Macro Update

I’m offering very little narrative in this week’s macro update, as none’s really needed; the featured charts speak for themselves.

This week’s macro score came in at our index’s all-time lowest (-79.25), back tests included:

Click each insert below to enlarge… red or blue shaded areas highlight past recessions…

We did have one data point go from negative to neutral; new mortgage applications (that’s an unambiguous positive):

Here’s a look at a few of the most recent releases. On-line retail (purple line on first chart below) notwithstanding, mortgage apps are all you get in terms of legitimately improving data. On-line retail doesn’t pass the “legitimately” test for obvious reasons.

Retail Sales:

Auto Sales:

Weekly Jobless Claims:

Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing and Services Surveys:

Small Business Optimism:

Small Business Hiring Plans:

Small Business Expansion Plans:

Industrial Production:

Factory Capacity Utilization:

Rail Traffic:

Cass Freight Index:

Baltic Dry Index (a measure of ocean shipments):

Chicago Fed National Activity Index:

Consumer Price Index:

Produce Price Index:

New York Fed Underlying Inflation Gauge:

Atlanta Fed GDP Now:

I’ll leave you with a thought about the equity market:

With stocks trading at valuations not seen since 1999 (just before the tech bubble burst), amid arguably the worst economic data since the Great Depression, the following Warren Buffett quote sums up nicely my present thoughts on risk-taking:

“The less prudence with which others conduct their affairs the greater the prudence with which we must conduct our own.”

Have a nice weekend!


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