Monthly Archives: December 2015

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system.  Its reading as of the December 24, 2015 update (reflecting data through December 18) is -.557.

Of course, there are a variety of other measures and indices that are supposed to measure financial stress and other related issues, both from the Federal Reserve as well as from private sources.

Two other indices that I regularly monitor include the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) as well as the Chicago Fed Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI).

Here are summary descriptions of each, as seen in FRED:

The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) measures risk, liquidity and leverage in money markets and debt and equity markets as well as in the traditional and “shadow” banking systems. Positive values of the NFCI indicate financial conditions that are tighter than average, while negative values indicate financial conditions that are looser than average.

The adjusted NFCI (ANFCI). This index isolates a component of financial conditions uncorrelated with economic conditions to provide an update on how financial conditions compare with current economic conditions.

For further information, please visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s web site:

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/nfci/index.cfm

Below are the most recently updated charts of the NFCI and ANFCI, respectively.

The NFCI chart below was last updated on December 30, 2015 incorporating data from January 5,1973 to December 25, 2015, on a weekly basis.  The December 25, 2015 value is -.59:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 30, 2015:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NFCI

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on December 30, 2015 incorporating data from January 5,1973 to December 25, 2015, on a weekly basis.  The December 25 value is -.32:

anfci

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 30, 2015:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ANFCI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2072.04 as this post is written

Consumer Confidence Surveys – As Of December 29, 2015

Doug Short had a blog post of December 29, 2015 (“Consumer Confidence Improved in December“) in which he presents the latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence and Thomson/Reuters University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index charts.  They are presented below:

(click on charts to enlarge images)

Conference Board Consumer Confidence

Michigan Consumer Sentiment

There are a few aspects of the above charts that I find highly noteworthy.  Of course, until the recent sudden upswing, the continued subdued absolute levels of these two surveys was disconcerting.

Also, I find the “behavior” of these readings to be quite disparate as compared to the other post-recession periods, as shown in the charts between the gray shaded areas (the gray areas denote recessions as defined by the NBER.)

While I don’t believe that confidence surveys should be overemphasized, I find these readings to be very problematical, especially in light of a variety of other highly disconcerting measures highlighted throughout this site.

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2074.72 as this post is written

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system.  Its reading as of the December 17, 2015 update (reflecting data through December 11) is -.691.

Of course, there are a variety of other measures and indices that are supposed to measure financial stress and other related issues, both from the Federal Reserve as well as from private sources.

Two other indices that I regularly monitor include the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) as well as the Chicago Fed Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI).

Here are summary descriptions of each, as seen in FRED:

The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) measures risk, liquidity and leverage in money markets and debt and equity markets as well as in the traditional and “shadow” banking systems. Positive values of the NFCI indicate financial conditions that are tighter than average, while negative values indicate financial conditions that are looser than average.

The adjusted NFCI (ANFCI). This index isolates a component of financial conditions uncorrelated with economic conditions to provide an update on how financial conditions compare with current economic conditions.

For further information, please visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s web site:

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/nfci/index.cfm

Below are the most recently updated charts of the NFCI and ANFCI, respectively.

The NFCI chart below was last updated on December 23, 2015 incorporating data from January 5,1973 to December 18, 2015, on a weekly basis.  The December 18, 2015 value is -.57:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 23, 2015:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NFCI

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on December 23, 2015 incorporating data from January 5,1973 to December 18, 2015, on a weekly basis.  The December 18 value is -.38:

ANFCI_ 12-23-15 -.38

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 23, 2015:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ANFCI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2056.63 as this post is written

Durable Goods New Orders – Long-Term Charts Through November 2015

Many people place emphasis on Durable Goods New Orders as a prominent economic indicator and/or leading economic indicator.

For reference, below are two charts depicting this measure.

First, from the St. Louis Fed site (FRED), a chart through November, updated on December 23, 2015. This value is $238,776 ($ Millions):

(click on charts to enlarge images)

Durable Goods New Orders

Second, here is the chart depicting this measure on a “Percentage Change from a Year Ago” basis:

Durable Goods New Orders

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Manufacturers’ New Orders:  Durable Goods [DGORDER]; U.S. Department of Commerce: Census Bureau; accessed December 23, 2015;

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/DGORDER

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2053.35 as this post is written

The U.S. Economic Situation – December 23, 2015 Update

Perhaps the main reason that I write of our economic situation is that I continue to believe, based upon various analyses, that our economic situation is in many ways misunderstood.  While no one likes to contemplate a future rife with economic adversity, current and future economic problems must be properly recognized and rectified if high-quality, sustainable long-term economic vitality is to be realized.

There are an array of indications and other “warning signs” – many readily apparent – that current economic activity and financial market performance is accompanied by exceedingly perilous dynamics.

I have written extensively about this peril, including in the following:

Building Financial Danger” (ongoing updates)

A Special Note On Our Economic Situation

Forewarning Pronounced Economic Weakness

Thoughts Concerning The Next Financial Crisis

Was A Depression Successfully Avoided?

