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Afternoon Note

The Economy Keeps Improving

By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
4/16/2018 1:09 PM
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Retail sales come in above consensus this morning, which gave equities an extra boost before the open.   For me, the autos stand out; although, there would be questions about costs to achieve those things. 

Health and personal care enjoyed the biggest monthly increase, and I’m encouraged with the increase in restaurants.  Some disappointment in building materials, but overall, this is a good number.

Retail Sales

M/M

Y/Y

Headline

+0.6%

+4.5%

Motor Vehicles

+2.0%

+4.5%

Furniture

+0.7%

+3.9%

Electronics

+0.5%

+1.0%

Building Materials

-0.6%

+5.3%

Food (grocery stores)

+0.2%

+3.0%

Health & Personal Care

+1.4%

+0.8%

Gas Stations

-0.3%

+9.7%

Clothing

-0.8%

+1.8%

Sporting Goods

-1.8%

-3.3%

General

+0.3%

+3.2%

Internet

+0.9%

+3.1%

Food (restaurants)

+0.4%

+3.1%

 

There is also a report on food stamp participation, which I think is amazing news.  In January, food stamp participation was down almost 600,000 nearing the monthly average of 2010.  I get there was a lot of effort to make food stamps palatable and perhaps a source of pride.  That was a reach and disingenuous.  People coming off food stamps means they are back on the trail of the American success story. 

This is also important ahead of the administration’s proposals for stricter rules, including for those folks able to work.

We got the latest read on total business inventories, which increased 0.6% in February, in-line after a 0.6% increase in January.  Total business sales increased 0.4% following a downwardly revised 0.3% decline (from -0.2%) in January. Inventory growth from Manufacturers was + 0.3%, Retailers +0.4%, and Merchant Wholesales +1.0%, helping inventory growth outpace sales growth. 

Highlights:

The rally is holding up well, with the Dow up over 300.  The key will be the last two hours of trading and the reaction to Netflix when the company reports after the close.  Let's not force the issue this afternoon.


 

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