during the financial crisis to a five-year high of 122.8, institutional investors took a breather this month and consolidated their holdings of risky assets,” commented Froot. “This month’s reading of 118.1 is still comfortably in the range associated with the accumulation of risk exposures, as a reading of 100 signifies neither accumulation nor decumulation. However, there is a recognition that a portion of the recent rise in global equity prices can be attributed to liquidity expansion rather than fundamental opportunities. Institutional investors are pausing to assess this balance.”

10:00 a.m. EDT:  Richmond Fed’s Survey of Manufacturing Activity (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Richmond Fed manufacturing activity index has been in positive territory since May, and should remain there this month based on what has been a strong new orders component.   According to the survey in August, manufacturing activity rose signaling a solid third quarter, while the new orders and employment components both experienced growth, and the price index slipped.

Wednesday, Oct. 28

7:00 a.m. EDT: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week’s data declined 13.7% after falling 1.8% a week prior due to climbing interest rates.  The refinance index fell 16.8%, while the purchase index fell 7.6%. Refinances made up 65.0% of all applications last week.

8:30 a.m. EDT: September’s Durable Goods Orders (Risk: Downside, Market Reaction: Significant): A drop in aircraft orders from Boeing could place some negative pressure on the index, while an increment in auto orders for the month could help to offset some of the decline.    The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increase of 1.5%, after rallying 2.6% in August.  It will be important to monitor ex-transport orders, which tend to be less volatile, and were flat in August.

10:00 a.m. EDT: September’s New Home Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): a 0.5% increment in housing starts for September  likely doesn’t bode well for the month’s new home sales data.  Nevertheless, the index should continue to rise, albeit at a slower pace.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increase to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440K, compared to 429K in August.  Rising interests rates and the expected expiration of the first time home buyer tax credit may place some downward pressure on housing’s recovery.

10:30 a.m. EDT: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report measures US domestic petroleum inventories.  Large unanticipated swings in this index could have a significant impact on energy prices.  Last week this report showed a rise of 1.3 million barrels versus an increment of 0.4 million barrels a week prior.

Thursday, Oct. 29

8:30 a.m. EDT: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims rose last week by 11K to 531K, after falling 10K a week prior. Despite second derivative improvements these numbers still indicate further deterioration to upcoming payroll numbers, and the unemployment rate, which is very likely to exceed 10% in the coming months. The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is expecting a pullback in this week’s initial claims data to 525K from 531K.

8:30 a.m. EDT: 3Q09 Advanced Estimate of GDP (Risk: Upside, Market Reaction: Significant): Easy monetary and fiscal policies coupled with a turn in the inventory cycle should bring GDP growth into positive territory for the first time five quarters.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for GDP growth of 3.0%.  The big test will be whether or not increments in final demand will be large enough to offset the eventual diminishing effects of fiscal and monetary policy over the coming quarters.

10:30 a.m. EDT: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

10:00 a.m. EDT:  October’s Kansas City Fed’s Survey of Manufacturers (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): According to the most recent survey, “Tenth District manufacturing activity rebounded in September as firms’ orders picked up slightly, and expectations mostly held steady with last month’s positive outlook. Most price indexes in the survey inched higher, but still remained at fairly low levels.”  I anticipate this trend will continue to August.

4:30 p.m. EDT: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  The Fed’s balance sheet again declined last week to US$2.183trn from US$2.174trn a week prior.  The main catalyst behind the rise was an increase in the holdings of Treasury and mortgage bonds.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to help moderate long-term interest rates.

Friday, Oct.30

8:30 a.m. EDT: September’s Personal Income & Outlays (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Personal income likely experienced a modest gain during the month with the current Bloomberg consensus forecast indicating a gain of 0.0%. However, personal consumption during the month likely took a much larger hit primarily due to a reduction in car sales stemming from the expiration of the U.S. government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a decline of -0.5% for personal consumption.

8:30 a.m. EDT: Employment Cost Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The current Bloomberg consensus forecast for the ECI is a quarter over quarter change of 0.5%, compared to a second quarter increment of 0.4%. This index should continue to confirm that over the near-term the risk of deflation continues to outweigh that of inflation. Weakness in the labor market combined with cost cutting, affecting benefits, should continue to place pressure on this index.  This index includes wages, salaries, and benefits.

*9:45 a.m. EDT: October’s Chicago PMI (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The Chicago PMI measures business activity in the mid-West, and is released one business day prior to the national ISM index. *It is also important to note that the Chicago PMI is released several minutes early to subscribers of the service, so you could see reaction to the release starting at 9:42AM.  This index is considered a forward looking indicator to the national ISM, so any large unexpected shifts in the Chicago PMI could have an impact on trading.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a reading of 48.5, versus to 46.1 in September.  This index could face some negative pressure in October as its new orders index fell below 50 in September.  This index covers both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors.

9:55 a.m. EDT: October’s Consumer Sentiment (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): After a preliminary reading of 69.4 earlier this month—versus a final reading of 73.5 for September—, the Bloomberg consensus survey is anticipating a final reading of 70.0.  Looking back since June the preliminary number has been consistently revised up by the end of the month.

3:00 p.m. EDT: Farm Prices (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Given the relationship between farms prices and food prices, this index could have significant implications on future headline CPI.

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Economics Week Ahead: Earnings Usurp Housing Data

October 16th, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

On the economic front the market will be encountering some important housing related releases in addition to the Fed’s Beige Book on Wednesday.  On the housing front, on Monday the market will get a peak at October’s NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, followed by housing starts on Tuesday.  However, the most important housing release of the week should be existing home sales for September, which is being reported on Friday.  This index unexpectedly declined last month, causing investors to question the sustainability of the retrenchment of the US housing market.  Nevertheless, the fact that the inventory of existing homes declined to a 2.5 year low was somewhat overlooked.  However, rising mortgage delinquencies and a weakening labor market continue to cast a shadow over a sustained recovery in the sector.  Other important indicators this week include housing starts and PPI on Tuesday, and jobless claims and September’s leading indicator index on Thursday.  The week will also see quite a bit of Fed speak, which could generate some headlines as investors look for clues on when the Fed may begin to remove begin removing support from the markets.

Nonetheless, the show this week will probably be stolen by a slew of earnings releases that include 3M, Apple, Caterpillar, Microsoft, McDonald’s, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, American Express, and DuPont—to name a few.  Also, Windows 7 is schedule for release on Thursday, which could lead to an increase in computer spending.

Here is the rest of this week’s US calendar:

Monday, Oct. 19

1:00 p.m. EDT: October’s Housing Market Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is unlikely to show much improvement this month as the US Congress continues debating over whether or not to extend or enlarge the first time home buyer tax credit.  Prior to October, the index has experienced three consecutive months of gains.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a reading of 20, compared to last month’s reading of 19. 

Tuesday, Oct. 20

7:45 a.m. EDT: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a weekly increment of 0.6% in store sales compared to a gain of 0.3% a week prior.

8:30 a.m. EDT: September’s Housing Starts (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): According to the Bloomberg consensus forecast September’s housing starts are expected to increase to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.615 million units compared to August’s level of 0.598 million units.  Housing starts have essentially moved sideways over the past several months.  But, given the large supply of homes already on the market this may not be entirely bad.  It will be important to monitor the level of new building permits in the release as it is forward looking to starts.

8:30 a.m. EDT: September’s Producer Price Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): Lower energy prices for the month will likely bring down September’s producer price index down after gaining 1.7% in August.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a decline of -0.3%.  The core-PPI is expected to show a modest gain with a consensus forecast of +0.1%.

