Today’s selloff is the first major drop that 2012 has seen. Surprisingly, traders seem to have forgotten that we had 1% moves almost daily throughout 2011.

Its too soon to say whether this is a one off or an early look to economic slowing.

We can, however keep our watch on these three charts — these are the ugliest charts in the universe of basic economic data. If they begin to turn up, it will be clear the economy is fully on the mend. So far, they have shown no signs  of improvements.


Click to enlarge:



Northern Trust
Daily Economic Commentary
February 28, 2012

Category: Economy, Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

20 Responses to “3 Charts Worth Watching As Warning Signs”

  1. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Nice to see what a $ Trillion, or so, will buy, nowadays. I’m just glad the bankers got their bonuses.

  2. adid says:

    The pace of change ( average month-to-month percent change) of Nondefense capital goods ex. aircraft new orders has just entered a zone from where it has turned upwards in past expansions. Chart here:

    A clear drop below the -1.5 level would be indeed a strong signal of weakness for the economy.

  3. MayorQuimby says:

    You reach a point where liquidity hurts more than helps. IMO, we reached that point a long time ago.

    Markets are ramping in expectation of ‘growth’ but growth has to come from bottom up not top down (liquidity).

    We are in a world of hurt and few realize how extensively damaged we really are.

  4. Pantmaker says:

    and God’s people said, “AMEN!”

  5. Molesworth says:

    If slope matters, then despite all of its detractors, ECRI is probably right.

    I’m with MQuimby on his point about liquidity. It’s time for this econ to stand on its own or readjust accordingly.

    Paul ONeill for Treas Secty.

  6. MikeDonnelly says:

    Nearly 60% of Nondurable Shipments (which also count as orders) are food and oil, mostly a price move not volume/quantity

  7. [...] The three ugliest economic charts that need to turn.  (Big Picture) [...]

  8. Orange14 says:

    …and gold is down over 2% at this point in the day. What to make of all this???? Oh yes, buy value and hold a long time.

  9. Petey Wheatstraw says:


    Hahahahahahahahahahah . . . (catches breath) . . . hahahahahahhaahahha . . .


    Dow down 1.6%, after this (ignore everything before 2000, to keep it fair):

  10. KJMClark says:

    Hey! Where’s the gas price chart? Change it to four charts and have an “upbeat” chart to cringe to.

  11. Frilton Miedman says:

    Petey Wheatstraw Says:
    March 6th, 2012 at 11:35 am
    “Nice to see what a $ Trillion, or so, will buy, nowadays. I’m just glad the bankers got their bonuses.”


    Ya never know, maybe the hundreds of millions that Koch brothers are flooding the political system with is the answer….politicians are “job creators”…right?

  12. Francisco Bandres de Abarca says:

    Bullishness hit the neighborhood which indicated ‘distribution days’ were likely to be upon us.

    Other than that, one could point to any number of factors as triggers for a bit of a sell-off: Greek CAC concerns, price of crude, hitting the local liquidity maxima at LTRO 2, etcetera.

    It’s all as scientific as sentiment and psychology (and just how scientific all that is, I’ll leave to your own inner debate).

  13. CANDollar says:

    Is now the time to:
    just beta hedge
    short or
    prepare for something worse?

  14. AHodge says:

    no conviction here
    except europe far deeper than greece, fade those moves
    maybe range trade the 10 year 1.80- 2.05 yield?
    i have tried to be little long
    fortunately UBS and RDN and BBVA shorts have covered about all this general downmove
    think this is at least 80% europe
    us econ likely slow some, but not worried abt those orders
    which are driven by 100% depreciation expensing going away at yearend
    happy trading yall

  15. PeterR says:

    SPY support at previous gap up is important IMO.

  16. Mark Down says:

    Little noise today the Trish ‘Legs’ Regan crowd have some afternoon babble! Markets turn + by 4 on Friday!


  17. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    Daily 3-Black Crow patterns on many financial stocks, indicating this drop has further to go.

  18. Petey Wheatstraw says:


    Best research ever, as usual. Thanks.

  19. [...] Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider posted some interesting charts suggesting that stagflation tendencies are on the rise, but we’re not there yet. In the end, I suppose it really doesn’t matter what you call it. It seems this type of bipolar investment backdrop is bound to persist until a) we work off the debt overhang and recover or b) we have a crash that resolves it rather unceremoniously, and we recover. If you’re looking for recovery sign posts, Barry Ritholtz suggests 3 Charts Worth Watching. [...]