Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Can US Economy Weather the Global Storm? (excerpt)

The latest batch of US economic indicators certainly looks upbeat. The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rose sharply during August, led by its present situation component to the highest reading since November 2007.

Most impressive is that the percentage of respondents to the CCI survey who agreed that jobs are hard to get plunged from 27.4% during July to 21.9% this month, the lowest percentage since January 2008. This series is highly correlated with the unemployment rate, which was 5.3% during July. The CCI series suggests that the jobless rate could soon fall below 5%.

By the way, this also suggests that the Misery Index, which is the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate, will continue to fall to new lows for this cycle. In the past, bear markets were associated with a rise in the Misery Index. On the other hand, cyclical lows in the Misery Index marked the tail ends of bull markets.

If you need a couple more indicators to restore your confidence in the US economy, take a look at the ATA trucking index. It rebounded smartly during July, and is almost back to its record high during January of this year. Intermodel railcar loadings rose to a record high in mid-August. “Choo-choo” isn’t the sound of China sneezing.

Today's Morning Briefing: The Iceman Cometh. (1) Albert Edwards is the Iceman. (2) Global freezing. (3) Another 2008 crisis is imminent eventually. (4) Cold summer followed by warm winter for stocks? (5) Blame HFT robots, since most humans are at the beach. (6) It’s good to be plugged in, to front-run everyone else. (7) VIX soars, while Treasury yields meander. (8) Must be getting close to a bottom for commodities. (9) People say US labor market improving significantly. (10) Transportation activity indicators rolling along. (More for subscribers.)

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