Kind of a week off, doing surf (lobster) and turf (golf) on the Atlantic coast.
U.S. New-Home Sales Dropped in July U.S. new-home sales fell sharply in July and inventory levels jumped.
Purchases of newly built single-family homes—a narrow slice of all U.S. home sales—decreased 9.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 in July, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected an annual pace of 615,000 in July.
Over the broader term, the market for single-family homes has strengthened. So far this year, sales have risen 9.2% compared with the same period a year earlier. (…)
- Moreover, the slowdown in US household formation doesn’t bode well for new residential construction going forward. (The Daily Shot)
Source: Piper Jaffray & Co
- Meanwhile, US rent increases seem to have peaked.
Source: Wells Fargo, @joshdigga
WPP Sounds a Warning Signal on Consumer-Ad Spending; Shares Sink Ad giant WPP reported a steep slowdown in buying by consumer-goods companies, and its shares were off 10% in response.
(…) Shares in the world’s largest advertising company, WPP PLC, were off 10% in London on Wednesday afternoon after the firm reported a steeper-than-expected slowdown in ad buying from consumer-goods companies, especially in North America. (…)
Chief Executive Martin Sorrell said advertisers in the packaged-goods sector—which make up one-third of the company’s sales—are struggling with a low-growth, low-inflation environment, while some are contending with activist investors and technological disruptions. (…)
Sales volumes at consumer-goods companies “are flat or falling,” Mr. Sorrell said in an interview. “That’s a big wake-up call. It means you have less consumers, and that’s the beginning of serious problems.”
Among advertisers’ biggest worries, Mr. Sorrell said, is the increasing dominance of Amazon.com Inc. over the traditional retailers that distribute consumer goods. “If you’re a packaged-goods company and you want to increase your volumes, do you ignore Amazon or do you go to them? And if you go to them, they control your data,” he said. (…)
Wal-Mart and Google Partner to Challenge Amazon Google and Wal-Mart Stores are joining forces in a partnership that includes enabling voice-ordered purchases from the retail giant on Google’s virtual assistant, challenging rival Amazon.com’s grip on the next wave of e-commerce.
Wal-Mart said Wednesday that next month it will join Google’s online-shopping marketplace, Google Express. While the deal will add hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart items to Google Express, it will also give Wal-Mart access to voice ordering. (…)
Amazon effectively invented voice shopping, which allows users to easily order goods, like toilet paper and diapers, thanks to Amazon’s vast data set on customers’ past purchases. A significant portion of online shopping is made up of consumers reordering the same staples. That is well-adapted to voice ordering because a device can recall the preferred brand, size and type, without requiring shoppers to scan through different product listings. (…)
The Wal-Mart-Google partnership comes as Amazon continues to expand its share of online purchases. In July, Amazon claimed nearly 45 cents out of every dollar spent online, according to receipt tracker Slice Intelligence, up from about 43 cents at the start of the year. Wal-Mart, in comparison, claimed nearly 2 cents of each dollar, holding steady. (…)
More than half of Echo users have bought something on their device, and about 30% of those customers buy something at least once a week, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners’ survey of 300 device users. Google Home owners do so at a much lower rate, the survey says. (…)
Demand for business loans has been slowing
Not a sign of economic strength:
Source: Wells Fargo, @joshdigga
All 45 countries tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are on track to grow this year, and 33 of them are poised to accelerate from a year ago, according to the OECD. It is the first time since 2007 that all are growing and the most countries in acceleration since 2010, when many nations enjoyed a fleeting snapback from the global financial crisis.
The International Monetary Fund in July projected global economic output would grow 3.5% this year and 3.6% in 2018, up from 3.2% growth in 2016. (…) The three other periods in the past 50 years with synchronized growth saw the trend continue for a few years. In the end, however, those expansions became overextended and ended.
For now, though, the global upturn appears on track, in part because inflation is low and central bankers are moving gradually. (…)
(…) Mr Dalio, who was initially optimistic about the economic impact of Mr Trump’s policy agenda, wrote on Monday that divisions in Washington meant “conflicts have now intensified to the point that fighting to the death is probably more likely than reconciliation”, pointing to the president’s sharply diverging approval ratings among Democrats and Republicans.
The hedge fund manager said Bridgewater was “reducing our risk” because of the likelihood the conflicts will not be “handled well”, arguing that their resolution “will have a greater effect on the economy, markets and our overall wellbeing than classic monetary and fiscal policies”. (…)
Trump’s Wall Pledge Complicates GOP Efforts to Avoid Shutdown GOP lawmakers say President Trump’s threat to shut down government if Congress doesn’t approve funding for a Mexico border wall could throw a wrench in efforts to keep government open this fall.
The eighth generation of its Core line will provide as much as a 40 percent jump over its predecessor, according to the Santa Clara, California-based company. That’s a leap in performance that arguably only happens once in a decade, Intel said. New laptops built on the chips will come to market in September. (…)