Busy agenda today: Fed-influencing data in the form of retail sales. A president shuttle ride? And we have an odd feeling about a lower-latitude tropical depression. In short? Another Tuesday in a string 000of 3,900, or so, such days in life.
Retail: Details and Entrails
The details just out from Census:
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September 2023, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $704.9 billion, up 0.7 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, and up 3.8 percent (±0.7 percent) above September 2022. Total sales for the July 2023 through September 2023 period were up 3.1 percent (±0.4 percent) from the same period a year ago. The July 2023 to August 2023 percent change was revised from up 0.6 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.8 percent (±0.1 percent).
Market “went soft” on this report because it’s too hot. Compounded, this is like an 8.7 percent annual rate and that will drive the Fed to hike at month-end.
Our usual bitch is that Dollarized retail sales figures are “fair to partly bullshit.” Because (select all you care to:)
- ___We print up dollars without regard to specific exchange rates. Print-on-demand is the American way.
- ___Technology drives down the price of everything over time.
- ___Styles change. (And the Joneses seem to move around while you’re trying to keep up with them).
- ___Government edicts manipulate whole industries. Like what’s going on with the frontal attack on natural gas fired heating and appliances, for example.
Ceteris paribus is the Latin term in econ theory. Like saying “Everything else equal…” Which isn’t so apparent in the month-on-month comparisons. But year-on-year, this stuff begins to make a difference.
Now (hand me the Bowie knife, would you?) we need to scry the entrails a bit to see how this will influence the Fed meeting at month end. [A few moments of frankly gross poking and prodding of a bloody piles of yuck follows.]
Aha! The answer is unknowable. (We sacrifice more small animals around here…getting ready for Halloween.) The fact is that the Fed is going to do what it will. Still, that doesn’t stop a myriad of publicity-starved corporate shills and climbers from making unsupportable conclusions. But that keeps the financial channels on and the ad money coming in.
All we can say in terms of a bottom line is what? Retail is only a crude approximation of people’s consumptive habits. But the market will use any data as an excuse in a pinch.
45-minutes after the open today, the Fed will release industrial production and capacity utilization which are more stable. However, with nothing left to sacrifice on the altar of economics, we will leave that scrying job up to you.
I will save the discussion of our new lines on the Aggregate Index chart for Peoplenomics subscribers tomorrow. But here’s how it looked ahead of the Retail data:
Early today, our Aggregate Index on the futures was priced at 36,877.97. We notice that options Friday last month was 37,917.80. Down 2.7 percent, or thereabouts. We still see more down potential than up.
Some of which could be resolved with pending wars…
Joe to Go?
Joe Biden is on the move. (Check for trip obstacles!) Israel first, but then we’re going to see Air Force One doing a whole circuit in the Middle East: Biden To Meet Abbas, Egypt’s Sisi And Jordan King In Amman: W. House.
The trip may be too late. Because those peace-loving Iranians are making threats: Iran Warns Of ‘Pre-emptive Action’ Against Israel.
We figure as soon as U.S. forces begin air strikes on Hezbollah, this is the “last freeway exit” before you’re on the tollway to World War 3. (*You only get to guess at what the toll will be…)
Mega Gaffe Watch
We anticipate a new word in advance of the president’s trip. “Tripstacles.”
Mental acuity notwithstanding, my consigliere and I agreed that while Biden likely doesn’t want a wider M.E. war, his handlers are strongly in the neocon camp. Our fear, if Biden doesn’t deliver war, the handlers will “Article 25” him. Such a (purely hypothetical) move would put a more hawkish (or at least more obedient) Kamala Harris in the Oval.
God, what a future, huh? Keep your eyes out for a mega-gaffe on the trip, though. It wouldn’t take much – yammering and confusion would be all it would take. “Can’t have a house plant with the nuclear football, now, can we?”
Speaking of Nuclear and such: Russian parliament moves to rescind ratification of global nuclear test ban. Planning a test over (claimed) Russian territories. Installing a NATO blocking hot zone, perhaps?
Russia is getting seriously wrapped into upcoming M.E. events as the question is raised: Did Moscow organize the attack on Israel? – “Bomb” by the Israeli National Security Institute: “Russia is an enemy country – Supports Hamas”.
Wait, with all the Hamas supporters in California, does that make the U.S. democrat party liberals an enemy, as well?
(The mind reels. I need to lay down for a minute.)
Politics Rambles On
On the home front, scapegoats must be found: U.S. lawmaker seeks answers from Meta, X, Google, TikTok over Israel-Hamas false content. We notice a democrat is mouthing this, so is this a pivot from Hamas to blaming (democrat controlled) social media? (I need to lay down, again…)
Meanwhile, speaking of lawmakers, Republican Jim Jordan makes grab for US House speaker’s gavel. We notice in the quoted Reuters story, he’s referred to as a “hardliner.” Apparently, reporters applying that label don’t get out much. Jordan is hardly a hardliner. But when the Left sets out to bash, there’s no stopping ’em: Jim Jordan Is the Nihilist That House Republicans Deserve | The New Republic. Doesn’t seem like “news reporting” to claim someone is (dictionary please?) “a person who believes that life is meaningless and rejects all religious and moral principles.” The Left doesn’t think the Right owns dictionaries? What kind of slackthink is this?
On another democrat front to notice, as well: House Democratic Lawmaker Floats George W. Bush For Speaker Position.
Trump bash du jour for you – speaking of politics, as we were: Trump sues over dossier alleging Russian bribes. We figure the “fix is in” and yep, Trump will never be made whole. The legal systems here and abroad have changed. Used to be they dealt in facts and redress of great wrongs. Nowadays it’s about sweeping the shit under carpets.
Tearing Down the Wires
Pure and simple: Here’s why the West is losing ground in the world: Reps from 130 countries descend on Beijing for Belt and Road forum. Interestingly, the same source tells us Blinken pushes for $2 billion for US rival to China’s Belt-and-Road.
Blinken-thinken is symptomatic of what’s wrong in American policy development these days. He pulls a figure, near as we can tell, more or less out of the air. One of the joys of 50-year ago life was that when a politician wanted something, it was based on a plan. A concept, a goal. Fleshed out, detailed, time lined, metrics discussed and measures of success.
THEN – and only then – with not just a good idea but an actual plan to a successful outcome – does the COST get worked up. What is the cost of actually getting something done.
Not these days, no sir. It has all become “Gimme a shitload of money and I’ll give you XY and Z.” No plan? No metrics? “We will do it on the fly, just gimme the money!”
I’m not hearing enough “plan” out of D.C. More like a stick-up gang.
Surprised we are collectively (as a country) getting our ass flanked six ways to Sunday? My golly…
We have a new tropical depression in the process of getting worked up. More southerly track than most this year…and this causes some concern.
NOAA’s current thinking on this? * Formation chance through 48 hours…medium…60 percent. * Formation chance through 7 days…high…80 percent. Just something about this one bothers me.
Write when you get rich,