As of March 20, the price of regular and premium gas were down 3 cents and 4 cents from the previous week, respectively. According to GasBuddy.com, Hawaii has the highest average price for regular at $4.81 and Oklahoma has the cheapest at $2.89. The WTIC end-of-day spot price for crude oil closed at $67.82 and is down 9.3% from last week.
This morning's release of the February existing home sales showed that sales surged to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million units from the previous month's 4.00 million, ending the 12-month streak of monthly declines. The latest number represents a 14.5% month-over-month increase, its largest since July 2020 and well above the Investing.com forecast of 5%. With that being said, existing home sales are down 22.6% compared to one year ago.
Five of eight indexes on our world watch list posted gains through March 20, 2023. France's CAC 40 finished in the top spot with a YTD gain of 8.33%. Germany's DAXK finished second with a YTD gain of 6.94%, and China's Shanghai moved to third with a YTD gain of 4.71%. India's BSE SENSEX finished last with a loss of 5.28% YTD.
FINRA has released new data for margin debt, now available through February. The latest debt level is at 624.38 billion, down 2.6% month-over-month (MoM) and down 25.3% year-over-year (YoY). However after adjusting for inflation, debt level is down 3.2% MoM and down 29.5% YoY.
The yield on the 10-year note ended March 17, 2023 at 3.39%, the two-year note ended at 3.81%, and the 30-year at 3.60%.
The S&P 500 finished the week up 1.4% from last week despite being down 1.10% from Thursday. The index is currently up 2.01% YTD and is 18.34% below its record close from January 3, 2022.
I've updated this series to include the February release of the consumer price index as the deflator and the monthly employment update. The latest hypothetical real (inflation-adjusted) annual earnings are at $48,172, down 8.2% from 50 years ago. Hourly earnings are below their all-time high after adjusting for inflation.
Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development published their February findings for new residential housing starts and building permits. Over the long haul, the two series offer a compelling study of trends in residential real estate. Here is an overlay of the two series since the 1959 inception of the starts and oermits data, which was tracked beginning a year later.
This morning's report revealed industrial production numbers were unchanged in February despite expectations that industrial production would inch up 0.2%. The annual change dropped below zero for the first time in two years to -0.25%, down from last month's year-over-year increase of 0.49%. The annual change was well below the forecast of 3.0%.
The latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for February was down 0.3% to 110.0 from January's final figure of 110.3, marking the 11th consecutive MoM decline. Today's reading was consistent with the Investing.com forecast.
The March preliminary report for the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index came in at 63.4, down 3.6 (-5.4%) from the February final. This morning's reading was the first monthly decline in the last four months and came in below the Investing.com forecast of 66.9. Since its beginning in 1978, consumer sentiment is 25.7% below its average reading (arithmetic mean) and 24.7% below its geometric mean.
Month-over-month nominal retail sales in January were down 0.4% and up 5.4% YoY. However after adjusting for inflation, real retail sales decreased by 0.8% and were down 0.6% YoY.
February's ZHVI came in at $327,514, practically unchanged from January and up 6.76% from February 2022. After adjusting for inflation, the real figures are -0.71% month-over-month and -1.16% year-over-year.
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.
The latest manufacturing index came in at -23.2, up 1.1 from last month's -24.3, marking the index's seventh negative reading in a row.. The three-month moving average is now at -18.8, down from last month and the lowest since June 2020. The six-month outlook was down 9.7 points to -8.0. Since this is a diffusion index, negative readings indicate contraction, positive ones indicate expansion.
The 20th century Baby Boom was one of the most powerful demographic events in the history of the United States. We've created a series of charts to show seven age cohorts of the employed population from 1948 to the present.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for February new residential building permits. The latest reading of 1.524M crushed the Investing.com forecast of 1.340M. Building permits climbed 13.82% from January's revised figure of 1.339M, the largest monthly gain since July 2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for February new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.450M was above the Investing.com forecast of 1.310M and is a 9.8% increase from the previous month's revised figure of 1.321M. Housing starts are down 18.4% compared to this time last year.
This morning's seasonally adjusted 192,000 new claims, down 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure, came in below the Investing.com forecast of 205,000.
Here's the latest on the three of the largest cryptocurrencies by market share through 3/14.
Note: This commentary has been updated with the latest numbers from the latest employment report for February. Today, one in three of the 65-69 cohort and nearly one in five of the 70-74 cohort are in the labor force.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released for February puts the year-over-year inflation rate at 6.04%. It is well above the 3.74% average since the end of the Second World War and above its 10-year moving average, now at 2.55%.
The latest price of home heating oil nationwide dropped to its lowest price of the year at $4.19. The current price is down 6 cents from last week and down 75 cents compared to this time last year.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder opinion on the relative level of current and future single-family home sales. The latest reading came in better than expected (40) at 44, up 2 from last month, and is the index's highest reading in the last six months.
