Market Commentary

The Economy

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For December, new home sales spiked to 621,000 from 599,000 in November. This data was delayed and at this point is pretty old. For the same month construction spending, also delayed, was down .6%; twice what was expected. It is difficult to gauge the strength or weakness of the economy with the delayed reports from […]

Market Commentary

Consumer Still in the Driver’s Seat

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retail sales

We are getting catch up data released this week from the government shutdown and at the same time we are getting some reports that are delayed again. New home sales and durable goods orders for January are both delayed again. Yesterday the consumer confidence index for February spiked up to 131.4 from 121.7 in January. […]

Market Commentary

Retail Sales

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The late retail sales report for December was released yesterday. It showed a strikingly weak number falling 1.2%, and if you take out autos it fell 1.8%. Those are the worst numbers in nine years. Gasoline sales fell hard too, but mostly because the price at the pump fell in December. However, internet sales shrank […]

Market Commentary

Household Debt

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In the fourth quarter of 2018, household debt rose for the 18th quarter in a row.  It stands at $13.54 trillion as reported by the New York Federal Reserve. At the same time new mortgage debt fell to the lowest level in nearly four years. The refi business was crushed and balances on home-equity loans fell […]

Market Commentary

Productivity

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Every quarter we get a report from the government about productivity of the American work force. Accompanying that report, to determine productivity, is quarterly unit labor costs and other associated numbers. For the fourth quarter of 2018 the report has been delayed because of the recent government partial shutdown. Every worker should be concerned with […]

Market Commentary

Delayed Statistics

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From the government shut down, that ended a couple of weeks ago, we are still getting delayed economic numbers coming out of Washington. This week productivity and unit labor costs for the fourth quarter are delayed. The trade imbalance for December has been pushed back as well. There was a November report that was previously […]

Market Commentary

Gold

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shopper

Gold is one of the assets that does not move in conjunction with the stock market but rather tends to go its own way.  For instance, gold started to move up in October after a year of sideways action and while stock prices plunged in December, the worst December in history for stocks, gold kept […]

Market Commentary

Cap-Ex Spending

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Capital Expenditures by corporation help drive future earnings growth and boost economic expansion. In 2017, with the corporate tax reform, U.S. companies increased their expenditures by 10.1% in 2018; more than double the 4.1% in the prior six months. Now that spending is falling. In the most recent third quarter it rose only 2.5% and […]