Has the Financial System Strengthened Since the Financial Crisis?

The Next Crash And Its Significance

My analyses continues to indicate that the growing level of financial danger will lead to the next stock market crash that will also involve (as seen in 2008) various other markets as well.  Key attributes of this next crash is its outsized magnitude (when viewed from an ultra-long term historical perspective) and the resulting economic impact.  This next financial crash is of tremendous concern, as my analyses indicate it will lead to a Super Depression – i.e. an economy characterized by deeply embedded, highly complex, and difficult-to-solve problems.

For long-term reference purposes, here is a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1900, depicted on a monthly basis using a LOG scale (updated through December 18, 2015, with a last value of 17128.55):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com)

DJIA from 1900

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2053.81 as this post is written

Money Supply Charts Through November 2015

For reference purposes, below are two sets of charts depicting growth in the money supply.

The first shows the MZM (Money Zero Maturity), defined in FRED as the following:

M2 less small-denomination time deposits plus institutional money funds.
Money Zero Maturity is calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Here is the “MZM Money Stock” (seasonally adjusted) chart, updated on December 18, 2015 depicting data through November 2015, with a value of $13,725.8 Billion:

MZM Money Supply

Here is the “MZM Money Stock” chart on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis:

MZM money supply percent change from year ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 22, 2015:

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MZMSL

The second set shows M2, defined in FRED as the following:

M2 includes a broader set of financial assets held principally by households. M2 consists of M1 plus: (1) savings deposits (which include money market deposit accounts, or MMDAs); (2) small-denomination time deposits (time deposits in amounts of less than $100,000); and (3) balances in retail money market mutual funds (MMMFs). Seasonally adjusted M2 is computed by summing savings deposits, small-denomination time deposits, and retail MMMFs, each seasonally adjusted separately, and adding this result to seasonally adjusted M1.

Here is the “M2 Money Stock” (seasonally adjusted) chart, updated on December 17, 2015, depicting data through November 2015, with a value of $12,288.3 Billion:

M2SL

Here is the “M2 Money Stock” chart on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis:

M2SL Percent Change From Year Ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed December 22, 2015:

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/M2SL

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2027.01 as this post is written

Updates Of Economic Indicators December 2015

Here is an update of various indicators that are supposed to predict and/or depict economic activity. These indicators have been discussed in previous blog posts:

The December 2015 Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) updated as of December 21, 2015:

CFNAI-MA3

The ECRI WLI (Weekly Leading Index):

As of December 18, 2015 (incorporating data through December 11, 2015) the WLI was at 131.1 and the WLI, Gr. was at -.6%.

A chart of the WLI,Gr., from Doug Short’s post of December 18, 2015, titled “ECRI Weekly Leading Index: ‘Another Fractional Decrease from Previous Week’“:

ECRI WLI,Gr.

The Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions (ADS) Index:

Here is the latest chart, depicting the ADS Index from December 31, 2007 through December 12, 2015:

ADS Index

The Conference Board Leading (LEI), Coincident (CEI) Economic Indexes, and Lagging Economic Indicator (LAG):

As per the December 17, 2015 press release, titled “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. Increased,” (pdf) the LEI was at 124.6, the CEI was at 113.3, and the LAG was 119.6 in November.

An excerpt from the December 17 release:

“The U.S. LEI registered another increase in November, with building permits, the interest rate spread, and stock prices driving the improvement,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “Although the six-month growth rate of the LEI has moderated, the economic outlook for the final quarter of the year and into the new year remains positive.”

Here is a chart of the LEI from Doug Short’s blog post of December 17 titled “Conference Board Leading Economic Index: Slight Increase in November“:

Conference Board LEI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2013.38 as this post is written

Trends Of S&P500 Earnings Forecasts

S&P500 earnings trends and estimates are a notably important topic, for a variety of reasons, at this point in time.

FactSet publishes a report titled “Earnings Insight” that contains a variety of information including the trends and expectations of S&P500 earnings.

For reference purposes, here are two charts as seen in the “Earnings Insight” (pdf) report of December 18, 2015:

from page 20:

(click on charts to enlarge images)

S&P500 earnings estimate trends

from page 21:

S&P500 earnings

_____

I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog are aware, I do not agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2017.66 as this post is written

S&P500 2015, 2016 & 2017 Annual EPS Estimates

As many are aware, Thomson Reuters publishes earnings estimates for the S&P500.  (My other posts concerning S&P earnings estimates can be found under the S&P500 Earnings tag)

The following estimates are from Exhibit 12 of “The Director’s Report” (pdf) of December 18, 2015, and represent an aggregation of individual S&P500 component “bottom up” analyst forecasts.  For reference, the Year 2014 value is $118.78/share:

Year 2015 estimate:

$117.48/share

Year 2016 estimate:

$127.42/share

Year 2017 estimate:

$143.25/share

_____

I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog are aware, I do not agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2005.55 as this post is written