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December real retail sales tank; industrial production also declines; consumer slowdown seems nearly certain

  – by New Deal democratTwo days ago, in connection with consumer inflation, I reiterated that “we certainly are at a point where a sharp deceleration…

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This article was originally published by Bondad Blog

 

 – by New Deal democrat

Two days ago, in connection with consumer inflation, I reiterated that “we certainly are at a point where a sharp deceleration beginning with the consumer sector of the economy is more likely than not.”

I didn’t expect to have it show up so soon! Retail sales, one of my favorite “real” economic indicators, took a nosedive in the month of December, declining -1.9% for the month even before inflation. After inflation, “real” retail sales declined -2.4%. Ouch! 

Thus real retail sales are down -5.1% from their April peak: 


Recall that real retail sales rose 1.8% in October. So I suspect a large part of the decline is that, fearing shortages on the shelves at Christmastime, many consumers advanced their purchases of Christmas gifts by several months. Still, the net decline since September has been -2.2%

Nevertheless they remain 9.2% higher than one year ago. In the past 70+ years before the pandemic hit, real retail sales were only higher YoY briefly in the early 1980s, as well as for about 16 months during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.

Next, let’s turn to employment, because real retail sales are also a good short leading indicator for jobs.

As I have written many times over the past 10+ years, real retail sales YoY/2 has a good record of leading jobs YoY with a lead time of about 3 to 6 months. That’s because demand for goods and services leads for the need to hire employees to fill that demand.  The exceptions have been right after the 2001 and 2008 recessions, when it took jobs longer to catch up, as shown in the graph below, which takes us up to February 2020:


Now here is the same graph since just before the pandemic hit:


Note the two have been right in line for over half a year. I have written for the past several months that this “argues that we can expect jobs reports in the next few months to average out about even with those from one year ago, which averaged about 500,000 per month.” Although the last two jobs reports started out poor, November followed the pattern of upward revisions, and I expect more such revisions when next month’s jobs report is released. But comparisons will be very difficult YoY beginning in March, which means – to be consistent – that a big slowing of employment growth seems likely by about summer this year.

Finally, real retail sales per capita is one of my long leading indicators. Here’s what it looks like for the past 30 years:


With a -5.3% decline since April, this is a decidedly negative signal. Frankly, it’s recessionary looking out to midyear and beyond. Since it is only one indicator among the array, it isn’t a big concern yet. But it absolutely adds to the evidence that a big consumer slowdown as we go forward this year looks likely.

—-
Before I go, let’s also briefly take a peek at industrial production, which also declined, by -0.1%, this morning. Manufacturing production declined -0.3%. Additionally, November was revised downward for both total and manufacturing production. Here’s the current view:

Both are still higher than they were just before the pandemic. While this isn’t good news, it is within the range of noise, but on the other hand, it is one more bit of evidence for a slowing expansion.

inflation

Economics

S&P Suffers Worst Start To A Year Since 1939 As Yield Curve Yells ‘Recession’

S&P Suffers Worst Start To A Year Since 1939 As Yield Curve Yells ‘Recession’

Before we start, let’s make this clear right from the start…

S&P Suffers Worst Start To A Year Since 1939 As Yield Curve Yells ‘Recession’

Before we start, let’s make this clear right from the start – despite today’s panic-buying, this is the worst start to a year for the S&P 500 since 1939 (and on course for its worst January ever)…

Nasdaq is down 5 straight weeks (16% from its highs) – the longest losing streak since 2012 – while Small Caps are down 22% from their highs (in a bear market)

Source: Bloomberg

Everything was going so well too… “smooth sailing” they said! “Fed Put” they said! “Transitory inflation” they said…

Today was just a little bit turbo as it seems ugly sentiment data (10 year lows) and plunging growth expectations (Q1 GDP forecasts collapsed), was the ‘bad news’ the dip-buyers needed to reassure themselves that uber-hawkish Powell wouldn’t execte on his plan to crush inflation into a recessionary environment. We have one word for them – stagflation, and it leave Powell in an ugly box.