This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions dropped 18.8 points from last month to -24.6. This morning's reading was far below the Investing.com forecast of -8.0. This month's reading marks the fourth consecutive month in contraction territory.
The Census Bureau's Advance Retail Sales Report for February was released this morning. Headline sales came in slightly below forecast at -0.4% month-over-month. Core sales (ex Autos) came in at -0.1% month-over-month, in line with the forecast.
The morning's release of the February Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand was at -0.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted, down from last month's 0.3% increase. Core PPI (excluding food and energy) was at 0.0% month-over-month, down from last month's 0.4% increase. Both headline and core PPI came in lower than their respective Investing.com forecasts, with headline expectations at 0.3% and core expectations at 0.4%.
The labor force participation rate (LFPR) is a simple computation: You take the civilian labor force (people age 16 and over employed or seeking employment) and divide it by the civilian non-institutional population (those 16 and over not in the military and or committed to an institution). As of February, the labor force participation rate is at 62.5%, up slightly from last month.
We are currently seeing some of the highest inflation rates since the second of the two recessions in the early 1980s. Here is a table showing the annualized change in Headline and Core CPI, not seasonally adjusted, for each of the past six months.
I've updated our monthly workforceanalysis to include the latest employment report for February. The unemployment rate increased to 3.6%, and the number of new non-farm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) came in at 311K.
The headline number for February came in at 90.9, up 0.6 from the previous month, but still below the series average of 98.2. The index is at the 9th percentile in this series.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February Consumer Price Index data this morning. The year-over-year Headline CPI came in as expected at 6.0%, down from 6.4% the previous month (n.s.a). Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) also came in as expected at 5.5%, down from 5.6% the previous month (n.s.a).
Let's take a close look at February's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment.
Multiple jobholders account for 5.0% of civilian employment. The survey captures data for four subcategories of the multi-job workforce, the relative sizes of which we've illustrated in a pie chart.
The latest monthly employment report showed a gain of 311,000 nonfarm jobs, which consists of a gain of 291,000 service-providing jobs and a gain of 20,000 goods-producing jobs.
What does the ratio of unemployment claims tell us about where we are in the business cycle and recession risk?
This commentary has been updated to include this morning's release of non-farm employment. February saw a 311,000 increase in total non-farm payrolls. The unemployment rate rose to 3.6%. The Investing.com forecast was for 205,000 jobs gained.
This morning's employment report for February showed a 311,000 increase in total nonfarm payrolls, which exceeded the Investing.com forecast of 205,000 jobs added. The unemployment rate rose to 3.6%.
This is a couple months past its release, but the latest Fed balance sheet shows a total net worth for households and nonprofit organizations that is 149% above the 2009 trough. The nominal Q4 2022 net worth is down up 2.0% from the previous quarter and down 2.7% year-over-year.
Pop Quiz! Without recourse to your text, your notes, or a Google search, what line item is the largest asset in Uncle Sam's financial accounts?
The latest job openings and labor turnover summary (JOLTS) report, with data through January, is now available.
The U.S. international trade in goods and services, also known as the FT-900, is published monthly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis with data going back to 1992 and details U.S. exports and imports of goods and services. The headline number of -$68.2B was better than the -68.9B Investing.com forecast, however it is the largest gap we have seen in the last 3 months.
Take a look at real (inflation-adjusted) charts of the S&P 500, Dow 30, and Nasdaq composite since 2000. We've updated this through the February 28, 2023 close.
Here's an interesting set of charts that will especially resonate with those of us who follow economic and market cycles. Imagine that five years ago you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500. How much would it be worth today, with dividends reinvested but adjusted for inflation? The purchasing power of your investment has increased to $13,687 for an annualized real return of 6.29%.
The S&P 500 real monthly averages of daily closes peaked in November of 2021 and 2022 was a bear market. Let's examine the past to broaden our understanding of the range of historical trends in market performance.
With the Q4 GDP second estimate and the February close data, we now have an updated look at the popular "Buffett Indicator" -- the ratio of corporate equities to GDP. The current reading is 140.1%, down from 146.7% the previous quarter.
The moving average for the per-capita light vehicle sales series peaked in 2005. Over 15 years later, it is down 20% from that peak.
The February US services purchasing managers' index (PMI) conducted by S&P Global came in at 50.6 percent, notably up from 46.8 in January and just slightly higher than the Investing.com forecast of 50.5. This morning's reading moves the index into expansion territory after being in contraction for seven months.
The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) has now released its February services purchasing managers' index (PMI). The headline composite index is at 55.1 percent, down 0.1 from 55.2 last month. Today's number came in above the Investing.com forecast of 54.5 percent.
Our monthly market valuation updates have long had the same conclusion: US stock indexes are significantly overvalued, which suggests cautious expectations for investment returns. On August 4, 2020, the 10-year Treasury yield hit its all-time low of 0.52%. As of February 28, 2023 it was at 3.92%.