8:55 a.m. EDT: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were rose 0.6% last week on a year over year basis.

8:00 p.m. EDT: Charles Plosser, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President, is giving a speech on monetary policy to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

Wednesday, Oct. 21

7:00 a.m. EDT: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week’s data declined 1.8% after jumping 16.0% a week prior.  The refinance index fell 0.1%, while the purchase index fell 5%. Refinances made up 67.4% of all applications last week.

10:30 a.m. EDT: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report measures US domestic petroleum inventories.  Large unanticipated swings in this index could have a significant impact on energy prices.  Last week this report showed a rise of 0.4 million barrels versus a decline of -1.0 million barrels a week prior.

2:00 p.m. EDT: Beige Book (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): Investors will be looking to see if any of the Fed’s districts begin reporting modest growth.  The Beige Book has been growing somewhat more optimistic with most of the Fed’s district reporting that declines were at least leveling off or stabilizing.

4:30 p.m. EDT: Eric Rosengren, Boston Federal Reserve Bank President, is opening the Boston Fed’s annual economic conference on re-evaluating regulatory and monetary policy.

Thursday, Oct. 22

8:30 a.m. EDT: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims fell last week by 10K to 514K, after falling 33K a week prior. Despite second derivative improvements these numbers still indicate further deterioration to upcoming payroll numbers, and the unemployment rate, which is very likely to exceed 10% in the coming months. The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is expecting a modest uptick for this week’s initial claims release to 519K from 514K.

10:00 a.m. EDT: FHFA House Price Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly house price index is compiled by using loan data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which means all the data within the index consists of conventional mortgages within the limitations of the GSE’s.  The FHFA’s monthly purchase only index gained 0.3% in July with Junes +0.5% increment being revised down to 0.1%.  The monthly index tends to be relatively volatile, but should continue to trend up in-line with the Case-Shiller home price index.

10:00 a.m. EDT: September’s Leading Indicators (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The Conference Board’s Index of leading indicators should rise for the sixth consecutive month in September.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is expecting a +0.9% rise for the month, compared to a +0.6% increment in August.  The biggest positive contributions for the index will likely come from the yield curve, UMich expectations index, and jobless claims.

10:30 A.M. EDT: Eric Rosengren, Boston Federal Reserve Bank President, is presenting a paper on whether financial stability should be added to central banks objective.

10:30 a.m. EDT: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

1:30 P.M. EDT: William Dudley, New York Federal Reserve Bank President, will be moderating a panel on monetary policy instruments and the Fed’s supervisory function.

4:30 p.m. EDT: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  The Fed’s balance sheet again declined last week to US$2.174trn from US$2.120trn a week prior.  The main catalyst behind the rise was an increase in the holdings of Treasury and mortgage bonds.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to help moderate long-term interest rates.

Friday, Oct.23

8:30 a.m. EDT: Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, will give a speech on the supervisory landscape at the Boston Fed’s economic conference.

10:00 a.m. EDT: September Existing Home Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Strong pending home sales should help bolster existing home sales after last month’s surprising decline.   The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is projecting an increase to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million unites, compared to 5.10 million units a month prior.  Despite last month’s decline in home sales the inventory of existing homes dropped to 8.5 months from 9.3 months in July.  It may also be possible we could see a spike in this data as potential home buyers try to close deals before the current expiration of the first time home buyer tax credit on November 30th.

11:30 a.m. EDT: Donald Kohn, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman, will participate in a panel related to international perspectives at the Boston Fed’s economic conference.

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Economics Week Ahead: A Shortened Week with a Big Punch

October 10th, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

Despite a holiday on Monday, we have a busy week on all fronts, combing a deep economic calendar with a flurry of critical earnings releases.  On the economics front the two most important indicators are retail sales on Wednesday and CPI on Thursday.  September’s retail sales could face some negative pressure on the back of the termination of the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program, while the CPI should remain well within comfortable levels.  Other indicators of note are the FOMC minutes, the Philly and NY Fed manufacturing surveys, consumer sentiment, and industrial production.

There have also been indications that the government may extend and even expand the first time home buyer tax credit.  This would be an important development as estimates indicated that 25% of recent home sales may be attributable to the program.  But, if you recall, the impact from the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program diminished significantly after its first extension as those wanting to take advantage of the program already had. However, the clunkers program was only extended and not expanded.  The bottom line is the housing sector facing growing foreclosure levels and a weak labor market can still use all the help it can get and any extension to the program would be a positive.

But, earnings releases from several major banks and technology companies could usurp the market’s attention away from the economic indicators.  Some of the week’s main releases will be coming from Intel Corp (INTC) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) on Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) on Wednesday, Goldman Sachs (GS) and IBM (IBM) on Thursday and Bank of America (BAC) and General Electric (GE) on Friday.  Additionally, the Senate Finance Committee is set to vote on Tuesday on the Baucus Bill for healthcare reform.

Here is the rest of this week’s US calendar:

Monday October 12th:

Columbus Day Holiday

Tuesday October 13th:

7:30AM: Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, will speak at the NABE annual meeting

7:45AM: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a weekly increment of 0.3% in store sales compared to a gain of 0.1% a week prior.

8:55AM: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were down -1.9% last week on a year over year basis.

12:00PM: Donald Kohn, Federal Reserve Vice-Chair, will speak at the NABE annual meeting

1:15PM: William Dudley, NY Federal Reserve Bank President, will speak at the Institute of International Bankers.

2:00PM: Treasury Budget (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The current Bloomberg consensus for September’s US government budget deficit is –US$31.0bn compared to –US$111.4 a month prior.  Large deficits have led to record levels of US treasuries auctions, which in some instances have placed downward pressure on rates and in a few cases the growing deficit has even sparked some mild concerns over the US’s risk free credit rating. To help put this into perspective; year to date the government’s budget deficit has totaled US$1.378trn compared to $500.5bn a year ago.  Historically, during the month of September the government’s budget shows a strong surplus due to quarterly filings and corporate returns.

Wednesday October 14th:

7:00AM: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week’s data showed a jump of 16.0% on the back of lower mortgage rates.  The refinance index climbed 18%, while the purchase index rose 13%. Refinances made up 66.3% of all applications last week.

8:30AM: Retail Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): September’s retail sales data should face some downward pressure mostly stemming from the end of the US government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program.  New auto sales collapsed in September to an annual pace of 9.2mn units from 14.1mn in August.  Excluding autos retail sales will likely remain flat for the month.  The current Bloomberg consensus is for the headline number to fall by 2.1%, and for the ex-auto numbers to rise 0.3%.

8:30AM: Import and Export Prices (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Import prices likely remained steady in September with a decline in oil prices offsetting increments in other commodities.

10:00AM: Business Inventories (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Both wholesale and factory inventories declined in August, which likely indicates business inventories fell during the month.  Additionally, increased auto sales likely led to significant reductions in auto inventories that will be reflected in the month’s data.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a decline of 0.9% after falling 1.0% in July and 1.4% in June.

2:00PM: FOMC Minutes (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Investors will be paying close attention to the details behind the Fed’s plan to terminate, albeit at a slower pace, its 1.25trn agency mortgage-back securities purchase program.  In addition to this investors will be looking for any clarification regarding the following sentence in the FOMC statement, “The Federal Reserve will continue to employ a wide range of tools to promote economic recovery and to preserve price stability.”

