Monday, July 06, 2020

The "V-shaped" Recovery Continues: Now It Is The ISM PMI and Non-Manufacturing Index

I have noted in a few recent posts that much of the economic data being reported is recovering in a "V-shaped" manner. In other words the economic rebound taking place as states are reopened and businesses get up to speed is occurring at a strong clip. Today's ISM Non-Manufacturing Index report came in at 57.1%, an increase of 11.7 percentage points over May's 45.4% reading. ISM noted this was the largest single month increase in the index's history going back to 1997. Last week's ISM report on the Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) jumped into expansion territory with the PMI coming in at 52.6%, up 9.5 percentage points from May's reading.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

A Healing Job Market And Economy But Poor Investor Sentiment

It is hard not to look at much of the recent economic data and not come to the conclusion a V-shaped recovery seems to be unfolding. Certainly many of the reports are coming off depressed levels; however, a sharp recovery is occurring nonetheless. Today's nonfarm payroll number is another example with a month over month increase of 4.8 million versus a consensus expectation of 3.0 million increase.The labor market still needs healing, but payrolls are up 8 million in two months.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Leading Economic Index Joins The "V-Shaped" Data Recovery

Last week the Conference Board released their report on the Leading Economic Index (LEI) along with data on the Coincident Economic Index (COI). The LEI rose 2.8% in May after falling 7.5% in March and down 6.1% in April. The report notes the improvement in unemployment insurance claims accounts for about two-thirds of the LEI improvement. With consumers representing a large part of the economy, an improvement in the job market is important. Three of the ten components that go into the LEI calculation are suggesting weaker economic conditions, one being the new orders component. The Coincident Indicator rose 1.1% after falling 2.2% in March and down 10.4% in April. In evaluating the ratio of the LEI to the COI, one can clearly see the "V-shaped" rebound occurring with this data metric. A trend reversal with this ratio tends to occur as the economy looks to be recovering.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Individual Investors Expressing Equity Market Skepticism

Individual investors continue to express a low level of enthusiasm for stocks if the AAII sentiment survey is any indication. Today's AAII Sentiment Survey report noted individual investor bullish sentiment declined 9.9 percentage points to 24.4% with most of the decline showing up in the bearishness reading which increased 9.7 points to 47.8%. The bull/bear spread now stands at a wide -23.4 percentage points.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Market Telegraphing A 'V-Shaped' Economic Recovery?

If one is only looking at the stock market, that is the S&P 500 Index, a 'V-shaped' recovery has unfolded off the March 23 low. Not too many expected this type of recovery as the virus/lockdown induced contraction was underway. However, on a price only basis, the S&P 500 Index is up 43.34% since the low on March 23.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Individuals Save In April With Many Businesses Shutdown

Last Friday's April Personal Income and Outlays report from U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported a significant month over month increase in personal income, up 12.9% and a dramatic increase in savings as a percentage of disposable income, up 33.0%. At the same time the income and outlays report showed a significant decline in personal consumption expenditures (PCE), down 13.2%.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Negative Interest Rates And The Impact On Investor Investment Choices

One phenomenon investors face today is the fact central banks around the world have moved to a negative interest rate posture. Earlier this month Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, stated the U.S. Federal Reserve is not considering moving the Fed Funds Rate to a negative level though. Yet, rates in the U.S. are near zero with the Fed Funds target rate at .25% or 25 basis points. A one month U.S. Treasury Bill yields just under 13 basis points. In other words, rates are near zero and going to a negative level is not out of the realm of possibility. One recent article notes if the Fed does push rates to a negative level it will do so in a meaningful way, maybe as low as minus 100 basis points or minus one full percentage point. What are the implications of negative rates if this were to be realized?

Friday, May 15, 2020

JOLTS: How Quickly Things Can Change

Just a few short months ago I was writing about the tight job market and the fact the number of job openings continued to exceed the number of those unemployed. This had been the case since February 2018 and was a sign of a strong economy. How quickly the tide can go out.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Weak Small Business Optimism, But Expectations Of A Short-Lived Recession

Not surprisingly, small business owners are anything but optimistic about the current environment. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 5.5 points to 90.9 in April. The NFIB report notes the index has declined 13.6 points in two months. The index is now at a level below the recession in 2001 that occurred after the bursting of the technology bubble.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

A Dreadful Employment Report

Much was written about the employment report on Friday, yet the the S&P 500 Index rose 1.69% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.91% on the day. As much of the commentary notes, me included, the equity markets are forward looking. Not enough can be written about how bad this report is though. The equity market will eventually not look past this data if a V-shaped improvement is not seen in the economy and employment. Total civilian employment from the household survey fell be over 22 million individuals--a staggering decline.