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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etf vs etn

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 […]

Market Commentary

Existing Home Sales

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housing market

December’s existing home sales was weak, much weaker than expected, down 6.4% for the month and 10.3% from a year ago. This has not been a very good year for existing home sales. The 2018 year matched the same number of homes sold in 2015. The Fed in recent weeks has been talking down raising […]

Market Commentary

The Shutdown

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earnings report

The government shut down has not affected many areas of the economy but in terms of the economic statistics that the government releases each week it has had a strong impact. This week we have December Retail Sales delayed, Business Inventories delayed, housing starts delayed along with building permits. Weekly jobless claims was not delayed […]

Market Commentary

Brexit

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After Britain’s failure yesterday to pass an EU negotiated plan to exit the EU the British government has no plan to pursue. So what will happen? Most likely one of three things; Britain goes back to renegotiate a new deal, but that seems fruitless with the government Theresa May has back home. Secondly, the UK […]

Market Commentary

GDP and Trade

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investment vehicle

Every quarter the government reports the health of our economy and one of the main ways they do that is providing the numbers for Gross Domestic Product. This is the measurement of economic activity for the most recent quarter. They then take all four quarters of the year and report the annual GDP growth or […]