Initial Claims In Line With Consensus, Durable Goods Plunge

Tyler Durden's picture

Not much surprise in initial claims, which came at 382K on expectations of 383K, following the traditional upward revision in the previous number from 385K to 387K. Continuing claims came at 3,721K, higher than expectations of 3,700K, and another previous revision from 3,706K to 3,723K. But the biggest shocker was in Durable Goods, which plunged from a revised 3.6% in January to -0.9% in February, on expectations of 1.2%, as a result of a plunge in machinery shipments and new orders. Durables ex transportation dropped -0.6% on a 2.0% increase expectation. Lastly Nondefense Capital Goods orders ex aircraft was down -1.3% on expectations of  4.3% increase. The stagflation is ramping up.

From the release: "New orders for manufactured durable goods in February decreased $1.9 billion or 0.9 percent to $200.0 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down four of the last five months, followed a 3.6 percent January increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.6 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.4 percent. Machinery, down two consecutive months, had the largest decrease, $1.2 billion or 4.2 percent to $26.6 billion." And the traditional economic activity filler, inventories, was up for the 15th consecutive month: "Inventories of manufactured durable goods in February, up fourteen consecutive months, increased $2.9 billion or 0.9 percent to $328.3 billion. This followed a 0.9 percent January increase."

Crude not liking the slow down in the economy:

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Racer's picture

UK retail sales figs not hot either..

John Law Lives's picture

Must be that darn snow.  It can't be a real reflection of the US economy...

Careless Whisper's picture

that's because we need more laws to create profit. like in florida. the governor wants ALL government employess to be drug tested quarterly. his wife owns a company that does the drug testing (solantic). brilliant.




LawsofPhysics's picture

More "make-work" bullshit by the elite to enrich themselves, brilliant.

snowball777's picture

Sounds like Rick "Healthcare Monopolist" Scott deserves a protest; I suggest everyone get together and take a leak, if not dump, on the Florida capitol building.


pazmaker's picture

Careless whisper your name is befitting...  You should read the articles you are going to post.   The Governer does not want to test ALL state employees quarterly.  He wants to do random drug test quarterly.  Which will have the potential for any state employee to be tested at least quarterly.  Now before you junk me I am not saying I agree with this new proposed policy, but that there is a stark difference between testing ALL state employees quarterly and having randoms quarterly, which many corporations do as well.

Commander Cody's picture

OK, because I remain confused about signals in the economy, is this bullish or not?

Ray1968's picture

Let's all repeat: Its all about the POMO.


Nothing else matters. Should QE stop, so will the bull market. The answers are amazingly simple.

Harlequin001's picture

Incredibly bullish...

buy more gold...

TexDenim's picture

Not bullish, because it increases the likelihood of the Fed stopping its spending binge. Less free money = lower equity prices.

Harlequin001's picture

TexDenim, nothings 'not bullish' anymore, not even a scale 9 earthquake, a 30 foot tsunami and a full on nuclear meltdown...

Of course, bullish depends on what you buy...

There is zero possibility of the Fed ending its spending binge and even if they did, no body else would...

Stand by for skyrockets...

Buy gold.

smithcreek's picture

Did the world suddenly stop spinning and fling us all in to outerspace?  No?  Then BULLISH!  Of course, it it did, there would be an increase in GDP when we need to rebuild, so BULLISH!

willien1derland's picture

CC - It shows the area of the economy which contributed the most to GDP growth is slowing down - technically, under 'normal' economic condition this would be a bearish sign as it shows the mfg sector of the U.S. economy contracting (new orders is a key element of review), however, in light of the current environment this is a data point that the Federal Reserve can use to promote another iteration of Quantitative Easing (Fiat creation, money printing) - Hope that helps

Note on Durable Goods - New orders for durable manufactured goods fell 0.9% in February, going against expectations for a modest increase. Excluding transportation, new orders declined 0.6%. Shipments rose 0.3%, and inventories were up 0.9%. The details of the report were mixed; core capital orders fell 1.3%, while shipments rose 0.8%.

cossack55's picture

I insist on buying everything second hand. Cheaper and shuts up LIESman.

The Axe's picture

fucking snow    buy cat,ir,de  etc....etc...

Harlequin001's picture

Yep, nothin' to do with the implosion of credit...

Damned snow...

AccreditedEYE's picture

Here comes the "this is a reason to keep Fed policy accommodative" BS. When ag and fuel goes up another 50-100%, we'll see how well that line works out for them.

NumberNone's picture

Bullish.  Jobless claims down.  There is some other aspect to this report but I'm not allowed to focus on it.  Market up 150 on great jobless claim news.