Thursday October 15th:

8:30AM: Consumer Price Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): September’s headline and Core-CPI numbers likely only experienced only marginal gains for the month.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increment of 0.1% for the headline number and 0.1% for the core release.  This data should help quell inflation rhetoric for at least another month.   One of the month’s largest price increases will probably come from new vehicles as the ‘Cash for Clunker’ tax credit discounts will no longer be applied.

8:30AM: Empire State Manufacturing Survey (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): October’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey will likely be little changed from last month, with the current Bloomberg consensus forecast indicating a reading of 18.9, the same as September.  This would be the index’s third consecutive month above 0, which indicates gains for manufacturing in the NY region.

8:30AM: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims fell substantially last week by 33K to 521K. It is unclear whether or not this is the start of a significant improvement trend in claims or just a seasonal quirk.  Therefore, it will be important to monitor the 4wk moving average and the coming weeks’ releases.  Last week, the 4wk moving average declined to 539,750 from 548,750, this is the lowest level since January.  Despite second derivative improvements these numbers still indicate further deterioration to upcoming payroll numbers, and the unemployment rate, which is very likely to exceed 10% in the coming months. The current Bloomberg consensus is expecting a modest improvement for this week’s initial claims release to 520K from 521K.

10:00AM: Philly Fed Survey (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): According to the Bloomberg consensus survey October’s Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey is expected to fall slightly to 12.5 from last month’s release of 14.1.  Despite the expected decline, this would be the survey’s third consecutive month in positive territory.  It will also be important to monitor the new orders sub-component, which slipped slightly in September to 3.3 from 4.2 a month prior.  The employment index should remain well in negative territory.

10:30AM: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

11:00AM: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report measures US domestic petroleum inventories.  Large unanticipated swings in this index could have a significant impact on energy prices.  Last week this report showed a decline of 1.0mn barrels versus an increment of 2.8mn barrels a week prior.

4:30PM: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  The Fed’s balance sheet again declined last week to US$2.120trn from US$2.123trn a week prior.  The main catalyst behind the drop was a decrease in central bank liquidity swaps as demand for US$ falls.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to help moderate long-term interest rates.

Friday October 16th:

9:00AM: Treasury International Capital (TIC) Data (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights the flow of financial instruments to and from the U.S. It indicates foreign demand for U.S. financial instruments and thus tends to have a stronger impact on the dollar and the bond markets than it does on equities.  But, given the recent record levels for treasury auctions, it will be interesting to monitor foreign demand for US debt.

9:15AM: Industrial Production (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Significant: The current Bloomberg consensus survey is forecasting an increment of 0.2% for industrial production in September after gaining 0.8% in August and 1.0% in July.  A large portion of last month’s gain came from the restocking of auto inventories.  But, a 0.5% decline in manufacturing hours worked in September coupled with a drop off in car sales could place negative pressure on September’s release.  The consensus forecast indicates there will be no change in capacity utilization, which is expected to remain at 69.6%.

9:55AM: Consumer Sentiment (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): The Bloomberg consensus forecast is presently anticipating that October’s preliminary consumer sentiment number will come in at 74.0, compared to a prior reading of 73.5.  A weakening labor market offset by strong equity performance and marginally weaker energy prices during the month makes the possible outcomes of this month’s sentiment release somewhat volatile.  The range for the Bloomberg consensus forecast presently stands between a low of 71.0 and a high of 76.0.

10:15AM: Richard Fisher, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President, will deliver the keynote address at a conference co-sponsored by SMU’s Cox School of Business

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Economics Week Ahead: Is October the new September?

October 3rd, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

Based on last week’s negative performance on the back of several pieces of melancholy economic news, some investors may argue September has come late this year.  Looking ahead, we have a pretty quiet week on the data front, which may cause investors, still trying to heal from last week’s wounds, to place added emphasis on second tier indicators.  This week’s most important releases will be non-manufacturing ISM on Monday, consumer credit on Wednesday, chain store sales and jobless claims on Thursday, and international trade on Friday.  Over the coming weeks investors will continue gauging the magnitude of the pullback on the overall economy stemming from the cessation of ‘Cash for Clunkers’, along with potential damages from the upcoming expiration of the first time home buyer tax credit.

This week also brings with it the start of 3Q09 earnings, with Alcoa, Pepsi, Costco, and Yum all scheduled to announce this week.  Also this week the Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on the Baucus Bill for healthcare reform.

Over this weekend G7 finance ministers and central bankers are meeting, and will likely release a communiqué that has the potential to generate some headlines.  This will be followed up by IMF/World Bank meetings in Turkey on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here is the rest of this week’s US calendar:

Monday October 5th:

10:00AM: ISM Non-Manufacturing (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): The non-manufacturing ISM should continue its upward momentum, potentially moving above the 50 breakeven point with a Bloomberg consensus forecast of 50.0 compared to 48.4 in August.  But, August’s new orders index of 49.9 should decrease the odds of any large jump in the headline number.  This month it will be important to pay close attention to the forward looking new orders index and the prices paid components.  Additionally, given the lack of data this week and last week’s negative surprises more emphasis than usually may be placed on this release as the market continues to search for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday October 6th:

7:45AM: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a weekly increment of 0.1% in store sales compared to a decline of -2.0% a week prior.

8:55AM: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were down -2.2% last week on a year over year basis.

9:45AM: Thomas Hoenig, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President, is giving a speech at an economic forum sponsored by the bank’s Denver branch.

Wednesday October 7th:

7:00AM: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week’s data showed a decline of 2.8% despite lower mortgage rates.  The refinance index fell 0.8%, while the purchase index dropped 6.2%.Refinances made up 65.3% of all applications last week.

10:30AM: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report measures US domestic petroleum inventories.  Large unanticipated swings in this index could have a significant impact on energy prices.  Last week this report showed a rise of 2.8mn barrels versus a rise of 2.8mn barrels a week prior.

3:00PM: Consumer Credit (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): August consumer credit should once again show a significant decline due to bank’s unwillingness to lend and apprehensive consumers’ hesitations toward borrowing.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a decline in credit of –US$8.5bn, versus –US$21.6bn in July.  This would be the 7th consecutive month of declines for the index.  The chances of a consumer led recovery seem even more remote when you take into account for the dwindling consumer credit market.

Thursday October 8th:

Chain Store Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Same store sales may have improved slightly in September from August.  We should continue to see discount chains outperforming luxury chains as consumers become increasingly budget conscious.  It is important to note that Wal-Mart is no longer included in this reelase. 

8:30AM: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims rose last week by 17K to 551K. Initial claims should demonstrate marginal improvements over the coming months as weakness in the labor market slowly abates. But, make no mistake about it these levels are still uncomfortably high, and will continue to adversely impact the US payroll data for some time.  In fact using a simple regression analysis claims at their current levels would indicate a decline in payrolls of roughly 480K, however, recently this model has been exaggerating the actual effect on payrolls, but nevertheless is a cause for concern going forward.  The current Bloomberg consensus for this week’s initial claims release is 540K. But, initial claims could face some upward pressure during the month as an increased number of lay-offs were announced to take place.

10:00AM: RBC Cash Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Royal Bank of Canada’s Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household (CASH) Index is a monthly measure of consumer attitudes toward investing, the economic outlook, and personal finances.  This index does hold some importance in so much that it tends to demonstrate a pretty significant correlation with the consumer sentiment index being released next week.

10:00AM: Wholesale Trade (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This indicator measure the level of inventories and sales by US wholesalers.  It is generally considered a good forward looking indicator toward trends in consumer behavior as stores typically ramp up inventories prior to any anticipated increment in sales.  However, continued weakness in the labor market coupled with no indication of a rebound in consumer spending this index could face some negative pressure.  It is also important to note that this data is on a two month lag.