Atlanta Fed GDP expectations crashed to zero for Q1…

Source: Bloomberg

And as that happened, rate-hike expectations shifted dovishly lower (modestly at the time)…

Source: Bloomberg

Which helped send stocks soaring (particularly hyper-growth, long duration stocks). But that all came to an abrupt end at 1400ET today (for no obvious reason)… which was immediately met with a wall of dip-buyers amid the total lack of liquidity. Then all the majors just went vertical into the last 10 minutes as a significant buy-imbalance appeared (all helped by AAPL’s explosive gains today). Nasdaq was up a shocking 3% today (from down 1% pre-open). The S&P was up 2.5% today (from down 1% pre-open). Russell 2000 closed up almost 2% today from down 2% pre-open…

As one veteran trader noted, “today was a shitshow, no liquidity, gamma-driven gappy jumps everywhere… it was all algos and no average joes.”

Well that idiotic rampage managed to get the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq unchanged on the week (which appears to be all that mattered to the machines)…

Just look at the volatility (but Monday’s puke lows held… and so did Wednesday’s pre-Fed highs).

Growth stocks were flat on the week as Value was bid (mostly benefitting on Thursday)…

Source: Bloomberg

Both Defensive and Cyclical stocks were hammered equally this week (while obviously cyclicals were more volatile)…

Source: Bloomberg

Today’s bounce was not really triggered by a short-squeeze as the size of the swing higher is very modest and unsustained…

Source: Bloomberg

The energy sector is the only one up in January while Tech and Consumer Discretionary are down hard MTD…

Source: Bloomberg

Real yields continue to rise (to their highest since June 2020 – but still negative), and have recoupled with gold…

Source: Bloomberg

…but have completely decoupled from stocks (Nasdaq should be significantly lower relative to Russell 2000)…

Source: Bloomberg

Notably, if real yields keep rising, then valuations are going to come under significant pressure…

Credit markets saw very little of the chaotic chop in stocks this week as they just fell with HYG (HY Corporate Bond ETF) at its lowest since Nov 2020…

Source: Bloomberg

Treasury yields were extremely mixed on the week with the short-end exploding higher and long-end actually coming all the way back to unchanged…

Source: Bloomberg

This week saw 2Y yields jump most since Oct 2019 (up for the 6th week in a row to the highest since Feb 2020).

Source: Bloomberg

The yield curve was crushed this week, triggered by The Fed’s hawkish tilt…

Source: Bloomberg

…with 7s10s at almost record flats, 20s30s still inverted, and 2s30s at its flattest since March 2020… all screaming The Fed is about to make a big mistake and hinting strongly at recessionary risks rising fast…

Source: Bloomberg

Short-term markets are now fully pricing in 5 rate-hikes by year-end (and a 25% chance of 50bps hike in March)

Source: Bloomberg

Perhaps even more notably, the forward OIS market is pricing in rate-cuts between 2024 and 2025…

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar soared higher for the 5th straight week (best week since June 2021), closing at its highest since July 2020. NOTE, the dollar took out the December USD spike highs and faded…

Source: Bloomberg

Cryptos had a nasty drop on Monday, along with stocks, and another puke after The Fed, but bitcoin ended the week modestly higher, while Ether was down around 5%…

Source: Bloomberg

Commodities were very mixed this week with most lower by hawkish tilts (Silver slammed 8% on the week) while crude rallied on geopolitical tensions…

Source: Bloomberg

Silver dropped back below $23…

WTI came very close to $89 intraday during the week, its highest since Oct 2014 (up for the 6th straight week in a row)…

NatGas went supersonic this week amid chaotic settlement and a new cold front, breaking above the early Jan highs (and up 19%, its best week since Aug 2020)…

Finally, just in case you think the market can handle all this vol, think again – liquidity in the most-liquid global equity futures contract (ES) is at its lowest since the COVID crash in 2020…

Simply put, a moderate-sized order moves ES 10 ticks so how do you think it’s going to handle all the fintwit/tiktokkers “paper hands” puking out of their Robinhood accounts?

