Monthly Archives: February 2018

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 February 22, 2018 update (reflecting data through February 16, 2018) is -1.146.

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 February 28, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through February 23, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The February 23, 2018 value is -.79:

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed February 28, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on February 28, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through February 23, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The February 23 value is -.56:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed February 28, 2018:

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 site 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 2713.83 as this post is written

House Prices Reference Chart

As a reference for long-term house price index trends, below is a chart, updated with the most current data (through December) from the CalculatedRisk blog post of February 27, 2018 titled “Case-Shiller:  National House Price Index increased 6.3% year-over-year in December”:

(click on chart to enlarge image)

Case-Shiller indexes

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site 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 2757.47 as this post is written

Durable Goods New Orders – Long-Term Charts Through January 2018

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 January 2018, updated on February 27, 2018. This value is $239,724 ($ 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 Percent Change From Year Ago

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 February 27, 2018;

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 site 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 2764.52 as this post is written

Updates Of Economic Indicators February 2018

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 February 2018 Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) updated as of February 26, 2018:

The CFNAI, with current reading of .12:

CFNAI_2-26-18

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index [CFNAI], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, February 26, 2018;

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CFNAI

The CFNAI-MA3, with current reading of .17:

CFNAIMA3_2-26-18

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index: Three Month Moving Average [CFNAIMA3], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, February 26, 2018;

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CFNAIMA3

The ECRI WLI (Weekly Leading Index):

As of February 23, 2018 (incorporating data through February 16, 2018) the WLI was at 149.0 and the WLI, Gr. was at 7.5%.

A chart of the WLI,Gr., from Doug Short’s ECRI update post of February 23, 2018:

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 February 17, 2018:

ADS Index

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

As per the February 22, 2018 press release, titled “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. Increased in January” (pdf) the LEI was at 108.1, the CEI was at 103.0, and the LAG was 104.0 in January.

An excerpt from the release:

“The U.S. LEI accelerated further in January and continues to point to robust economic growth in the first half of 2018. While the recent stock market volatility will not be reflected in the U.S. LEI until next month, consumers’ and business’ outlook on the economy had been improving for several months and should not be greatly impacted,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The leading indicators reflect an economy with widespread strengths coming from financial conditions, manufacturing, residential construction, and labor markets.”

Here is a chart of the LEI from Doug Short’s Conference Board Leading Economic Index update of February 22, 2018:

Conference Board LEI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site 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 2759.69 as this post is written

The U.S. Economic Situation – February 23, 2018 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 February 21, 2018, with a last value of 24797.78):

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

DJIA since 1900

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2703.96 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 February 22, 2018 update (reflecting data through February 16, 2018) is -1.146.

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 February 22, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through February 16, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The February 16, 2018 value is -.80:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed February 22, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on February 22, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through February 16, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The February 16 value is -.57:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed February 22, 2018:

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 site 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 2717.66 as this post is written

Money Supply Charts Through January 2018

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 February 16, 2018 depicting data through January 2018, with a value of $15,256.9 Billion:

MZMSL chart

Here is the “MZM Money Stock” chart on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, with a current value of 4.3%:

MZMSL Percent Change From Year Ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed February 22, 2018:

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 February 15, 2018, depicting data through January 2018, with a value of $13,838.3 Billion:

M2SL chart

Here is the “M2 Money Stock” chart on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, with a current value of 4.2%:

M2SL Percent Change From Year Ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed February 22, 2018:

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

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2701.33 as this post is written

Zillow Q1 2018 Home Price Expectations Survey – Summary & Comments

On February 20, 2018, the Zillow Q1 2018 Home Price Expectations Survey results were released.  This survey is done on a quarterly basis.

An excerpt from the press release:

The quarterly survey, sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLC, asked more than 100 housing experts and economists about their expectations for home price growth, and whether tax reform affected these predictions.

When asked how the new tax law impacted their five-year forecast for home values in the U.S., 41 percent of respondents said their overall housing outlook is now more pessimistic, while 31 percent of the panelists had a more optimistic view as a result of the tax reform. The remaining 28 percent of respondents said that tax reform did not change their outlook.

Various Q1 2018 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey charts are available, including that seen below:

Zillow U.S. Home Price Expectations

As one can see from the above chart, the average expectation is that the residential real estate market, as depicted by the U.S. Zillow Home Value Index, will continually climb.

The detail of the Q1 2018 Home Price Expectations Survey (pdf) is interesting.  Of the 105 survey respondents, only three (of the displayed responses) forecasts a cumulative price decrease through 2022, and none of those forecasts is for a double-digit percentage decline.   The largest decline is seen as a 4.5% cumulative price decrease through 2022.

The Median Cumulative Home Price Appreciation for years 2018-2022 is seen as 5.00%, 9.10%, 12.49%, 15.85%, and 19.33%, respectively.

For a variety of reasons, I continue to believe that even the most “bearish” of these forecasts (as seen in the above-referenced forecast) will prove far too optimistic in hindsight.  From a longer-term historical perspective, such a decline is very mild in light of the wild excesses that occurred over the “bubble” years.

I have written extensively about the residential real estate situation.  For a variety of reasons, it is exceedingly complex.  While many people continue to have an optimistic view regarding future residential real estate prices, in my opinion such a view is unsupported on an “all things considered” basis.  Furthermore, from these price levels there exists outsized potential for a price decline of severe magnitude, unfortunately.  I discussed this downside, based upon historical price activity, in the October 24, 2010 post titled “What’s Ahead For The Housing Market – A Look At The Charts.”

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2701.33 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 February 16, 2018:

from page 24:

(click on charts to enlarge images)

S&P500 EPS forecasts

from page 25:

S&P500 EPS

_____

I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site 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 2716.26 as this post is written

S&P500 “Bottom Up” EPS Forecasts Years 2017, 2018 And 2019

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 23 of the “S&P500 Earnings Scorecard” (pdf) of February 20, 2018, and represent an aggregation of individual S&P500 component “bottom up” analyst forecasts.  For reference, the Year 2014 value is $118.78/share, the Year 2015 value is $117.46, and the Year 2016 value is $118.10/share:

Year 2017 estimate:

$132.55/share

Year 2018 estimate:

$157.67/share

Year 2019 estimate:

$173.52/share

_____

I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site 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 2716.26 as this post is written