Markit’s flash PMIs are signalling an acceleration in economic growth in the U.S. and abroad. In America, both the manufacturing and the services PMIs surged in October with the Composite suggesting 2% growth in Q4. Next week will be big: Personal Income and Outlays on Monday, car sales (see below) and ISM PMIs on Tuesday and Employment data on Friday. A good Xmas would clear inventories and set the stage for a more buoyant 2017.
(…) backlogs of work (orders received but not yet completed or started) accumulated at the fastest rate for over five years, meaning business activity growth and hiring look set to accelerate further as we head towards the end of the year.
Other encouraging forward-looking signals were higher inflows of new orders, increased job creation and busier supply chains, as well as signs of some companies moving away from cost-cutting inventory reduction policies towards restocking. The amount of inputs bought by manufacturers for use in production showed the largest rise for over two-and-a-half years. (…)
The October survey saw an especially encouraging recovery in German growth, with the PMI pointing to a 0.5% pace of expansion and the rate of employment growth climbing to a five-year peak.
Modest growth of 0.2-0.3% is being signalled for France, but there are various indicators which suggest that France will enjoy stronger growth in coming months, including a marked build-up of uncompleted work and a resurgent export growth, both of which rose at the fastest rates for over five years.
In the meantime:
The probability that the Fed will move by year-end is now 74%. (The Daily Shot)
And global bond yields are rising.
U.S. New Home Sales Up in September After August Dip Sales of newly built homes rose in September after an August tumble, a sign modest momentum continues in the housing market.
Purchases of new single-family homes increased 3.1% in September from the prior monthto a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a sales pace of 600,000 last month.
Sales for August were revised down sharply, to a 575,000 pace from an earlier estimate of 609,000. New data shows sales declined 8.6% in August from July. (…)
Through the first nine months of the year, sales are up 13% compared with the same period in 2015. (…)
This in spite of that:
The effective interest rate on a 15-year mortgage was steady at 3.08%, up slightly from the July low of 2.97%. Rates were down from the 3.50% highs of November and December. The effective rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan eased to 3.81%, remaining down from 4.28% near year-end. The rate on a Jumbo 30-year loan held steady at 3.81%. For adjustable 5-year mortgages, the effective interest rate fell to 3.05%, still higher than 2.87% early in July.
CAR SALES PREVIEW
I came across a recent survey of car dealers. The October forecast is for 17.9 million US Light Vehicle SAAR, modestly above September’s 17.8mm SAAR roughly in line with the trailing 3 month rate of 17.5mm. Absolute sales of ~1.37mm in October would be down -6% YoY. On a selling day adjusted basis (26 days vs. 28 LY), sales would be up 1% YoY.
Inventories seem a little on the high side with 58% of respondents saying inventory levels are “too high” or “slightly elevated”, versus 33% last month and last year.
Auto Lenders Have New Reason to Worry Several large companies have warned that prices of used vehicles are likely to weaken, potentially leading to higher losses on loans on which cars are the collateral
(…) Auto-loan balances topped $1 trillion for the first time ever this year. Actual default rates remain low, but losses are starting to tick up, leading some big lenders to scale back. That has the credit underpinnings of the auto boom looking shakier. (…)
Indeed, prices of used cars that are up to eight years old are down 3.6% in 2016 through September versus the same period a year earlier, according to the NADA Used Car Guide, a division of J.D. Power.
“It is the first time since 2008 that prices have fallen by any material amount,” said Larry Dixon, director of market intelligence at the NADA Used Car Guide. The firm is projecting prices will finish the year down by an average of 4% compared with 2015. (…)
The number of cars coming off of leases this year is expected to hit 3.1 million, up 33% from a year earlier, Mr. Dixon said. (…)
New subprime auto loans in 2015 totaled $109.5 billion, up some 11% from the prior year and up roughly 124% from 2010, according to Equifax.
Annualized net losses for subprime securitized loans hit 8.9% in August, up from 7% a year earlier and 5.9% the year before that, according to Fitch.
Lenders have been loosening standards to keep loan volume growing. That raises the prospect of more defaults. (…)
Slowdown in State, Local Investment Dents U.S. Economy A sharp pullback in spending by cities and states on infrastructure—from highways to sewage systems to police stations—is hurting economic growth.
(…) State and local governments spent an annualized $248.47 billion on construction in August—the least since March 2014 and down nearly 11% from its recent peak in mid-2015. (…)
In late 2015, inflation-adjusted tax revenue was lower in 21 states compared with the peak before or during the recession, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. (…)
Construction of public buildings—courthouses, fire stations and other government facilities—should begin to rise in 2017, Dodge Data & Analytics predicted in a recent annual outlook. “This is expected to be the bottom of the cycle for public buildings, as government fiscal conditions have slowly mended,” the report said. (…)
Surprise U.S. Inventory Decline Pushes Oil Prices Higher Oil prices edged up Thursday, supported by the surprise decline in U.S. inventories, suggesting that the global glut in supply is slowly being worked through.
- 214 companies (51.3% of the S&P 500’s market cap) have reported. Earnings are beating by 6.4% while revenues are surprising by 1.0%.
- Expectations are for revenue, earnings, and EPS of 2.6%, 0.7%, and 2.7%, respectively. EPS is on pace for +5.8%, assuming the current beat rate for the remainder of the season. This would be +9.4% excluding Energy.
Following the tough Tuesday, yesterday was a better day for earnings. The beat rate was 76% overall and 83% ex-Financials. The EPS of 214 companies that have reported are up 2.1% YoY on revenue growth of 2.3%.
It looks like this will end up as a positive quarter. Thomson Reuters calculates a blended growth rate of +2.2% from –0.5% on Oct. 1. Expectations for Q4 are slipping a little, up +7.8% vs +8.3% at the beginning of the month.
Deutsche Bank Swings to Profit Deutsche Bank posted an unexpected profit and set aside more cash to cover litigation costs amid talks aimed at settling mortgage-securities probes with U.S. authorities.
(…) On the whole, the data released over the past several days suggests that the race may have tightened just the slightest bit. But this seems to be the result of Trump having seen his image rebound some among Republican voters, rather than having taken any votes away from Clinton. In fact, Clinton’s standing in our national polling average — 46 percent — is the highest it’s been all year, including when she was in the midst of her convention bounce. But Trump’s at 40 percent, about 1 percentage point better than a week ago, and — believe it or not — also not far from his high on the year (Trump peaked at 41 percent in late September).
Both candidates, in other words, are slowly gaining votes from undecided voters and from third-party candidates. Emphasis on “slowly,” because there are still a lot of these voters up for grabs. About 15 percent of the electorate isn’t yet committed to Clinton or Trump, as compared to just 5 percent who weren’t committed to President Obama or Mitt Romney at this point in 2012. That’s one of the reasons why our models still give Trump an outside chance at victory. (…)