The good news is that US COVID cases are following the same trajectories at UK and South Africa and tumbling…

Source: Bloomberg

Nevertheless, as we noted above, GDP in Q1 could well print contractionary.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 01/28/2022 – 16:02









Author: Tyler Durden

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Economics

3 Stocks to Buy Now That Are Winning on Earnings

I’m always on the lookout for stocks to buy after earnings. And nothing beckons like a company’s share price gapping higher as investors cheer the…

I’m always on the lookout for stocks to buy after earnings. And nothing beckons like a company’s share price gapping higher as investors cheer the numbers.

Unfortunately, positive responses have been a rarity during this earnings season. The twin troubles of high inflation and a hawkish Fed have thrown a wet blanket on asset prices. And it’s overshadowing most of the reports getting released.

That said, there have been a few bright spots. Given the sea of red greeting stock watchers each session, they’ve been easy to find. Sort your watchlist by percentage change, and the big winners will rise to the top. I noticed three standouts that both delivered great numbers and saw their share prices respond positively.

  • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
  • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)
  • Visa (NYSE:V)

If you’re willing to ignore the messy indexes, these are three of the best stocks to buy.

Stocks to Buy: Apple (AAPL)

Source: The thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade

The market was desperate for its leader to wow the crowd and bring buyers back in. Fortunately, Apple did just that by reporting its largest quarter of revenue ever. For the previous three months, the maker of all i-things saw its sales grow 11% year-over-year to $123.9 billion. That was good enough to boost earnings per share by 25% to $2.10.

The only product category that didn’t top analyst estimates was iPads. Buyers swarmed following the release, sending shares higher after hours Thursday. Importantly, AAPL stock has held onto the overnight gains in Friday’s session. The stock is testing its 50-day and 20-day moving averages and overhead resistance near $170. To fully turn the trend and give the green light to buyers, AAPL needs to break through them all.

Use that as the trigger for today’s idea.

The Trade: Buy the March $170/$180 bull call spread for around $4.

You’re risking $4 to make $6 if the stock tops $180 by expiration.

Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft (MSFT) stock chart with positive earnings response.Source: The thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade

As the second-largest company in the S&P 500 and one whose share price entered the earnings report 17.5% off the highs, Microsoft also needed to deliver. And it did. The software giant raked in $2.48 per share on $51.73 billion in revenue, topping analyst forecasts. As a result, MSFT stock leaped higher after hours, but the up gap on Wednesday was aggressively sold into.

Fortunately, shares have stabilized, and we’re now forming a sideways base. Much work remains, though. The falling 20-day moving average needs to be breached to signal a more significant turnaround is afoot. I suggest using that as the trigger for today’s trade idea.

You could go with another bull call like AAPL, but I’m going to mix it up to provide a higher probability alternative.

The Trade: Sell the March $275/$270 bull put spread for 90 cents.

Consider it a bet that MSFT stock stays above $275 for the next six weeks. If it does, you’ll capture the max gain of 90 cents. Conversely, the max loss is $4.10.

Stocks to Buy: Visa (V)

Visa (V) stock chart with power earnings gapSource: The thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade

The final idea for today’s stocks to buy is Visa. Shares of the financial company are surging after reporting rosy numbers. Its quarterly revenue surpassed $7 billion for the first time, helping Visa capture $1.83 per share. Both metrics topped analyst estimates. With V stock submerged beneath all moving averages, it entered Thursday’s event in desperate need of a boost.

Now, with Friday’s pop, we’re nearly above them all. And there’s also an unfilled gap overhead that could quickly suck prices higher.

The Trade: Buy the March $230/$240 bull call spread for $3.50.

You’re risking $3.50 to make $6.50 if Visa rises beyond $240.

On the date of publication, Tyler Craig did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

For a free trial to the best trading community on the planet and Tyler’s current home, click here!