10:30AM: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

4:30PM: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  The Fed’s balance sheet declined last week to US$2.123trn from US$2.141trn a week prior.  This was the first decline in eight weeks.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to help moderate long-term interest rates.

8:45PM: Thomas Hoenig, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President, is giving a speech at an economic forum sponsored by the bank’s Oklahoma City branch.

Friday October 9th:

8:30AM: International Trade (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): Higher energy import prices will likely lead to further deterioration of the US trade balance with the Bloomberg consensus forecast projecting a decline of –US$33.0bn for August, compared to –US$32.0bn a month prior.  It will be important to monitor the levels of US exports, as a weakening US$ could have helped increase international demand for US products.  Also, during this time of year imports would typically experience some increments due to retailers stocking up for the holiday season, however, given depressed consumer demand and a morose outlook for the holiday season this effect will likely remain subdued.

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Economics Week Ahead: Markets Try to Find Traction in an Array of Data

September 25th, 2009 Michael McDonough 1 comment

There’s no doubt this week’s most important release will be Friday’s employment report, which is expected to show a decline in payrolls of -170K with an unemployment rate of 9.8%.  This week could prove critical as markets try to regain some traction after several negative surprises last week, including lower than anticipated existing home sales and durable goods orders.  However, looking at the docket this week (and possibly the months ahead) may hold slightly more downside risk than upside as the effects of the Cash for Clunkers program continues to fade, and the first time home buyer credit ticks closer to expiration come the end of November.  Other heavy hitters to watch this week include Tuesday’s consumer confidence report, Wednesday’s Chicago PMI release, and jobless claims, ISM, and personal income and outlays on Thursday.

Ending on a more positive note, the US is expected to return to positive GDP growth starting in 3Q09 on the back of improvements in the inventory cycle stemming from a slower rate of destocking.  However, the magnitude and longevity of this return to growth will be strongly dependent on consumer demand returning to the market.

Here is the rest of this week’s US calendar:

Monday September 28th:

8:30AM: Chicago Fed National Activity Index for July (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The CFNAI is an index consisting of 85 separate data sets designed to encompass national economic activity and inflationary pressure. A reading of 0 indicates the economy is growing at the historical trend while a negative or positive result indicates the economy is growing below or above its historical average, respectively. Given the volatile nature of this index, the three-month moving average is typically quoted. This index remains somewhat obscure in the mainstream media and is likely to have a minimal impact on trading. This index has shown improvements over the preceding six months and is expected to improve again in August from its reading of -1.7 in July.

10:30AM: Dallas Fed, Texas Manufacturing Outlook (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index is not highly publicized, and tracks manufacturing activity within the Dallas Feds jurisdiction.  Last month’s survey suggested “that factory activity continued to contract at a slower pace in August.”

Tuesday September 29th:

7:45AM: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a weekly decline of -2.0% in store sales compared to an increase of +0.0% a week prior.

8:55AM: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were down -2.6% last week on a year over year basis.

9:00AM: S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The Case Shiller HPI has shown some signs of life rising 1.4% in June with only Las Vegas and Detroit experiencing monthly declines.  But, on a year over year basis both the Case-Shiller 10 and 20 city composite indices are still down over 15%.  Nevertheless, the index will likely show a modest monthly improvement in July on the back of relatively strong housing activity.

9:50AM: Richard Fisher, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President, gives a speech on the state of the economy.

10:00AM: Consumer Confidence (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Significant): Recent advances in other consumer confidence indicators, including Reuters/UMich Consumer Sentiment Index, should help add some upward momentum to the Conference Board’s September Consumer Confidence number.   A weak labor market is still a big concern for consumers, however, indications that the economy may be improving will likely not go unnoticed.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increase to 57.0 from August’s number of 54.1.

10:00AM: State Street Investor Confidence Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The State Street Investor’s Confidence Index measures investors’ tolerance to risk.  According to the State Street report, “[August’s] increase represents the eighth consecutive improvement in Global Investor Confidence, and places the risk appetite of institutional investors firmly in the range that is associated with accumulation of risk exposures,” They went on to say. “At the same time, the rate of increase in the Index has moderated relative to some months ago, suggesting that institutions are being somewhat selective in their allocations.”

3:00PM: Farm Prices (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Given the relationship between farms prices and food prices, this index could have significant implications on future headline CPI.

7:00PM: Charles Plosser, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President, is speaking on Fed’s role in the economy at the Lehigh Valley Economic Outlook

Wednesday September 30th:

7:00AM: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week’s data showed an increment of 12.8% on higher refinancing activity stemming from mortgages rates slipping below 5%.  The refinance index rose 17.4%, while the purchase index rising 5.6%.Refinances made up 63.8% of all applications last week.

8:15AM: ADP Employment Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The ADP Employment report is considered a good window into Friday’s critical payroll number.  Last month, however, the ADP reported indicated job losses of -298K, while payrolls declined by only -216K.

8:30AM: GDP (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): According to the Bloomberg consensus survey, the BEA’s final estimate of 2Q09 GDP is likely to come in at -1.2%, compared to the preliminary estimate of -1.0%.  The culprits behind the anticipated slippage are faster inventory liquidation and weaker net exports. GDP is widely expected to turn positive in 3Q09.

9:45AM: Chicago PMI (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Moderate): This Chicago PMI measures business activity in the mid-West, and is released one day prior to the national ISM index.  Adverse effects from strong seasonal adjustment factors could cause this index to surprise on the downside.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increase to 52.0 in September versus 50.0 in August.  It will be important to pay close attention to any significant changes to the new orders, employment, and prices paid indices. The new orders index broke above 50 in August for the first time in 11 months.

10:30AM: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report measures US domestic petroleum inventories.  Large unanticipated swings in this index could have a significant impact on energy prices.  Last week this report showed a rise of 2.8mn barrels versus a decline of -4.7mn barrels a week prior.

Thursday October 1st:

Motor Vehicle Sales (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Moderate): Auto sales will likely face a sharp pullback in September, no longer benefitting from the US government’s Cash for Clunkers program.  The current Bloomberg consensus is forecasting 8.0mn domestic sales for September, versus a 10.1mn annual pace in August.  Despite the precipitous drop, the y/y decline should be less now than it was prior to the Cash for Clunkers program, which is somewhat positive.

Monster Employment Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This survey conducted by Monster Worldwide Inc. measures online job demand.

7:30AM: Challenger Job-Cut Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This index measures the number of announced corporate mass layoffs, but does not take into account the timing of the actual layoffs.  Meaning layoffs could be announced in September, but not take place until October, or may even take place slowly over an extended period of time.

8:30AM: Personal Income & Outlays (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): The temporaneous effects of the Cash for Clunkers program have likely lead to a significant increment in consumer spending for August, with the Bloomberg consensus forecast anticipating a 1.1% monthly increase, higher energy prices may have also had a marginal impact.  Personal income will likely turn slightly positive for the month on the back of higher average wages; the current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a monthly increment of 0.1% versus no change last month.  The core PCE is expected to rise 0.1%.

8:30AM: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims fell last week by 21K to 530K. Initial claims should continue to demonstrate marginal improvements over the coming months as weakness in the labor market slowly abates. But, make no mistake about it these levels are still uncomfortably high, and will continue to adversely impact the US payroll data for some time.  In fact using a simple regression analysis claims at their current levels would indicate a decline in payrolls of roughly 480K, however, recently this model has been exaggerating the actual effect on payrolls, but nevertheless is a cause for concern going forward.  The current Bloomberg consensus for this week’s initial claims release is 537K. The anticipated increment for claims may still be due to seasonal adjustment effects stemming from the later than usual Labor Day Holiday.

