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Which Way Wednesday – Beige Book Edition

Trend-spotting

That's our job as investors and even you traders out there try to spot trends with your little charts (so cute!).  Investors tend to focus more on the data and yesterday, both Fed Chairman Powell and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin warned Congress that their continued failure to act and pass a stimulus bill is hurting an already weak economy.  We can see that in the data trends this week:

  • Chicago PMI – 58.2, weaker than expected by leading Economorons
  • Pending Home Sales – Down 1.1% vs +1.5% expected
  • Auto Sales – Slowing 
  • ISM Manufacturing – 57.5%, weaker than expected
  • Construction Spending – Up 1.3%, better than expected
  • Morgage Applications – Down 0.6%, much worse than expected 

That's our data so far and we'll get the Fed's Beige Book this afternoon but of course it's going to be gloomy, you could hear the panic in Powell's voice talking to Congress, BEGGING them to DO SOMETHING as the Fed seems to be out of tricks at this point, with rates already at 0.25%.  We need MORE FREE MONEY and we need it NOW!

As we expected, Black Friday was a bust but you wouldn't know it reading the front page of the Wall Street Journal though there is an article about it here.  It's titled "Shoppers Spent Less Over Black Friday Weekend" but I'd say they are underselling it just a little as in-store shopping traffic was down 37% and the people who did shop spent 14% less than last year.  I know math is frowned up by Conservatives but I'm one of those annoying liberals who believes in facts, so it seems to me that if a retailer sold $100,000 last year and 37% less people shopped this year, that would be $67,000 but then if they spent 14% less on top of that, that then becomes $57,000.  

So the headline could have read "Black Friday Sales Down 43% from Last Year" or "OH MY GOD, This is Terrible" but the WSJ went way our of their way to make it sound not so bad, knowing…

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