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Author: Tyler Craig

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Economics

Week Ahead – RBA, BOE, ECB, OPEC+, and NFP in focus

After a rollercoaster January, Wall Street is now expecting the Fed to aggressively raise interest rates over the course of the year as they scramble to…

After a rollercoaster January, Wall Street is now expecting the Fed to aggressively raise interest rates over the course of the year as they scramble to control inflation. The US dollar is once again king as most economists are now expecting the Fed to deliver anywhere between 3-7 rate hikes this year.

The upcoming week is filled with a few big rate decisions from the RBA, BOE, and ECB. The RBA may end its bond purchase program and could bring forward rate hike expectations, given the stronger-than-expected acceleration in inflation.  The BOE is expected to deliver a follow-up rate increase and possibly signal a couple more are coming. The ECB will try to stick to the script that it is unlikely they will hike in 2022, which surprisingly has not been tested despite eurozone inflation increasing at a record pace.  Financial markets don’t expect the ECB to move until September 2023, but that could shift as all the major central banks enter tightening mode.

After a sixth straight weekly gain, oil traders will pay close attention to the upcoming OPEC+ meeting that should not disrupt how tight this energy market has become.  Crude demand is outpacing whatever supply is coming from OPEC+ as they have been falling well short of their commitments.  Expectations are for the cartel to rubber stamp the 400,000 bpd increase in March, but no one expects them to actually reach those levels.

On Friday, the January US nonfarm payroll report will show that labor market recovery took a hit from omicron, while average hourly earnings continue to rise.  Wage pressures are not going away and that should support optimism for the outlook for the US consumer.

 

US hiring expected to moderate due to Omicron

BOE to hike by 50bps

Can crude rally for a 7th straight week?


US

Hot inflation may be public enemy No.1 for triggering the Fed’s hawkish turn, but investors are still keeping a close eye on the whether slower job growth could complicate the Fed’s aggressive tightening strategy. The January nonfarm payroll report will show the labor market recovery continues to moderate as the Omicron variant disrupted hiring.  The consensus estimate for jobs created in January is 178,000, which would be a decrease from the 199,000 gain in December. Labor supply is still very tight and that may continue to be the driver behind average hourly earnings increases.

On Monday, Qatar’s emir will meet President Biden to discuss several issues, primarily focusing on the global energy crisis and security.  Thursday is a big day for Biden’s Fed nominees as Raskin, Cook, and Jefferson as they will appear before the Senate.  If confirmed, this will represent a landmark demographic overhaul of the Fed.

Wall Street will also pay close attention to a busy earnings season week as several European banks, technology, car manufacturers and industrials will report results.
 

EU

A lot of economic data to come from Europe next week, with every day offering a selection of important readings that could influence the currency markets.

But there’s no doubt what the headlines will be, with flash CPI readings coming a day before the ECB meeting. The central bank is one of the few remaining in camp transitory and they are expected to persist, something that will be helped by a softer inflation number the day before.

Markets are ahead of the curve once more with at least one 10 basis point hike priced in by October and maybe another by the end of the year. Christine Lagarde pushed back to no avail last time, a similar outcome could be on the cards if the CPI data isn’t kind to them.

Developments in Ukraine appeared to hit European markets harder than the US on Monday so we could see similar sensitivity should the situation continue to deteriorate.


UK

Next week is all about the BoE meeting, with markets pricing in a more than 90% chance of a second consecutive rate hike, taking the base rate to 0.5%. With up to three more priced in this year, there is scope for the central bank to follow the Fed in leading investors further down the hawkish path.

An unusual side note, the Prime Minister’s job looks far from safe as the Sue Gray investigation has turned into a full blown police inquiry into numerous alleged parties during lockdown. Boris can survive the embarrassment but will he survive an inquiry? The timing of the Sue Gray report remains unknown but could make life very difficult for the PM. Perhaps the oddest thing is how little markets seem to care (for now).

Russia

 

The ruble has had a rough time the last couple of weeks as tensions between Russia and the West have intensified. It’s down around 5% since the start of the year after a recovery on Thursday, with a diplomatic response still being sought, despite the wide gap that still seemingly exists. There remains the risk of invasion which could punish the ruble as the country gets hit with sanctions.

