The Chicago Federal Reserve reported that its National Activity Index (CFNAI) during November fell to a three-month low of -0.30 from -0.17 in October, revised from -0.04. The 3-month moving average eased to -0.20, its weakest reading since March and indicated that economic growth was slightly below its long-term trend. During the last ten years, there has been a 77% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP.
Movement in the four component series of the overall index was mixed last month. The Production & Income reading fell to -0.27, its lowest reading since January 2014. The Employment, Unemployment and Hours figure eased to 0.05 from 0.08. These two positive readings followed two negative postings. To the upside, the Sales, Orders & Inventories series improved minimally to -0.02 from -0.03, but still posted the third negative number in four. The Personal Consumption & Housing series increased to -0.06, but has been moving sideways since the spring. The Fed reported that 37 of the 85 component series made positive contributions to the total while 48 made negative contributions.
BAD OMEN FOR NEW CAR SALES?
CarMax said last Friday that comp. sales declined 1% YoY during the quarter ended in November. Traffic fell for the first time in over two years. Stock dropped 8%. It is down 30% from its April peak.
(…) the second straight monthly strengthening of sentiment suggests that the attacks and their aftermath will have little impact on the eurozone’s economic recovery, in line with a pattern established in the wake of previous attacks on Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.
“December’s improvement in eurozone consumer confidence is all the more reassuring as it was the first survey to be fully completed after the Paris terrorist attacks,” saidHoward Archer, an economist at IHS Economics. “This is particularly welcome news as consumer spending has played a leading role in the eurozone’s modest cyclical upturn.”
The pickup leaves consumer confidence well above its average going back to 1990, and at its highest level since June. (…)
Uber and Lyft funding rounds top $3.1bn Ride-hailing apps double their end-of-year fundraising
Uber and Lyft have each doubled their fundraising to amass a combined $3.1bn from investors, underscoring how the most prominent Silicon Valley start-ups still have access to capital even as some smaller companies struggle to access money.
Lyft is raising $1bn at a valuation of $4.5bn, which is more than double its valuation in May, according to filings. Meanwhile, Uber is raising $2.1bn at a valuation of $62.5bn, one of the highest valuations for a Silicon Valley start-up. (…)
Uber is the most highly valued private start-up in Silicon Valley, and its valuation has risen 25 per cent since its latest fundraising in June. (…)
Global funds cut stocks, slowdown worries persist: poll Global investors cut their equity holdings in December and raised their exposure to bonds, a Reuters poll of fund managers showed on Tuesday, as worries about a global economic slowdown and uncertainty about the pace of Fed tightening persisted.
(…) Equity holdings fell to 47.9 percent, the lowest since September, while bond holdings rose to 37.9 percent, the highest since December 2014, reflecting a generally cautious mood among asset managers. (…)
The survey of 52 fund managers and chief investment officers in the United States, Europe, Britain and Japan was conducted between Dec. 14 and 21. (…)
Within their equity portfolios, asset managers trimmed their exposure to U.S. stocks by two percentage points to 38 percent, the lowest level since September. Euro zone equities were cut back to 18 percent, the lowest since January 2015. (…)
Investors raised their Japanese equity allocation to 20.6 percent, the highest level since November 2014, following a decision by the Bank of Japan to reorganize its massive stimulus program in an attempt to boost investment. (…)
Dust off the history books, because today is a huge moment for space travel. For the first time ever, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has returned part of an orbital rocket safely to the ground. It promises to usher in a new era of reusable spaceflight.
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 8.29 p.m. EST yesterday (1.29 a.m. GMT today), taking 11 satellites to orbit as part of the ORBCOMM-2 mission. But undoubtedly the highlight of the mission occurred ten minutes later, when the first stage of the rocket used its thrusters to touch down at a landing site 10 kilometers (six miles) from the launch pad, having traveled to a height of 200 kilometers (125 miles). (…)