10:00AM: ISM Manufacturing Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): In August the ISM rose for the 8th consecutive month finishing August at 52.9, this was the index’s first reading above the breakeven point of 50 since January 2008.  Looking to September, the current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a reading of 53.5, which I personally believe may be slightly optimistic.  Nevertheless, the new orders index did jump last month to 64.9 from 55.3.  With that in mind it will be very important to pay close attention to September’s new orders and employment index, which could help set the tone for the overall report.

10:00AM: Construction Spending (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Moderate): According to the Bloomberg consensus survey construction spending is expected to fall -0.1% in August versus a decline of -0.2% in July.  Non-residential construction should continue placing the strongest downward pressure on the overall index, while residential construction spending also has the potential to move into negative territory after gaining 2.3% in July and 0.4% in June on a strengthening housing market.

10:00AM: Pending Home Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): Pending home sales rose 3.2% in June, realizing its sixth consecutive monthly gain.  However, pending home sales could start facing some pressure over the coming months as the first time home buyer tax credit is presently set to expire on November 30th.

10:30AM: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

4:30PM: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  The Fed’s balance sheet rose again last week to US$2.141trn from US$2.125trn a week prior.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to help moderate long-term interest rates.

5:30PM: Sandra Pianalto, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President, is speaking at a Market News international seminar in NY.

Friday October 2nd:

8:30AM: Employment Situation Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Very Significant): The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a decline in payrolls of -170K for September, compared to a decline of -216K in August.  However, it is important to keep in mind that a later than usual Labor Day could lead to some discrepancies in this month’s data.  Nevertheless, we should see an improvement from last month’s declines.  According to the Bloomberg consensus forecast the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 9.8% from 9.7%.

10:00AM: Factory Orders (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Moderate): The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increment in factory orders of 1.0% in August, versus +1.3% in July.  However, unexpected weakness in last week’s durable goods release on Friday may cause some revisions to this number.

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Economic Week Ahead: Big Ben & His Men (& Women)…

September 18th, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

Undoubtedly the most important item on this week’s calendar will be Wednesday’s FOMC announcement, which is highly unlikely to show any changes to the current policy stance.  But, as always, the market will be paying close attention the wording of the FOMC’s statement, which turned slightly more constructive last month indicating that financial markets have improved and that economic activity had begun to ‘level out’.  But, there is a possibility that the FOMC could provide some additional information regarding the fate of its Treasury purchase program.  The program is currently set to slowly expire by the end of October.  This week’s other notable indicators include new and existing home sales, which are both expected to rise for the fifth consecutive month.  In addition home builders Lennar Corp. (LEN) and KB Home (KBH) are scheduled to release earnings on Monday and Friday, respectively.  The market will also be being paying attention to Friday’s durable goods release, which should show continued strength in August due to support from the US government’s Cash for Clunkers program.  Finally, G20 nations will be meeting on Thursday and Friday in Pittsburgh, PA to discuss a variety of topics that could drive some headlines.

Here is the rest of this week’s US calendar:

Monday September 21st:

10:00AM: Leading Indicators (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): August’s leading economic indicator will likely experience its fifth consecutive month of positive readings, helping to confirm Ben Bernanke’s recent comments that the recession has ended.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a gain of +0.7%, compared to an increment of +0.6% in July.  Stock prices, the yield curve, and vendor performance should have the largest positive impact on the index for the month, while money supply and jobless claims will add some negative pressure.  The LEI is a good forward looking indicator toward future industrial production and ISM performance.

Tuesday September 22nd:

7:45AM: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated no change in store sales compared to an increase of +0.6% a week prior.

8:55AM: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were down -1.9% last week on a year over year basis.

10:00AM: FHFA House Price Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly house price index is compiled by using loan data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which means all the data within the index consists of conventional mortgages within the limitations of the GSE’s.  The FHFA’s monthly purchase only index gained of 0.5% in June with May’s number being revised up to +0.6%.  The monthly index tends to be relatively volatile, but should continue to trend up in-line with the Case-Shiller home price index.

10:00AM: Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Richmond Fed manufacturing activity index has been in positive territory since May, and should remain there this month based on what has been a strong new orders component.   The overall current conditions index was unchanged in August from July at 14.

Wednesday September 23rd:

7:00AM: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week’s data showed a decline of 8.6% due to the effects of the shortened week.  The refinance index fell 7.4%, while the purchase index dropped 10.3%. These declines were likely due to the shortened Labor Day week, and slightly higher, albeit relatively low, mortgage rates.

10:30AM: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report measures US domestic petroleum inventories.  Large unanticipated swings in this index could have a significant impact on energy prices.  Last week this report showed a decline of -4.7mn barrels versus a decline of -5.9mn barrels a week prior.

2:15AM: FOMC Meeting Announcement: The market is unlikely to witness any drastic deviations in Fed policy this month with the target range remaining between 0.0% and 0.25%.  But, the market will be looking for any changes to wording in the Fed’s policy statement that could indicate a more constructive outlook for US economic activity or financial markets.  The Fed may also make an announcement regarding the fate of its Treasury purchased program, which is set to expire at the end of October.  The FOMC had this to say about the program in its last statement, “To promote the a smooth transition in markets as these purchases of Treasury securities are completed, the Committee has decided to gradually slow the pace of these transactions and anticipates that the full amount will be purchases by the end of October. The Committee will continue to evaluate the timing and overall amounts of its purchases of securities in light of the evolving economic outlook and conditions in financial markets.”

Thursday September 24th:

G-20 Conference Begins in Pittsburgh PA

8:30AM: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims fell last week by 5K to 545K. Initial claims should continue to demonstrate marginal improvements over the coming months as weakness in the labor market slowly abates. But, make no mistake about it these levels are still uncomfortably high, and will continue to adversely impact the US payroll data for some time.  In fact using a simple regression analysis claims at their current levels would indicate a decline in payrolls of roughly 480K, however, recently this model has been exaggerating the actual effect on payrolls, but nevertheless is a cause for concern going forward.  The current Bloomberg consensus for this week’s initial claims release is 550K. The marginal forecasted increment is still due to the potential seasonal effects of the later than usual Labor Day Holiday.

10:00AM: Existing Home Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): A strong pending home sales number in July should help continue the upward momentum for August’s existing home sales.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increase to 5.35mn from 5.24mn in July.  Existing home sales have risen for four month consecutive months, reaching a two-year high in July, which will likely be usurped by August’s data.

10:30AM: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

1:00PM: Christina Romer, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers is giving the keynote address to the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank’s International Banking Conference

4:30PM: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  The Fed’s balance sheet rose again last week to US$2.125trn from US$2.072trn a week prior.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to help moderate long-term interest rates.

Friday September 25th:

8:30AM: Durable Goods (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): The US government’s Cash for Clunkers program should continue to help bolster August’s durable goods orders, which according to the Bloomberg consensus forecast is anticipated to rise by 1.0%, compared to July’s increment of 4.9% stemming from strong civilian aircraft activity.