South Africa

The SARB raised interest rates for the second consecutive meeting, taking the repo rate to 4%. This comes as inflation was running at the upper end of its 3-6% target range and despite growth falling short of previous expectations last year. Growth is still expected to be 1.7% this year, with inflation at 4.9%, up from 4.3% previously.

No major events next week.

Turkey

The quarterly inflation report showed little sign of a change of course for the CBRT, with the central bank remaining bullish on the direction of the economy despite dramatically raising inflation forecasts for 2022 to 23.2%; driven by the lira, food prices, labour costs, and administered prices.

Next week we’ll get PPI and CPI data on Thursday which will offer some more insight into price pressures. Not that it will have an impact on the direction of travel for the enemy of interest rates. The lira remains stable, as it has for most of the year so far but when it comes to the currency, you can never expect it to last.

China

The trading week kicks off early in the weekend with China Manufacturing and Services PMIs for January. The PMIs are expected to show that China’s economy slowed down slightly at the start of the year and that manufacturing and services showed no growth in January.

Manufacturing had to deal with seasonal factors and the services sector was dragged down due to the government’s zero-Covid policy, which has meant strict lockdowns. China will likely continue to increase spending to support the economy.

Chinese markets will be closed for most of the week due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

A big focal point will be the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 4th.  President Xi is expected to meet President Putin at the opening ceremony.

India

India will continue to try to foster a recovery with modest fiscal consolidation in the annual budget for FY 2022-2023 on Tuesday. The country has been hit hard by Covid-19 and the recovery remains fragile. Tax revenues in FY 2021-2022 were higher than expected and the government is expected to use the windfall to fund Covid-19 programmes as well as reduce the ballooning deficit so as to cut borrowing costs.

Australia

The RBA policy meeting on Tuesday could be significant, as the central bank is expected to announce the winding up of its asset purchase program. Governor Philip Lowe has stated repeatedly that he will not raise rates before wages rise to 3%, so a rate hike is not happening until much later in the year. However, if the RBA announces that it is bringing forward the timing on eventual hikes, the Australian dollar could receive a boost.

New Zealand

New Zealand releases Q4 2021 employment data on Wednesday. The economy continues to improve despite the Omicron wave, and there are expectations for a slight increase in employment. The unemployment rate fell to a 14-year low in Q3 to 3.4%, and is expected to remain unchanged. The labour market remains tight, which could lead to acceleration in wage growth.
 

Japan

A decent amount of economic releases will include industrial production, labor, and housing data, but nothing that should move the needle for the Bank of Japan.

Markets


Energy

Natural gas prices have been a rollercoaster ride after a short squeeze on Thursday, and now a major snowstorm for the East Coast could pump up prices again. The Ukraine situation may see a short period of calm as diplomacy is entertained.

Crude prices have been on fire, rising for a sixth straight week as the demand outlook improves and over geopolitical fears could lead to severe disruptions. The supply side continues to support a tight market as OPEC+ is expected to stick to their plan of increasing output by 400,000 bpd in March, even though their compliance last month only hit 60% of plan.

Gold

Gold’s pain may last a little longer until the Fed’s aggressive pivot with tackling inflation is fully priced in.  The $1,800 level was a key support level for gold, so momentum selling has the potential to make this an interesting trade.  If it gets ugly quick and $1760 breaks, gold may not see much support until $1720.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin looks like it is stabilizing but many investors are still concerned about a crypto winter which could mean the current rebound might not last.  The biggest risk right now is if Bitcoin mining continues to lose key hubs as more countries battle surging energy costs.

The cryptoverse is eagerly waiting for President Biden’s executive action that will begin regulation of cryptocurrencies as a matter of national security.  This could be done in the coming weeks and could have an impact on stablecoins, NFTs and cryptos.

