The latest Manufacturing Index came in at 23.6, up from last month's 19.7. The 3-month moving average came in at 17.3, up from 13.2 last month. Since this is a diffusion index, negative readings indicate contraction, positive ones indicate expansion. The Six-Month Outlook came in at 56.6, an increase over the previous month's 48.7. Today's 23.6 came in well above the 15.8 forecast at Investing.com.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for December new residential building permits. The latest reading of 1.210M was a small decrease from 1.212M in November and below the Investing.com forecast of 1.225M.
Today's seasonally adjusted 234K new claims, down 15K from last week's revised number, was better than the Investing.com forecast of 254K.
The S&P 500 hit its 0.11% intraday high five minutes into the session and then sold off steadily to its 2 PM plunge to its -0.59% intraday low. A weak buy-the-dip strategy trimmed the closing loss to -0.36%. The 500 has alternated between gains and losses for the past six sessions. Its elderly cousin, the Dow, has posted five consecutive losses and eight declines over the past ten sessions.
Note: With the release of this yesterday's Consumer Price Index, we've updated this commentary to include the latest Real Retail Sales. Month-over-month nominal sales in December rose by 0.6% (0.63% to two decimals). Real Retail Sales, calculated with the seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index, rose a lesser 0.3% (0.34% to two decimals). The chart gives us a close look at the monthly data points in this series since the end of the last recession in mid-2009.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for December new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.226M was above the Investing.com forecast of 1.200M. The November count was revised upward by 12K.
RecessionAlert has launched an alternative to ECRI's Weekly Leading Index Growth indicator (WLIg). The Weekly Leading Economic Index (WLEI) uses fifty different time series from these categories: Corporate Bond Composite, Treasury Bond Composite, Stock Market Composite, Labor Market Composite, Credit Market Composite. The latest index reading came in at 35.2, up from the previous week's 31.5.
With some forecasts predicting a very cold and bitter winter ahead, we present our seasonal heating oil update. The latest price of home heating oil nationwide is $2.64, unchanged from last week and up 21 cents since the start of the season.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released this morning puts the year-over-year inflation rate at 2.07%. It is substantially below the 3.77% average since the end of the Second World War but above its 10-year moving average, now at 1.77%.
Let's do some analysis of the Consumer Price Index, the best known measure of inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) divides all expenditures into eight categories and assigns a relative size to each. The pie chart illustrates the components of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, the CPI-U.