Author Archives: Ted Kavadas

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 April 13, 2018:

from page 24:

(click on charts to enlarge images)

S&P500 earnings estimates trends

from page 25:

S&P500 earnings

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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 2693.13 as this post is written

S&P500 “Bottom Up” EPS Forecasts Years 2018, 2019, And 2020

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 April 19, 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, the Year 2016 value is $118.10/share, and the Year 2017 value is $132.00/share:

Year 2018 estimate:

$158.18/share

Year 2019 estimate:

$174.04/share

Year 2020 estimate:

$190.66/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 2693.13 as this post is written

Standard & Poor’s S&P500 EPS Estimates 2018 2019 – April 11, 2018

As many are aware, Standard & Poor’s publishes earnings estimates for the S&P500.  (My posts concerning their estimates can be found under the S&P500 Earnings tag)

For reference purposes, the most current estimates are reflected below, and are as April 11, 2018:

Year 2018 estimates add to the following:

-From a “bottom up” perspective, operating earnings of $155.88/share

-From a “top down” perspective, operating earnings of N/A

-From a “bottom up” perspective, “as reported” earnings of $153.90/share

Year 2019 estimates add to the following:

-From a “bottom up” perspective, operating earnings of $172.06/share

-From a “top down” perspective, operating earnings of N/A

-From a “bottom up” perspective, “as reported” earnings of $168.64

_____

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 2708.64 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 April 12, 2018 update (reflecting data through April 6, 2018) is -.896.

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 April 18, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through April 13, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The April 13, 2018 value is -.75:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed April 18, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on April 18, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through April 13, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The April 13 value is -.47:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed April 18, 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 2717.03 as this post is written

April 2018 IMF Report – Probabilities Of Recession And Deflation

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently published the April 2018 “World Economic Outlook.”  The subtitle is ”Cyclical Upswing, Structural Change.”

One area of the report is Figure 1.22 on page 24.  While I do not agree with the current readings of the two measures presented – Probability of Recession and the Probability of Deflation – I do find them to be notable, especially as one can compare these estimates across various global economies.

As one can see, the report states that the U.S. is estimated to have a roughly 18% probability of recession and roughly a 2% probability of deflation for the periods indicated.

_________

I post various economic 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 2706.39 this post is written

Charts Indicating Economic Weakness – April 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Throughout this site there are many discussions of economic indicators.  At this time, the readings of various indicators are especially notable.  This post is the latest in a series of posts indicating U.S. economic weakness or a notably low growth rate.

While many U.S. economic indicators – including GDP – are indicating economic growth, others depict (or imply) various degrees of weak growth or economic contraction.  As seen in the April 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey the consensus among various economists is for 2.8% GDP growth in 2018.  However,  there are other broad-based economic indicators that seem to imply a weaker growth rate.  There has been a significant lowering of estimates for 1st Quarter GDP growth as seen in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDP Now (April 16, 2018 estimate of 1.9%) releases.

As well, it should be remembered that GDP figures can be (substantially) revised.

Charts Indicating U.S. Economic Weakness

Below are a small sampling of charts that depict weak growth or contraction, and a brief comment for each:

Rail Freight Carloads

“Rail Freight Carloads” continues to show a downward progression.  Shown below is a chart with data through January (last value of 1,104,080, updated March 21, 2018):

Rail Freight Carloads chart

source:  U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Rail Freight Carloads [RAILFRTCARLOADSD11], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis;  accessed April 11, 2017:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RAILFRTCARLOADSD11

Here is the same measure on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, with value -2.8%:

Rail Freight Carloads Percent Change From Year Ago

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Auto Sales

Auto sales have experienced significant growth over the post-2009 period. The current reading (through February, updated on March 29) is 16.962 million vehicles:

Light vehicle sales

source:  U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Light Weight Vehicle Sales: Autos and Light Trucks [ALTSALES], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed April 11, 2018:

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

Here is the same measure on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis, with value -2.1%:

ALTSALES Percent Change From Year Ago

I believe that many factors indicate that auto sales have peaked.  While this peaking will have vast economic implications, there are many other factors concerning auto sales that are worrisome.  While an exhaustive discussion of the topic would be exceedingly lengthy, various notable factors include the degree to which (ultra-) cheap financing and relaxed financing terms are aiding sales, as well as various aspects of pricing and discounting.