Key Economic Events

Sunday, Jan. 30

  • Portugal holds an early general election after PM Costa‘s 4-year term ended early

Economic Data/Events:

  • China Jan Manufacturing PMI: 50.0e v 50.3 prior; non-manufacturing PMI: 51.0e v 52.7 prior, Caixin manufacturing PMI: 50.0e v 50.9 prior

Monday, Jan. 31

Economic Data/Events:

  • Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani meets with US President Biden to discuss global energy crisis.
  • Informal meeting of EU ministers for industry and for the Internet market in Lens, France.
  • Germany CPI
  • Eurozone GDP
  • Italy GDP
  • Mexico GDP
  • Poland GDP
  • India GDP
  • South Africa Trade data
  • Turkey Trade data
  • Japan Unemployment Rate
  • Australia inflation gauge, private sector credit
  • Singapore money supply
  • Thailand capacity utilization, BoP
  • India fiscal deficit, eight infrastructure industries
  • Japan industrial production, retail sales, housing starts, consumer confidence index
  • Norway credit indicator, foreign exchange purchases

Tuesday, Feb. 1

Economic Data/Events:

  • US construction spending, ISM Manufacturing, light vehicle sales
  • UK Nationwide house prices, mortgage approvals
  • RBA Rate Decision: Expected to keep Cash Rate unchanged at 0.10%
  • Australia retail sales, house prices, home loans, consumer confidence
  • Hungary PM Orban meets Russian President Putin in Moscow as his government stresses the importance of maintaining close economic ties, even amid the tensions of the Ukraine crisis.
  • Sweden Financial stability hearing with Riksbank, FSA in Parliament.
  • India budget presentation
  • Euro zone Manufacturing PMI, Unemployment
  • Germany Manufacturing PMI, Unemployment
  • India Manufacturing PMI
  • UK Manufacturing PMI
  • Australia Manufacturing PMI
  • Thailand Manufacturing PMI
  • Switzerland Manufacturing PMI
  • New Zealand Trade, Unemployment, house prices
  • Czech Republic GDP
  • Japan jobless, PMI, vehicle sales
  • Thailand business sentiment index
  • Mexico international reserves
  • Switzerland consumer confidence, retail sales
  • South Africa PMI

Wednesday, Feb. 2

Economic Data/Events:

  • OPEC+ meeting on output
  • Eurozone CPI
  • RBA Governor Lowe addresses the National Press Club.
  • New Zealand unemployment
  • Japan monetary base
  • Russia industrial production
  • Denmark foreign reserves
  • EIA Crude Oil Inventory Report

Thursday, Feb. 3

Economic Data/Events:

  • US factory orders, initial jobless claims, durable goods
  • Fed Board of Governors confirmation hearing
  • ECB Rate decision: No changes expected on rates, but Lagarde could provide guidance on when rate hikes could happen
  • BOE Rate decision: Expected to raise Bank Rate by 25bps to 0.50%
  • Eurozone Services PMI, PPI
  • German Services PMI
  • UK Services PMI
  • Australia Services PMI
  • India Services PMI
  • Turkey PPI
  • Turkey CPI
  • Singapore PMI, electronics sector index
  • Australia trade balance, building approvals, private sector houses, business confidence
  • Switzerland total sight deposits, UBS real estate bubble index
  • Amazon reports earnings reports after the close

Friday, Feb. 4

Economic Data/Events:

  • US Jan Change in Nonfarm payrolls: 178Ke v 199K prior; Unemployment Rate: 3.9%e v 3.9% prior
  • President Putin meets President Xi at Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony
  • Canada Employment Report
  • France industrial production, manufacturing production, wages
  • Germany factory orders
  • Switzerland CPI
  • UK new car registrations
  • Eurozone ECB survey of professional forecasters, Retail Sales
  • Singapore Retail sales
  • New Zealand building permits
  • Thailand CPI, forward contracts, foreign reserves, consumer confidence
  • Turkey effective exchange rate

Sovereign Rating Updates:

  • Norway (Fitch)
  • EFSF (S&P)
  • ESM (S&P)
  • Sweden (S&P)
  • Russia (Moody’s)
  • Czech Republic (Moody’s)
  • Sweden (DBRS)

 

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Author: Ed Moya

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