Today's inventory to sales data was somewhat positive on the whole. The inventory to sales ratio came in at 1.43 and was unchanged from December's reading of 1.43. Compared to the January of 2008 inventory/sales ratio of 1.25, it is evident inventories remain elevated though.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today,
- the combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for January, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,004.0 billion, down 1.0 percent from December 2008 and down 14.0 percent from January 2008.
- Manufacturers’ and trade inventories, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1,440.1 billion, down 1.1 percent from December 2008 and down 1.5 percent from January 2008.
I believe this consumer oriented data is worth watching closely in order to provide a sign that improvement in the economy is taking hold. Given positive market performance, the consumer's sentiment can turn more positive fairly quickly. As noted in an earlier post, The President Should Pay Attention To The Market--It Does Matter, consumer sentiment is somewhat impacted by the direction of the stock market.