In February, average hourly earnings rose 0.1 percent, month-to-month, or 3 cents to $24.78. Year-over-year, that’s a rise of 2.0. The average length of the workweek remains unchanged at 34.6 hours. (Chart from CalculatedRisk)
The ECB boosted its eurozone forecasts from three months ago, saying it now expects 1.5% growth this year, 1.9% in 2016, and 2.1% in 2017. It previously had predicted the currency bloc’s economy would grow 1% in 2015 and 1.5% in 2016.
Latest Oil Dilemma: Where to Put It As oil-storage tanks near capacity, some analysts predict the spillover will send crude prices even lower.
U.S. crude-oil supplies are at their highest level in more than 80 years, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, equal to nearly 70% of the nation’s storage capacity. A U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Okla., is expected to hit maximum capacity this spring. While estimates are rough, Citigroup Inc. believes European commercial crude storage could be more than 90% full, and inventories in South Korea, South Africa and Japan could be at more than 80% of capacity. (…)
Still, relief may eventually be in sight. More storage tanks are being built across the U.S., and some large tanker ships are being leased to house the oil. (…)
Among industrialized nations, commercial oil and petroleum-product stockpiles could hit an all-time high of 2.83 billion barrels by midyear, the International Energy Agency warned last month. The last time they were at that level, in August 1998, oil prices averaged $13.38 a barrel, equivalent to $19.18 a barrel today.
Oil climbs toward $61 on Middle East supply concerns Brent crude oil rose toward $61 a barrel on Friday as fighting in Libya and Iraq stoked output worries, while traders kept a close eye on Iran nuclear talks that could eventually bring more supply to world markets. | Video
Nothing new for Bearnobull readers but now going mainstream:
US corporates face quarterly profit fall Analysts trim forecasts as stronger dollar takes toll on earnings
(…) Analysts are forecasting a decline of 4.6 per cent in first-quarter S&P 500 earnings compared with the same period a year ago, with those for the second quarter seen falling 1.5 per cent according to FactSet. That would represent the first back-to-back quarterly decline since the second and third quarters of 2009.
“While energy is a big part of the story, a number of other major S&P sectors are also expected to see declines in their first-quarter earnings,” said John Butters, analyst at FactSet. Utilities, materials, telecom services, consumer staples and information technology are forecast to record negative year-over-year earnings growth for the first quarter according to FactSet.
Mr Butters said analysts have cut their bottom-up earnings-per-share estimate for the first quarter by 8 per cent since the start of January. The decline in estimates over the first two months of the quarter represents the largest revision since the first quarter of 2009 and worries some, who point out that such changes in the past have foreshadowed recessions.
Chris Watling, chief market strategist at LongView Economics, said: “Since the early nineties, the only times that earnings per share have fallen in the US have been at the onset of recessions, in 2000 to 2002 and 2007 to 2009.”
Here’s the Yardeni chart showing how sector estimates have been trimmed lately:
Meanwhile, from Birinyi Associates via FT Alphaville:
There were $118 billion of buyback authorizations in February, a 48% increase versus February of 2014 ($80 bln).
February was the strongest month ever and 2015 was the strongest start to the year ever with $152 billion of authorizations recorded year-to-date. We recorded 139 authorizations, which was virtually even with the same period in 2014 (141).