Durable Goods Flat, Business CapEx Spending Falls

Durable Goods data was just released, and it warn’t none too purty: +0.1%. That’s far below the expected 2% consensus.

The weaker than forecast report was restrained in large part by a 24% drop in military buys (mostly a drop in aircraft). But even looking at the data Ex-defense equipment, spending rose only 1.2%, still far below the 2.0% consensus expectations, and below ~2% level of core inflation. Ex-transports fell 0.7% vs the consensus of up + 0.5%.

Economists polled seemed to have a surprisingly upbeat assessment of consumer
and business spending — the consensus ranged from +1.0% to 4.8%.

Capital Goods ex-Aircraft — the pure cap ex spending component – fell
0.4%. This comes on top of a 2.9% drop in October. Thus, it appears the tiring consumer is no longer alone: Businesses are also throttling back major
purchases of capital equipment.

"Demand for capital goods also softened, suggesting business investment will be a drag on economic growth. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for future business investment, fell 0.4 percent after a 2.9 percent decrease in October that was larger than previously estimated. Shipments of those items, used in calculating gross domestic product, increased 0.2 percent after dropping a larger-than- previously-estimated 1.2 percent in October."

The 0.1 percent increase, the first gain in four months, followed a revised 0.4 percent drop in October that was larger than previously reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Excluding transportation, demand fell 0.7 percent.

In other words, had October not been revised downwards, November data would also have been negative. Weaker CapEx spending is but the latest
sign of a slowing economy.

But wait — wasn’t Business Spending going to "take the baton" from consumer spending as we heard time and again? (I guess not).

Bloomberg explains the reasons why:   

"Tougher lending standards, bloated inventories and slowing sales are
causing some companies to limit spending on equipment such as
communications gear and machinery. The report suggests the worsening
housing recession may be spreading to other parts of the economy.

Gee, who could have ever seen that one coming . . . ?





8:30 A.M. EST December 27, 2007
http://www.census.gov/indicator/www/m3/  (PDF)

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Gain Less Than Forecast
Courtney Schlisserman
Bloomberg, Dec. 27 2007    

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Economy

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Move over CDs: DVDs, Concerts also slump

We have been documenting the slow death of CDs over the past 7 years. This year brought the first slowing sales in that other shiny polycarbonate disc, the DVD.

In a recent report, Alliance Bernstein Research observed that through early December, DVD sales
were down 4.1% YTD
, including a 2.1% decline in Q4.
Bernstein cited data from Nielsen VideoScan.

DVD sales were flat in 2006,pulling in the same ~$16 billion as 2005. Total home video revenues — including both sales and rentals — looks like they will hit ~$23 billion in 2007. That’s a $ billion shy of 2006 revenues.

These are only minor drops, but what makes them significant is that, no matter how you measure it, 2007 is the first negative year-over-year sales growth since DVDs came to market.

I suspect that the usual attention scarcity — which have been hurting CD sales — are also be impacting DVDs. And DRM certainly isn’t helping (What do you mean I can’t watch this DVD on my iPod?). However, DVD buyers are also wrestling with the additional factor of the latest format war.

Speaking personally, I’ve throttled back on my DVD purchases, as I await the winner of the HD/Blu Ray battle. Whatever DVDs I buy these days are disposable/rental priced (i.e., $5.99). The various HD formats are much pricier, and until that fight gets resolved, I, like many consumers, are buying less (Do I want this in HD? Gee, I better wait). Who wants to get stuck (again) with another extinct format?

There may be other macro factors at play: namely, an over-extended consumer. That showed up in not just DVD and CD sales, but in concert ticket revenue, also. 

PoliceDespite several big "reunion" tours — the Police, Van Halen and Genesis — the total North American concert industry posted its slowest year since 2004. According to Pollstar, the top 20 tours generated $996 million, down 15.6% percent from 2006 totals. The 2004 total was $951.1 million, when Prince and Madonna were touring. Perhaps a long tail effect is spreading less revenue to more bands.   

Here’s the specifics on revenue and ticket prices:

Top 20 Selling Tours of 2007 (Millions)

1. The Police  $ 131.9
2. Kenny Chesney $ 71.1 
3.  Justin Timberlake $ 70.6 
4. Celine Dion $ 65.3 
5.  Van Halen $ 56.7 
6. Tim McGraw
and Faith Hill 
$ 52.3
7. Rod Stewart $ 49 
8.  Genesis $ 47.6
9.  Josh Groban $ 43 
10.   Rascal Flatts $ 41.5 
11.   Dave Matthews Band  $ 41.1
12. Billy Joel $ 39.1 
  13.  Roger Waters  $ 38.3
14. Bruce Springsteen
& The E Street Band 
$ 38.2
15.  Hanna Montana
/ Miley Cyrus 
$ 36
16.   Elton John $ 35.7 
17. Jimmy Buffett  $ 35.6 
18.    Barry Manilow $ 34.8
19.  Toby Keith $ 34.3 
20.   Maná $ 33.9

(Based on total dollar volume of tickets sold)

Source: Pollstar


An interesting side note: The average price of concert tickets (sold through StubHub’s secondary market)  in 2007 was $117 — a price decrease of $28 per ticket compared to 2006. Note that these are not face value, but secondary (scalped) tickets.

Highest Average Ticket Price of 2007

1. Celine Dion $ 347
2. Elton John $ 260 
3.  Hannah Montana  $ 257
4. Eric Clapton $ 253 
5.  Bon Jovi  $ 239 
6. Bruce Springsteen $ 226
7. Van Halen $ 217 
8.  Genesis $ 210
9.  The Police  $ 209 
10. Michael Buble  $ 195

(For tours that sold over 3,000 total tickets)

Source: CNN Money, Stubhub


You something unusual is occurring in the economy when consumers pull back on their entertainment spending . . .



CDs Are Dying. Are DVDs Next?
Eric Savitz
Tech Trader Daily, December 21, 2007, 2:36 pm

Big media sees reversal of fortune
Georg Szalai
Hollywood Reporter,
Dec 11, 2007   

December 4, 2007   

The Police Lock Top 2007 Tours Spot
Wednesday, Dec 26, 2007 1:02PM   

U.S. concert business slumps despite reunion tours
Dean Goodman
Reuters, Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:44pm EST

2007 StubHub Concert Ticket Annual Report 2007
December 05, 2007: 06:12 PM EST

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