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10 LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS THAT ARE ROLLING OVER

Via David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff:

1. The ECRI weekly leading index growth rate peaked on October 9, 2009 (at 28.54%; now at 9.0%).

2. The Conference Board’s LEI peaked at 109.4 in March (109.3 in April).

3. ISM orders/inventory ratio peaked at 1.805 in August 2009 (1.33 in April).

4. University of Michigan consumer expectations peaked on September 2009 (at 73.5) – now at 65.3 in May.

5. The UofM index of big-ticket consumer purchases peaked in February-March at 136; is down to 129 as of May.

6. Jobless claims bottomed at 442k on March 11.  They had peaked at 651k on March 28, 2009.  But they are back at 471k, which is where they were back on December 19, 2009 so the improvement has stalled out.  Not only that, but to keep 472k into perspective, claims were at 453k the week after 9/11 (and the economy back then was eight months into recession).  Yes, yes, employment has been rising of late; however, keep in mind that nonfarm payrolls are in the index of coincident indicators; claims are in the index of leading indicators.  Please let’s not drive looking through the rear window.

7. Single-family building permits peaked at 542k (annual rate) in March (were 484k in April).

8. Mortgage purchase applications peaked on April 30th at 291.3 and now are at a 13-year low of 192.1 even though mortgage rates have come down 20 basis points since the nearby high.

9. Auto production peaked at 7.8 million units (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in January – was at 7.2 million in April.

10. Electrical utility output was down 0.1% YoY as of May 15th.  Could be another early sign that the production revival is behind us.

Source: Gluskin Sheff

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