Posts filed under “Data Analysis”

CPI & Retail Sales

The rollicking response to Friday’s
PPI data makes today’s Consumer Price Index especially significant.

Last week, we learned food prices rose 7.7% year over year, while energy prices gained 3.4%. Gasoline prices are now above where they were post-Katrina, averaging over $3 across the country. And the Summer driving season doesn’t begin for another two weeks. 

On Friday, markets focused on the core rate — it was flat, mostly due to an unexpected drop in prescription drug prices, and
a not unexpected
drop in both car and truck prices.

Inflation in the pipeline remains
robust as intermediate goods
(that is ex food and fuel) rose .8% — the biggest gain since last

Paul Kasriel observes that "inflation-
adjusted retail sales fell in both March and April.
"  Kasriel deflates
nominal retail sales by the consumer price index for
commodities to determine real sales volume, rather than merely measure inflation driven price increases.  "Revised March nominal retail sales increased 0.97%. The CPI for commodities increased 1.22% in March,” which means real sales fell. April’s nominal decline of 0.2% will translate into
a decline in inflation-adjusted retail sales as well. "Although two consecutive months of contracting real
retail sales is not the rarest event, in conjunction with
falling house prices, I would conclude that it’s not good,”

Kasriel says.         

That’s why today’s CPI data is worth scrutining closely. Not only will we find out the extent that inflation is being
passed along to consumers — we will also get a clearer read on Retail. How much are sales increasing? Are monthly sales data reflecting prices going up? The answer to these questions are significant to investors; look at Home Depot  (profits fell 30%) and WalMart (Q2
earnings may miss analysts’ expectations) — their disappointments will be weighing on the market this morning.


Concensus is for CPI to rise 0.5%. Core CPI (aka inflation ex-inflation) is expected to climb ~0.2%.


Weekly U.S. Retail Gasoline Prices
Regular Grade Dollars per gallon, including all taxes   
Energy Information Administration

Easter Bonnets Turn Retail Sales Inside Out
Caroline Baum
Bloomberg, May 15 2007

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Energy, Federal Reserve, Inflation, Markets

Commerce Retail Sales Data: Beware Gas Inflation

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Economy, Energy, Retail

More on NFP: More Recognition of Disbelief

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Psychology

NFP: 88k (and I don’t believe even that)

The Payroll numbers are out, and they are not particularly pretty:

88,000 new jobs were created in April, according to BLS. This is the weakest job gain since November ’04. Cumulative revisions for prior months were to the downside by 26,000.

As expected, losses were in Manufacturing (19k), Retail (26k) and Construction (11k). The  weakness in Construction has been very uted, implying that the full impact of the housing slow down has yet to be fully realized.

Biggest gains were had in Services (116k), Education and Health (53k), Gov’t (25k) Professional (24k) and Leisure/Hospitality (22k).    

Temporary help jobs fell for a 3rd month (January was flat) making 4 consecutive months of no gains. Temp help tends to lead employment gains, and this weakness can be read as a future forecastor of employment.

We don’t pay close attention to the Household survey, (the self reported number is very volatile) but the drop of -468k was an eyebrow raiser.


Birth Death Adjustment:  A whopping 317k B/D adjustment — that is the single largest "adjustment" on record for any single given month. And despite that giant add, the number was a very soft 88k.

To put this into some context, of those 317k new jobs hypothesized by BLS, 49k of those supposed jobs are in construction. Now what are the odds of that?

While Wall Street celebrates the upcoming recession, let me remind you that this economy requires about 150k new monthly jobs to merely keeep up with population growth.

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Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment

NFP: The Return of the Over?

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment

Auto Sales Reveal the Slow Motion Slowdown Continues

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Economy

GDP Ex Housing

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Real Estate

Which is Performing Better, the Dow or the S&P500 ?

Category: Data Analysis, Index/ETFs, Investing, Markets

GDP = 1.3%

Category: Data Analysis, Economy

GDP Data Release (and primer)

Category: Data Analysis, Economy