Market Commentary

Import Prices

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imported goods rose .9%

In December, the cost of imported goods rose .9% matching the largest increase in the most recent five months. Also, this makes for the seventh time in eight months that prices rose. Import price inflation is low as year over year numbers show a decrease in prices of .3%. However, if you remove the price […]

Market Commentary

Real Inflation

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Consumer price index numbers

The Consumer price index numbers were released for December and they show an increase from .2% to .4% month over month. That is still very low inflation, but it is clearly starting to pick up. Inflation will continue to rise. We have seen oil prices per barrel march up from their lows this year reaching […]

Market Commentary

Nonfarm Payrolls

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lost 140000 jobs in December

The numbers for December are in and we lost 140,000 jobs. This tracks with the ADP employment report earlier in the week where we saw 123,000 private sector jobs disappear. Of course, this was due to the increase in covid cases with most of the jobs lost in the restaurant sector. The unemployment rate remained […]

Market Commentary

American Manufacturing

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Factory Orders

Factory orders rose 1% in December after rising 1.3% in November and the manufacturing PMI for December rose to 57.1 from 56.7. There appears to be a strength that will continue as the covid vaccine spreads. With Washington set for another stimulus, whether needed or not, the economic recovery should be very robust as the […]

Market Commentary

Inflation

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November’s inflation number

November’s inflation number was good if you consider no inflation a positive. Some, including the Federal Reserve, think no inflation is not desirable. Rather, some modest inflation, and increasing inflation, as long as it is under control is healthy for the economy. Core inflation fell month over month in November. It rose .2% in September. […]

Market Commentary

Claims for Unemployment Benefits

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claims for unemployment

For three weeks in a row, claims for unemployment benefits rose, peaking at 892,000 last week. The expectation was for a drop this week despite the covid spread increasing. The unexpected happened and claims fell sharply to 803,000. The hope is that maybe we have seen the high in claims, but that remains only hope […]

Market Commentary

Last Month’s Retail Sales

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Retail Sales

November retail sales fell 1.1% which was the second month in a row and the biggest drop in 7 months.  This will turn out to be a difficult holiday shopping season for retailers. The holiday season represents about a quarter or more of a retailer’s annual sales, so it is an extremely important time of […]

Market Commentary

Negative Interest Rates

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Push by central bankers

There has been a big push by central bankers around the world to force interest rates to below zero in recent years. In Europe and Japan rates indeed fell below zero. The results are mixed at best as the Federal Reserve in the U.S. did not follow suit. Now Bank of America and others think […]

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Consumer Credit

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Borrowing by consumer

Borrowing by consumers slowed in October to $7.2 billion from $15 billion in September. That was the first time it has slowed since the economic recovery from the shutdown in March. The experts expected consumer debt to rise to $17 billion. That is a stark difference. Credit card debt fell 6.7% after rising 3.2% in […]