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Pragmatic Capitalism

Practical Views on Money & Finance

‘Market Indicators’

Rail Traffic: Economy Continues to Soften

More weakness in this week’s rail traffic report.  The AAR reported a -0.3% reading in intermodal.  This is the second consecutive negative weekly reading.  This brings the 12 week moving average down to 1.3%.  That’s about in-line with the consensus Q4 GDP predictions and indicative of an economy that is growing, but just slightly. Here’s… Read More

Rail Traffic is Slowing With the Economy

Rail traffic is taking a turn for the worse in recent weeks as the economy appears to be slowing even further into Q4.  The latest reading on intermodal traffic came in at -1.1%.   That brings the trailing 12 week average to 1.65%.  The US economy appears to be just barely treading water at this… Read More

The Wall of Worry in Inflation

There’s a popular saying that stocks climb a wall of worry.  But one could also say that bonds also climb a wall of worry.  A wall of worry over inflation.  For years (really decades), there have been persistent fears of surging inflation.  And those fears just never come to fruition.  That doesn’t mean they can’t… Read More

Goldman Sachs Cuts Q4 GDP Forecast to 1%

The recent decline in the series is consistent with a moderation in inventory investment in the current quarter, and hence a decline in the contribution from inventory investment to real GDP growth. A simple regression of quarterly inventory investment on our indicator [R-squared = 0.8] suggests that inventory accumulation could fall by $34 billion in Q4 ($135 billion at an annual rate) to $27 billion, enough to detract roughly a full percentage point from Q4 real GDP growth if taken at face value.

The ISI Tech Survey Weakness Not Yet Reflected in the Market

The ISI Tech Company Index (see discussion) shows continuing weakness. The survey, which is heavily weighted towards US semiconductor firms, is now at the lows of 2008/09. It seems that firms have been postponing spending on equipment and to a lesser degree on software. The obvious explanation is the uncertainty in Washington.