9:55AM: Consumer Sentiment (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Significant): The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is anticipating no change in September’s Reuter’s/University of Michigan’s Consumer sentiment index compared to the month’s preliminary reading of 70.2.  However, a paradoxical comment by the index’s publisher earlier this month highlighted consumers’ concerns over their individual situation, which I believe could adversely impact the index.  The comment said, “Confidence rebounded in early September as consumers increasingly expected the economy to improve despite their reluctant conclusion that their own financial situation would remain quite problematic for some time.”

10:00AM: New Home Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): As with existing home sales, new home sales should rise in August, with the current Bloomberg consensus forecast anticipating a rise to 445K from 433K in July.  Last month was the index’s fourth consecutive increment.  It will also be important to pay close attention to the inventory of new houses, which fell in July to 7.5 months from 8.5 in June; this was the lowest reading since April 2007.  Going forward it will be important to monitor whether or not the US first time home buyer program is extended.  It is presently scheduled to expire on November 30th, and has likely had a positive contribution on the housing market.  Some reports have indicated that 25% of total home sales may be attributable to the program.

1:15PM:  Kevin Warsh, Federal Reserve Board Governor is set to speak at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank’s International Banking Conference

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Economics Week Ahead: A Deluge of Data

September 12th, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

After last week’s relatively light economic calendar, the market faces a deluge of data from nearly every facet of the economy. With that said this week’s most closely watched release will likely be Tuesday’s retail sales announcement, which is expected to show a +2.0% gain on the back of increased auto-sales and higher gas prices, but not on what would traditionally be back-to-school spending.  Other notable releases include Tuesday’s PPI & Empire State Manufacturing Survey, Wednesday’s CPI & Industrial Production data, and Thursday’s Housing Starts, Jobless Claims, and Philly Fed Survey releases.  The week concludes with a quadruple witching on Friday, which has the potential to bring unusual volatility and volumes to the market.

Over the next several months, the incremental improvements in the US housing market could begin to come under some pressure as the US government’s first time home buyer tax incentive program is set to expire on November 30th.   This deadline doesn’t leave new buyers much time to find and close on any new purchases, which should lead to a gradual unwinding of the program.  The first evidence of this could be seen in this month’s housing starts data, given the long lag between getting homes permitted and sold to buyers in time to qualify for the program.  This combined with the temporaneous effect of the government’s now expired ‘Cash for Clunkers’ could help catalyze a retrenchment, or at least place adverse pressure on the housing and manufacturing sectors amid a still weakening labor market.

Here is the rest of this week’s calendar:

Monday September 14th:

8:35AM: Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke speaks at an annual conference for CPA’s in Washington D.C. on “Regulatory Perspectives on the Changing Accounting Landscape”.

12:30AM: Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lacker speaks on “Choices in Financial Regulation” with Q&A at the Risk Management Association’s annual conference.

3:50PM: San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen will discuss the US economic outlook to CFA analysts in San Francisco.

Tuesday September 15th:

7:45AM: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Downward, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a rise of 0.6% in store sales compared to an decline of -0.5% a week prior.

8:30AM: Producer Price Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Rising energy prices from July to August will place upward pressure on August’s headline PPI number, while the core-PPI should remain largely unchanged.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a rise of +0.8% in the PPI, and +0.1% for the core number.

8:30AM: Retail Sales (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): What is typically a jump in August retail sales driven by increased back-to-school purchases will likely not materialize.  However, the index should experience relatively robust gains through a combination of mostly higher auto sales, due to the government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program, and to some degree the pricing effect of rising gasoline prices.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increment in retail sales of +2.0%, while retails sales ex-autos are anticipated to come in at +0.4%.

8:30AM: Empire State Manufacturing Survey (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The NY State Manufacturing Index should remain in positive territory in September, after its first positive reading in over a year last month.  This theory is supported by last month’s large increase in the survey’s new order index, which rose to 13.4 from 5.9 a month prior.  It will be important to monitor August’s new order index, which should remain positive, but may face some downward pressure due to strong seasonal adjustment factors. The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a September reading of 14.0, versus an August reading 12.1.

8:55AM: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were down -2.4% last week on a year over year basis.

10:00AM: Business Inventories (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The current Bloomberg forecast is for a -0.9% decline in July’s business inventories.  If this release is indeed negative it will be the 12th consecutive month inventories have declined.  But, over the past several months, the inventory to sales ratio has been receding from its January 2009 high.

10:00AM: Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver the same speech he gave at the Jackson Hole Symposium to the Brookings Institute, but Q&A is anticipated.

Wednesday September 16th:

7:00AM: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week the overall index resumed its upward trend, rising 17.0%.  The refinance index rose 22.5%, while the purchase index climbed 9.5%; these increments were primarily driven by falling mortgage rates and relatively low home prices.

8:30AM: Consumer Price Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): As with the PPI, August’s CPI release could face some upward pressure due to increases in fuel prices over the month; the Bloomberg consensus forecast is presently anticipating a +0.4% increment in the headline number.  At the core level, consumer prices should remain relatively steady with the current Bloomberg consensus forecast calling for an increment of just +0.1%.  Other factors that could impact this month’s release include upward pressure from increasing auto and tobacco prices.

8:30AM: Current Account (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal):  The 2Q09 current account deficit will likely fall to its lowest levels in several years, on the back of declining energy import prices during the quarter.  During 1Q09 the deficit stood at -US$102.7bn.

9:00AM: Treasury International Capital (TIC) Data (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This report highlights the flow of financial instruments to and from the U.S. It indicates foreign demand for U.S. financial instruments and thus tends to have a stronger impact on the dollar and the bond markets than it does on equities.  But, given the recent record levels for treasury auctions, it will be interesting to monitor foreign demand for US debt.

9:15AM: Industrial Production (Risk: Downside, Market Reaction: Significant): The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for August’s industrial production to show an increase of +0.7%, compared to July’s increment of +0.5%.  A large portion of August’s increment is anticipated to come from increased auto production, which in my opinion, however, could be more than offset by weakness in other areas of manufacturing due to a reduction in hours worked for employees in the sector during the month.  The Bloomberg consensus forecast anticipates that capacity utilization will move to 69.0% in August from 68.5% a month prior.

10:30AM: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report measures US domestic petroleum inventories.  Large unanticipated swings in this index could have a significant impact on energy prices.  Last week this report showed a decline of -5.9mn barrels versus a decline of -0.4mn barrels a week prior.

1:00PM: Housing Market Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is expected to show a modest gain on the back of tax credits, attractive mortgage rates, and low home prices.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a reading of 19 in September, compared to the previous month’s result of 18.  This index measures builders’ views over the conditions of the housing market; any reading below 50 implies their view is negative.  The index remains depressed primarily due to, improving, but still enormous inventory levels.

Thursday September 17th:

8:30AM: Housing Starts (Risk: Downside, Market Reaction: Moderate): Increased single-family starts will likely place upward momentum on the overall index with the Bloomberg consensus forecast presently anticipating a rise to 0.600mn units in August from 0.581mn units a month prior.  But, going forward there are some downside risks to this data due to the expiration of the government’s first time home buyer tax rebate in November.  What this means is that according to the NAHB, “July was probably the last month in which to get homes permitted and started in time for customers to take advantage of the incentive.”

8:30AM: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims fell last week by 20K to 550K. Claims should demonstrate marginal improvements over the coming months as weakness in the labor market slowly abates. But, make no mistake about it these levels are still uncomfortably high, and will continue to adversely impact the US payroll data for some time.  The current Bloomberg consensus for this week’s initial claims number is 575K.  This week’s projected increment is partially due to the positioning of this year’s Labor Day Holiday.  In fact using a simple regression analysis claims at their current levels would indicate a decline in payrolls of roughly 500K, however, recently this model has been exaggerating the actual effect on payrolls, but nevertheless is a cause for concern going forward.

