Most Recent Stories


For the week of May 2nd (in conjunction with Econoday):

Earnings will be very heavy again, but much like last week the majority of the names reporting will not be market moving. Overall, it has been another excellent earnings season when compared to estimates.  This has been largely factored into stocks, however, so economic data and exogenous events are front and center this week.  Let’s take a look at what’s on tap:


Motor Vehicle Sales

Sales of domestic light motor vehicles in March rose to an annual unit rate of 8.8 million, up 14 percent from February’s 7.7 million rate.  Sales of imports also were healthy, rising to 3.0 million units annualized from 2.7 million in March.  Combined sales of domestics and imports jumped to 11.8 million from 10.4 million in January.  Slowly improving optimism about the economy may keep nudging consumers with jobs to upgrade their rides, meaning likely continuing gains—albeit modest—in vehicle sales.

Motor vehicle domestic sales Consensus Forecast for April 10: 8.8 million-unit rate

Personal Income and Outlays 8:30 AM ET

Personal income growth stalled in February, coming in at flat after a 0.3 percent rise the month before.  Holding growth down was the important wages & salaries component which also was unchanged in February after jumping 0.4 percent in January.  Nonetheless, spending has been healthy, gaining 0.3 percent in February, following a 0.4 percent boost in January. Inflation essentially was nonexistent with the headline PCE price index flat as was also the core PCE price index. Looking ahead, income should improve in March as aggregate weekly payrolls jumped 0.6 percent on the boost in jobs and workweek.  March inflation will likely be soft as the headline CPI was unchanged while the core CPI edged up 0.1 percent.

Personal income Consensus Forecast for March 10: +0.4 percent

Personal consumption expenditures Consensus Forecast for March 10: +0.6 percent

Core PCE price index Consensus Forecast for March 10: 0.0 percent

ISM Mfg Index 10:00 AM ET

The composite index from the ISM manufacturing survey jumped 3.1 points in March to 59.6, a reading well above 50 to indicate very solid growth compared to February.  In fact, the composite index hit the highest level in more than five years.  Looking ahead, April will also probably be strong as the March new orders index was quite robust, gaining 2 points to 61.5.

ISM manufacturing composite index Consensus Forecast for April 10: 61.0

Construction Spending 10:00 AM ET

Construction spending in February fell with all three major components tugging downward.  But there is an implicit hint that some of the weakness was weather related.  Overall construction spending for February fell 1.3 percent, following a revised decline of 1.4 percent in January.  The public and nonresidential components will likely continue their downtrend with a possible bounce in private residential partially offsetting, coming off severe weather in February.

Construction spending Consensus Forecast for March 10: -0.3 percent


ICSC-Goldman Store Sales 7:45 AM ET

Redbook 8:55 AM ET

Factory Orders 10:00 AM ET

Factory orders rose 0.6 percent in February reflecting an upward revised 0.9 percent month-to-month rise in durable goods orders and a 0.3 percent rise in non-durable goods. Orders in this group were led by aircraft but also include other key industrial areas such as machinery and fabrications. More recently, the advance report for March durables orders showed a sizeable decline as aircraft orders resulted in the headline number dropping 1.3 percent.  Excluding the transportation component, however, new durables orders spiked 2.8 percent.  Some lift to overall orders will likely come from the non-durables component for March given the significant month-to-month rise for fuel costs.

Factory orders Consensus Forecast for March 10: -0.1 percent

Pending Home Sales Index 10:00 AM ET


Challenger Job-Cut Report 7:30 AM ET

ADP Employment Report 8:15 AM ET

ISM Non-Mfg Index 10:00 AM ET

The composite index from the ISM non-manufacturing survey in March improved to 55.4—a 2.4 point jump from the prior month. The index has been in positive territory for three months in a row.  Forward momentum looks good as the new orders index spiked 7.3 points to a really hot 62.3 reading. This is the highest level for this index since a reading of 63.0 in February 2005. The March jump in new orders suggests another healthy number for the composite in April.

ISM non-manufacturing composite index Consensus Forecast for April 10: 56.4

EIA Petroleum Status Report 10:30 AM ET


Chain Store Sales

Monster Employment Index

ECB Announcement 7:45 AM ET

Jobless Claims 8:30 AM ET

Initial jobless claims fell by 11,000 in the April 24 week to 448,000. However, the four-week average was up 1,500 to 462,500 and compares negatively with 448,000 at the end of March.  But on the margin, initial claims appear to be on a slowly declining trend.

Jobless Claims Consensus Forecast for 5/1/10: 445,000

Productivity and Costs 8:30 AM ET

Nonfarm business productivity for the fourth quarter was revised up to a sharp 6.9 percent boost from the initial estimate of 6.2 percent.  In turn, unit labor costs fell an annualized 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to an initial estimate of minus 4.4 percent and a revised third quarter plunge of 7.6 percent.  Based on the initial estimate for first quarter GDP—up an annualized 3.2 percent—first quarter productivity will likely moderate and unit labor costs will not be as soft.

Nonfarm Productivity Consensus Forecast for initial Q1 09: +2.6 percent annual rate

Unit Labor Costs Consensus Forecast for initial Q1 09: -1.0 percent annual rate

Ben Bernanke Speaks 9:30 AM ET

EIA Natural Gas Report 10:30 AM ET


Employment Situation 8:30 AM ET

Nonfarm payroll employment in March rebounded 162,000, following a 14,000 decline in February and rise of 14,000 for January.  The March increase was the largest for payrolls since the March 2007 boost of 239,000.  The big negative in the March report was for average hourly earnings. Wage inflation in March fell to a 0.1 percent decline from a 0.2 percent gain the month before.  The dip in wages probably was due to a shift in the composition to lower paid workers.  A good sign for workers is that the workweek is improving—which is a leading indicator for future hiring.  The average workweek (traditional series for production and nonsupervisory workers) rose to 33.3 hours in March from 33.1 the previous month.  For all workers, the average workweek edged up to 34.0 hours from 33.9 hours in February.  Nonetheless, improvement in unemployment is slow coming as the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.7 percent in March.

Nonfarm payrolls Consensus Forecast for April 10: +200,000

Unemployment rate Consensus Forecast for April 10: 9.6 percent

Average workweek Consensus Forecast for April 10: 34.0 hours

Average hourly earnings Consensus Forecast for April 10: +0.2 percent

Consumer Credit 3:00 PM ET

Consumer credit outstanding dropped a sharp $11.5 billion in February—and was a big surprise after $10.6 billion jump the month before. The January gain was the first advance since January 2009, ending a record contraction. By components for February, revolving credit fell a sharp $9.5 billion while nonrevolving credit contracted $2.0.  For March, we should at least see a boost in the nonrevolving component given how strong motor vehicle sales were.

Consumer credit Consensus Forecast for March 10: -$3.0 billion