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Total Federal Receipts

“Total Federal Receipts” growth continues to be intermittent in nature since 2015.  As well, the level of growth does not seem congruent to the (recent) levels of economic growth as seen in aggregate measures such as Real GDP.

“Total Federal Receipts” through March had a last value of $210,832 Million.  Shown below is  displayed on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis with value -2.7%, last updated April 12, 2018:

Total Federal Receipts Percent Change From Year Ago

source:  U.S. Department of the Treasury. Fiscal Service, Total Federal Receipts [MTSR133FMS], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed April 12, 2018:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MTSR133FMS

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Commercial And Industrial Loans, All Commercial Banks

“Commercial And Industrial Loans, All Commercial Banks”  through March had a last value of $2138.4559 Billion.  The growth in such loans continues to decline.  Shown below is the measure displayed on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis with value 2.6%, last updated April 13, 2018:

Commercial and Industrial Loans, All Commercial Banks Percent Change From Year Ago

source:  Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Commercial and Industrial Loans, All Commercial Banks [BUSLOANS], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis April 16, 2018:

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

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Inflation Trends

Although there has been widespread recent concern about impending inflation, as well as indications of higher inflation in some price measures, I continue to believe that deflation (as defined by when the CPI goes below zero) will occur.

Current inflation levels and the possibility of deflation is a vastly complex topic, and as such isn’t suitably discussed in a brief manner.  I have discussed the issue of deflation extensively as it will have critical and wide-ranging economic implications.  As I have stated in past commentaries, my analyses indicate that surveys or “market-based” measures concerning deflation will not provide adequate “advance warning” of this deflation.

For reference, here is the “Core PCE” measure as of the March 29, 2018 update, showing data through February, with a current reading on a “Percent Change From Year Ago” basis of 1.6%:

Personal Consumption Expenditures Excluding Food and Energy (Chain-Type Price Index) YoY

source:  U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Personal Consumption Expenditures Excluding Food and Energy (Chain-Type Price Index) [PCEPILFE], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed April 12, 2018:

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

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Other Indicators

As mentioned previously, many other indicators discussed on this site indicate economic weakness or economic contraction, if not outright (gravely) problematical economic conditions.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2677.84 as this post is written

Disturbing Charts (Update 30)

I find the following charts to be disturbing.   These charts would be disturbing at any point in the economic cycle; that they (on average) depict such a tenuous situation now – 106 months after the official (as per the September 20, 2010 NBER BCDC announcement) June 2009 end of the recession – is especially notable.

These charts raise a lot of questions.  As well, they highlight the “atypical” nature of our economic situation from a long-term historical perspective.

All of these charts are from the Federal Reserve, and represent the most recently updated data.

(click on charts to enlarge images)

Housing starts (last updated March 16, 2018):

Housing Starts

US. Bureau of the Census, Housing Starts: Total: New Privately Owned Housing Units Started [HOUST], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/HOUST/, April 13, 2018.

The Federal Deficit (last updated March 27, 2018):

U.S. Federal Deficit

US. Office of Management and Budget, Federal Surplus or Deficit [-] [FYFSD], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FYFSD/, April 13, 2018.

Federal Net Outlays (last updated March 27, 2018):

Federal Net Outlays

US. Office of Management and Budget, Federal Net Outlays [FYONET], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FYONET/, April 13, 2018.

State & Local Personal Income Tax Receipts (% Change from Year Ago)(last updated March 28, 2018):

ASLPITAX

US. Bureau of Economic Analysis, State and local government current tax receipts: Personal current taxes: Income taxes [ASLPITAX], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ASLPITAX/, April 13, 2018.

Total Loans and Leases of Commercial Banks (% Change from Year Ago)(last updated April 6, 2018):

Total Loans And Leases

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Loans and Leases in Bank Credit, All Commercial Banks [TOTLL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/TOTLL/, April 13, 2018.

