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Construction Spending Decreased in February

From the Census Bureau reported that overall construction spending increased in February: Construction spending during February 2020 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,366.7 billion, 1.3 percent below the revised January estimate of $1,384.5 billion. The February figure is 6.0 percent above the February 2019 estimate of $1,289.0 billion. emphasis added Both […]

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ISM Manufacturing index Decreased to 49.1 in March

The ISM manufacturing index indicated contraction in March.  The PMI was at 49.1% in March, down from 50.1% in February. The employment index was at 43.8%, down from 46.9% last month, and the new orders index was at 42.2%, down from 49.8%. From the Institute for Supply Management: March 2020 Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® […]

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ADP: Private Employment decreased 27,000 in March

From ADP: ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Decreased by 27,000 Jobs in March; the March NER Utilizes Data Through March 12 and Does Not Reflect the Full Impact of COVID-19 on the Overall Employment Situation Private sector employment decreased by 27,000 jobs from February to March according to the March ADP National Employment […]

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MBA: Mortgage Refinance Applications Increased, Purchase Applications down 24% YoY

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey Mortgage applications increased 15.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 27, 2020. … The Refinance Index increased 26 percent from the previous week and was 168 percent […]

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The Economic Outlook

This is a healthcare crisis, and the economic outlook is based on presumptions about the course of the pandemic.  A key model suggests peak healthcare resource use will be around April 15th, but the peak will not be until May in many areas of the country.   Of course, this requires cooperation of the public. […]

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Sustainable investing: Think long term, act now

It’s easy to lose sight of long-term perspectives amid the extraordinary market moves in recent weeks. We prefer looking beyond short-term volatility and keeping abreast of longer-term trends, such as a move to sustainable investing: a structural shift in investor preferences leading to large and persistent flows into assets perceived as more resilient to sustainability-related […]

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Case-Shiller: National House Price Index increased 3.9% year-over-year in January

S&P/Case-Shiller released the monthly Home Price Indices for January (“January” is a 3 month average of November, December and January prices). This release includes prices for 20 individual cities, two composite indices (for 10 cities and 20 cities) and the monthly National index. Note: Case-Shiller reports Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA), I use the SA data […]

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Movie Box Office

When the eventual recovery starts, it will be interesting to track hotel occupancy, restaurant traffic and movie box office data. Currently almost all theaters in the US are closed and box office is close to zero. Note: the 4-week average hasn’t fallen to zero yet, but the average will be at zero in a couple […]

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Dallas Fed: “Texas Manufacturing Activity Contracts Suddenly, Outlook Worsens”, Record Low Activity Index

From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Expansion Continues Texas factory activity declined sharply in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, plummeted from 16.4 to -35.3, suggesting a notable contraction in output since last month. Other measures of manufacturing activity […]

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NAR: “Pending Home Sales Increase 2.4% in February”

From the NAR: Pending Home Sales Increase 2.4% in February ending home sales rose in February, climbing for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Each of the four major regions saw an increase in month-over-month contract activity, as well as growth in year-over-year pending home sales transactions compared to one […]

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What’s needed now: patience and perspective

“The habit of despair is worse than despair itself” Albert Camus There is no precedent, at least not in modern times, for what is happening. Beyond the enormous human toll, the abrupt cessation of significant chunks of economic activity, not to mention daily life, has not occurred in living memory.  Adding to the sense of […]

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Schedule for Week of March 29, 2020

The key report scheduled for this week is the March employment report on Friday. Other key reports include January Case-Shiller house prices, the February Trade Deficit and March Auto Sales. For manufacturing, the March Dallas Fed survey and the ISM Manufacturing survey will be released. —– Monday, Mar 30th —–10:00 AM: Pending Home Sales Index […]