10:00AM: Philadelphia Fed Survey (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The Philly Fed Index should continue last month gains with the current Bloomberg consensus survey indicating a reading of 8.0 for September compared to 4.2 in August.  This anticipated increment is on the back of the new order index’s strong performance in August moving to +4.2 from -2.2.  Given recent momentum the new orders index should also experience an additional rise this month.

10:30AM: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

4:30PM: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  Last week the Fed’s balance sheet rose again to US$2.072trn from US$2.069trn a week prior.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to help moderate long-term interest rates.

Friday September 18th:

Quadruple Witching: Contracts for stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures (SSF) all expire today.  As a result, we could see an increased amount of volumes and volatility in the market, especially toward the end of the day.

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Economics Week Ahead: The Calm Before The Storm

September 4th, 2009 Michael McDonough 1 comment

With the shortened week comes a rather light economic calendar, with the most significant release likely being the Fed’s Beige Book on Wednesday, followed by consumer sentiment on Friday.  This week’s lull will come to an abrupt end next week with the release of the retails sales and Industrial production data, among others.  In addition to the Fed’s Beige Book this week brings with it a relatively full schedule of Fed talk, with three members speaking between Wednesday and Thursday on various topics.  Other notable releases include July’s international trade data and jobless claims on Thursday.  Initial claims will continue to come under the spotlight as last week’s employment report sent investors mixed messages with payrolls coming in better than forecasted, while the unemployment rate disappointed expectations.  The market will also hear earnings announcements from a handful of companies, including Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) and Men’s Warehouse (MW).  Here is the rest of this week’s calendar:

Monday September 7th:

Labor Day- No Releases

Tuesday September 8th:

7:45AM: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Downward, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a decline of -0.5% in store sales compared to an increment of 0.6% a week prior.

8:55AM: Redbook (Risk: Negative, Market Reaction: Marginal): The Redbook is a weekly measurement of chain stores, discounters, and department store sales.  This indicator tends to be less significant than the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales in forecasting retail sales.  According to the Redbook store sales were down 4.1% last week on a year over year basis. 

3:00PM: July Consumer Credit Outstanding (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): The amount of consumer credit outstanding in July likely contracted, but albeit at a slower pace than the month prior due to upward momentum from auto sales stemming from the government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program.  Given tight credit conditions and the consumer’s apprehension toward borrowing the index’s revolving credit component should remain suppressed after falling -US$5.4bn in June.   This index does not included mortgages or any loans backed by real estate.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an overall drop in credit of around –US$ 4.0bn, compared to June’s net drop of -US$10.3bn.

US Congress Returns from August Break: Upcoming topics that will likely create headlines include; healthcare reform, financial regulation reform, additional increments to the US debt limit, and the reconfirmation of Chairman Bernanke.

Wednesday September 9th:

7:00AM: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week the overall index declined for the first time in five weeks, falling 2.2%.  The refinance index declined 3.1%, while the purchase index fell 1.0%; this performance came despite falling mortgage rates and relatively low home prices.

8:55AM: 2Q09 Quarterly Services Survey (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The U.S. Consensus Bureau’s Quarterly Services Survey estimates total operating revenue with a breakdown in revenue by client type (i.e. government, business, consumers, and individuals).  The survey is specific to the following baskets of sectors: 1) Information, 2) Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, 3) Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services, 4) Hospitals and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities.  The 1Q09 survey showed revenues decreased for all sectors excluding hospital and nursing and residential care facilities.

2:00PM: Beige Book (Risk: Upside, Market Reaction: Significant): This report, which is released two weeks before FOMC meetings, outlines economic conditions across the Fed’s 12 districts. Recently the report, which has been negative for all of the year, may have reached an inflection point in July; continued signs of improvement would be a welcome sign to investors.  This report helps to provide valuable input into the US service sector, which makes-up roughly 55% of the US economy.

Fed Speak: Charles Evans, Chicago Fed President, is schedule to speak at the Council of Foreign Relations in NY on the “Great Inflation Debate”.

OPEC is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, but is expected to make no changes to its current output policy.

Thursday September 10th:

8:30AM: July International Trade Data (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): Due to the offsetting effect of a marginal decline in petroleum imports, stemming from pricing effects, July’s overall trade deficit should only show a marginal increment.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast for July’s deficit is US$28.0bn, versus June’s deficit of US$27.0bn

8:30AM: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims fell last week by 4K to 570K. Claims should demonstrate marginal improvements over the coming months as weakness in the labor market slowly abates. But, make no mistake about it these levels are still uncomfortably high, and will continue to adversely impact the US payroll data for some time.  The current Bloomberg consensus for this week’s initial claims number is 565K.  In fact using a simple regression analysis claims at their current levels would indicate a decline in payrolls of roughly 500K, however, recently this model has been exaggerating the actual effect on payrolls, but nevertheless is a cause for concern going forward.

10:30AM: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

11:00AM: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report indicates domestic petroleum inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.  Last week this report showed a decline of -0.4mn barrels versus and increment of0.2mn barrels a week prior.

4:30PM: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  Last week the Fed’s balance sheet rose to US$2.069trn from US$2.052trn a week prior.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to helping to control interest rates.

Fed Speak: Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn is schedule to speak at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C. on the Fed’s unorthodox policy response to the recent financial crisis.  Dennis Lockhart, President of the Atlanta, is also scheduled to speak on Thursday.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is scheduled to testify in front of a Congressional oversight committee regarding the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

The Bank of Canada and the ECB are scheduled to make monetary policy announcements.

Friday September 11th:

8:30AM: August Import and Export Prices (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): An increment in petroleum prices during the month will likely cause August’s import price index to rise, after falling -0.7% in July.  Presently, a substantial rise in any of the major pricing indicators could increase the amount of chatter over potential future inflationary pressures.  For a more detailed analysis on how inflationary pressures could impact monetary policy please see my piece on FiatEconomics.com titled, ‘When Will the FOMC Turn From Dove to Hawk? Don’t Hold Your Breath…’.

9:55AM: August Preliminary Consumer Sentiment (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Improvements in the housing market, fewer job losses, and relatively low gasoline prices will like place some positive momentum on September’s preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast for the index is 67.0, compared to August’s final reading of 64.5.  As you may recall August’s preliminary release unexpectedly fell to 63.2 from 66.0 in July causing significant leading to significant concerns over the US consumer sector.  August’s final reading was the lowest since March 2009.  An increment in last week in the Royal Bank of Canada’s Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household (CASH) Index should bode well for consumer sentiment as they tend the indicators tend to demonstrate a significant correlation.  The RBC Cash Index increased to 40.0 in September compared to a previous reading 37.5.

10:00AM: July Wholesale Trade (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This indicator measure the level of inventories and sales by US wholesalers.  It is generally considered a good forward looking indicator toward trends in consumer behavior as stores typically ramp up inventories prior to any anticipated increment in sales.  However, continued weakness in the labor market coupled with no indication of a rebound in consumer spending this index could face some negative pressure.  It is also important to note that this data is on a two month lag.

2:00PM: Treasury Budget (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): The current Bloomberg consensus for July’s US government budget deficit is –US$140.0bn compared to –US$180.7 a month prior.  Large deficits have led to record levels of US treasuries auctions, which in some instances have placed downward pressure on rates and in a few cases the growing deficit has even sparked some mild concerns over the US’s risk free credit rating.