Bank Credit – All Commercial Banks (% Change from Year Ago)(last updated April 6, 2018):

Total Bank Credit Percent Change From Year Ago

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Bank Credit of All Commercial Banks [TOTBKCR], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/TOTBKCR/, April 13, 2018.

M1 Money Multiplier (last updated April 5, 2018):

M1 Money Multiplier

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, M1 Money Multiplier [MULT], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MULT/, April 13, 2018.

Median Duration of Unemployment (last updated April 6, 2018):

Median Duration of Unemployment

US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Median Duration of Unemployment [UEMPMED], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/UEMPMED/, April 13, 2018.

Labor Force Participation Rate (last updated April 6, 2018):

Labor Force Participation Rate

US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate [CIVPART], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CIVPART/, April 13, 2018.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) 3-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3)(last updated March 26, 2018):

CFNAIMA3

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index: Three Month Moving Average [CFNAIMA3], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CFNAIMA3/, April 13, 2018.

I will continue to update these charts on an intermittent basis as they deserve close monitoring…

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2656.30 as this post is written

Long-Term Charts Of The ECRI WLI & ECRI WLI, Gr. – April 13, 2018 Update

As I stated in my July 12, 2010 post (“ECRI WLI Growth History“):

For a variety of reasons, I am not as enamored with ECRI’s WLI and WLI Growth measures as many are.

However, I do think the measures are important and deserve close monitoring and scrutiny.

Below are three long-term charts, from Doug Short’s ECRI update post of April 13, 2018 titled “ECRI Weekly Leading Index.”  These charts are on a weekly basis through the April 13, 2018 release, indicating data through April 6, 2018.

Here is the ECRI WLI (defined at ECRI’s glossary):

ECRI WLI

This next chart depicts, on a long-term basis, the Year-over-Year change in the 4-week moving average of the WLI:

This last chart depicts, on a long-term basis, the WLI, Gr.:

ECRI WLI,Gr.

_________

I post various economic 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 2662.92 as this post is written

The April 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey

The April 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey was published on April 12, 2018.  The headline is “Powerful Forces Seen Restraining U.S. Pay Growth.”

I found numerous items to be notable – although I don’t necessarily agree with them – both within the article and in the “Economist Q&A” section.

An excerpt:

A majority of the 60 economists surveyed this month by the Journal said three factors are meaningfully holding down readings on wage growth: low productivity growth, demographic changes, and foreign competition and globalization. Other possible explanations, such as hidden slack in the labor market or government regulation, were cited by fewer than half of forecasters.

As seen in the “Recession Probability” section, the average response as to the odds of another recession starting within the next 12 months was 15.33%. The individual estimates, of those who responded, ranged from 0% to 35%.  For reference, the average response in March’s survey was 13.66%.

As stated in the article, the survey’s respondents were 60 academic, financial and business economists.  Not every economist answered every question.  The survey was conducted April 6 – April 10, 2018.

The current average forecasts among economists polled include the following:

GDP:

full-year 2018:  2.8%

full-year 2019:  2.5%

full-year 2020:  2.0%

Unemployment Rate:

December 2018: 3.8%

December 2019: 3.6%

December 2020: 3.9%

10-Year Treasury Yield:

December 2018: 3.18%

December 2019: 3.49%

December 2020: 3.62%

CPI:

December 2018:  2.3%

December 2019:  2.3%

December 2020:  2.3%

Crude Oil  ($ per bbl):

for 12/31/2018: $62.06

for 12/31/2019: $61.20

for 12/31/2020: $61.54

(note: I highlight this WSJ Economic Forecast survey each month; commentary on past surveys can be found under the “Economic Forecasts” category)

_____

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 necessarily 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 2663.99 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 April 5, 2018 update (reflecting data through March 30, 2018) is -.919.

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 April 11, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through April 6, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The April 6, 2018 value is -.73:

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed April 11, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on April 11, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through April 6, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The April 6 value is -.47:

Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed April 11, 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 2653.73 as this post is written