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet

US Week Ahead: The Start of September…

August 29th, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

This week brings the onset of a notoriously bad month for returns, and given the week’s vast array of critical data, the ball is sure to start rolling in one direction or another.  First let me apologize if this week’s calendar seems somewhat abridged, as I am on vacation, and am writing it amid the sounds of seagulls and breaking waves.  This week’s key releases are the ISM manufacturing report, which has the chance to move above the breakeven point of 50 for the first time in roughly 20 months, and August’s employment report, which is likely to show continued deterioration.  Other notable reports include motor vehicle sales  on Tuesday, which will help us better comprehend the full magnitude of the government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program, the ISM non-manufacturing report, and the release of the FOMC minutes, which will help investor’s gain a finer understanding of the Fed’s bias.  It is a busy week, so I recommend paying close attention.

Monday August 31st:

9:45AM: Chicago PMI (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This Chicago PMI measures business activity in the mid-West, and is released one day prior to the national ISM index.  In July most of the index’ components experienced gains, supporting a recovery in the US.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast for August’s release is 48.0, compared to a previous reading of 43.4.  It will be important to pay close attention to any significant changes to the new orders, employment, and prices paid indices, all of which are currently below the breakeven of 50.  Last month the PMI stated, “If this were an average recession, it would end four months after the low point in the Barometer, suggesting an end of the recession in August 2009. A more conservative rule would draw an analogy to the 1981-82 recession, since this is not working out to be an average recession. Using that rule, the end of this recession would be projected to be 9 months after the lowest value of the Chicago Business Barometer. With March as our best current estimate of that minimum, the recession is projected to end in December 2009.”

3:00PM: Farm Prices (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Given the relationship between farms prices and food prices, this index could have significant implications on future headline CPI.

Tuesday September 1st:

Motor Vehicle Sales (Risk: Upside, Market Reaction: Moderate): Motor vehicle sales will likely be up significantly on the back of the government’s ‘Cash for Clunker’ program.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for sales is10.5mn, compared to the previous month’s sales of 8.3mn.

7:45AM: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Risk: Downward, Market Reaction: Marginal): This weekly index tracks aggregate store sales across major US retailers, accounting for roughly 10% of total retail sales.  Given recent data supporting an increasing US saving rates and a worsening employment situation, this index could face some downward pressure.  Last week’s number indicated a rise of 0.6% in store sales compared to a decline of -0.9% a week prior.

10:00AM: ISM Manufacturing Index (Risk: Upside, Market Reaction: Significant): The ISM has experienced seven straight months of gains, and given this trend and improvement in other manufacturing indicators has the potential to move above the breakeven point of 50 this month.  This belief is strengthened by strong performance of the ISM’s new order index last month, which came in at 55.3. The current Bloombeg consensus forecast is for a reading of 50.5, compared to July’s reading of 48.9.

10:00AM: Construction Spending (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): Increased activity in the residential and government sectors will likely be offset by diminishing spending on the commercial structures, leading the no significant changes in construction spending.  The current Bloomberg consensus is for a 0.0% change from last month, compared to an increment of 0.3% a month prior.

10:00AM: Pending Home Sales (Risk: Upside, Market Reaction: Moderate): Large increments in new mortgage applications and general improvements in the housing sector will likely sustain upward momentum in pending home sales.  Pending home sales were up 3.6% a month prior.  Pending home sales tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator to final home sales, however, not all pending sales become final.

Wednesday September 2nd:

7:00AM: MBA Purchase Applications (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index, which tracks new mortgage applications tends to be a reasonable forward looking indicator for home sales, but issues including customers filling out numerous applications could skew the index.  Last week the overall index increased for the fourth consecutive week with a gain of 7.5%; while the refinance index rose 12.7% and the purchase index rose 1.0% on the back of relatively low mortgage rates and declining home prices.

7:30AM: Challenger Job Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This index measures the number of announced corporate mass layoffs.  But, this data does not take into account the timing of the actual layoffs.

8:15AM: ADP Employment Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): The ADP Employment report is considered a reasonable window into Friday’s critical payroll number.  Last month, however, the ADP reported indicated job losses of -371K, while payrolls declined by only -247K.

8:30AM: Productivity & Costs (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This will be the final release of 2Q productivity and labor costs.  It is unlikely there will be significant changes from the preliminary numbers, which showed a significant 6.4% increase in productivity and a -5.8% decline for unit labor costs.  In fact the current Bloomberg consensus forecast calls for no changes in either indicator.

10:00AM: Factory Orders (Risk: Upside, Market Reaction: Marginal): Increased durable goods orders largely on the back of the US government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program will likely supply positive momentum for factory orders.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for an increment of 2.3%, compared to 0.4% a month prior.

10:30AM: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report indicates domestic petroleum inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.  Last week this report showed an increase in inventories of 0.2mn barrels after declining -8.4mn a week prior.

2:00PM: FOMC Minutes (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Given the three week lag between the FOMC meeting and the release of the minutes this should have only a marginal effect on trading. But, the minutes could elaborate the rationale behind the FOMC’s decision, and give some clues to future decisions, in which case the market could move on the release.

Thursday September 3rd:

Chain Store Sales (Risk: Downside, Market Reaction: Moderate): Chain store sales probably came under pressure again last month, as consumers reduced spending on the back of weakness in the labor market.  In fact, a recent survey by the National Retail Federation found that families this year will be spending on average US$549 versus US$594 last year on back to school goods.  This along with other negative factors should adversely impact this summer’s retail sales.

Monster Employment Index (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): This survey conducted by Monster Worldwide Inc. measures online job demand.

8:30AM: Jobless Claims (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Significant): Initial claims fell last week by 10K to 570K. Claims should marginally improve over the coming months as weakness in the labor market slowly abates. But, make no mistake about it these levels are still uncomfortably high, and will continue to adversely impact the US payroll data for some time.  The current Bloomberg consensus for this week’s initial claims number is 562K.  In fact using a simple regression analysis claims at their current levels would indicate a decline in payrolls of roughly 500K, however, recently this model has been exaggerating the actual effect on payrolls, but nevertheless is a cause for concern going forward.

10:00AM: ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (Risk: Upside, Market Reaction: Moderate): August’s non-manufacturing ISM should show continued improvement, but remain below the breakeven mark of 50.  In July the new orders component came in below 50 at 48.1, and is not expected to break above 50 this month either.

10:00AM: EIA Natural Gas Report (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Moderate): This report highlights domestic natural gas inventories, which could have a significant impact on the energy sector.

4:30PM: Fed Balance Sheet & Money Supply (Risk: Neutral, Market Reaction: Marginal): Since the Fed’s shift to quantitative easing, the balance sheet has become one method to measure to the Fed’s effectiveness.  The market will pay close attention to the reserve bank credit component, which measures factors supplying   providing reserves into the banking system.  Last week the Fed’s balance sheet rose to US$2.049trn from US$2.037trn a week prior.  The fed’s balance sheet has slowly been shifting away from emergency lending facilities to Treasuries, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities to helping to control interest rates.

Friday September 4th:

8:30AM: Employment Report (Risk: Downside, Market Reaction: Very Significant): Elevated levels of initial jobless claims will likely place continued pressure on payrolls.  The current Bloomberg consensus forecast is for a decline in payrolls of -200K, and an unemployment rate of 9.6%.  I believe the consensus forecast for payrolls may be somewhat optimistic, and will be looking for additional hits in this week’s ADP and ISM employment indices.

Enjoy the weekend!

Retweet