John Law Lives's picture

Lowest monthly total for new home sales on record (February data) = check

Sharply contracting durable goods orders = check

Oil (WTI) over $106 = check

Positive futures = check

Everything is normal here.  Nothing matters other than more currency being printed.

billwilson's picture

Don't worry, there will be a jump next month with all the orders for replacement Tomahawk missles.

Harlequin001's picture

Yes, and keep an eye out for increased exports of lead wellies...

mmlevine's picture

You can count me as a +1 to initial unemployment claims - lost my job last week.  Not a small job either.  CFO of a business that's been around 40 years.  Tried the best we could to keep it afloat but in the end, margin pressure was too much.  Doors are closed.  Another one bites the dust.

duo's picture

sad to hear.  what kind of business?

mmlevine's picture

Sold OEM products sourced from Asia into the US retail distribution channel.  Most of the stuff ended up with the big box retailer.  Example:  Pencil sharpener sourced for a brand name that sold to Office Depot.

I have to say I'm not surprised - it was coming for a while.  We've been getting killed by the Chinese on price for over a year and we couldn't pass the increase along to our customers - they simply refuse the price increase.  Terrible business model and I'm sure we will see a lot more "margin compression" in the very near future.  We hung in for as long as we could until our fixed costs exceeded gross profits - poof!

It is sad and there will be more companies like ours to go.  The USA gave away the manufacturing base to Asia.  We can't even make an electric pencil sharpener in the US so now we are at their mercy.

I'll bounce back. 


John Law Lives's picture

You said that you sold OEM products made in Asia.  Why would Chinese-made products be eroding the profit margin on your OEM goods?  Where in Asia were your OEM goods made? If the Chinese are now selling those same goods directly in the channels that you use, that would make sense that your margins are getting crushed.

I know companies with models akin to what you described.  They would take a product specification (e.g. consumer electronics) and shop around it in China until they found a supplier.  That supplier would manufacture the products and place the brand name of the US company on the product and the packaging.  The US company would import the goods and sell them out to retailers (e.g. RadioShack) and distributors (e.g. Graybar) etc.  The big risk to those US companies would be if the Chinese decided to manufacture and sell the exact same widgets under their own brand directly to those same retailers and distributors.  Is that what happened to you?

mmlevine's picture

The model you described is the exact business model we operated under.

The vast majority of products were from Chinese suppliers (factories).  What happened over the last few years was that these factories would increase the price of a product, and basically told us "take it or leave it".  They wouldn't budge on price where in the past we had some negotiating ability.  For the last year or so, no dice.  Don't like the price, don't buy from us.

Since we were esentially a middle man, we had no choice but to accept the price increase.  However, we we did not have the ability to pass the price increase to distribution channel.  They would not accept a price increase and for a product that we made 7% GPM, we now made 4% GPM.  There's the margin compression and why are margins got "crushed".

Many companies like ours have been holding back increasing prices USA customers - 4% GPM is better than no GPM.  And yes, China does complete directly with this business model through websites like Alibaba and Global Sources.  In effect, they do manufacture the same widget and have the ability to sell direct to the USA to the same retailers and distributors.  I did not find this as prevalent as the price increases.  Most USA retailers and distributors still want to deal with a USA office rather than go direct (time zone, language problems etc).

Anecdotally, I heard that the factory owners were too busy speculating in real estate and stocks to concentrate on their core business of making product.  I chuckled as we all know how that story ends up!

John Law Lives's picture


Thank you for your reply and for sharing your experience.  I hope you find another good job out there.

I wonder when the day will come that China will heavily market its own brands direct to US retailers and distributors without using middle men like you described.  It may take more "getting used to" by the US consumer, but I figure the day will come when we will see retail stores filled with more and more Chinese-made products labeled under their own brand names.


pazmaker's picture

mmlevine,  you said you closed the doors, just curious how many others lost jobs as well?

LawsofPhysics's picture

"margin pressure was too much"


Understatement of the century.  I have been doing my best to keep all the staff I can.  I cut my own salary to keep some people on in hopes of securing some more customers that require their expertise.  I'll know whether or not it works in June, then we will be good for a while longer, or the ax will fall.

I said it before, and I will say it again.  The financial sector of our economy remains a cancer that the broader sectors of the economy (which actually make things of REAL value - not mark to fantasy "value") can no longer sustain.  We all know where this is headed.  Just hedge accordingly.  In your case, take your severance and buy PMs and oil.

Harlequin001's picture

Now that is good advice.

the policies are not in place that could lead to a recovery...

and the economy is not in a condition from which it could easily recover...

mmlevine, you have my sympathies old stick.

Good luck with your new venture.

John Law Lives's picture

Sorry to hear that.  Hope you got a decent severance package.

mmlevine's picture

You want to hear irony?  I had an employment agreement for 6 months severance in case of termination or bankruptcy.  So the company fails but now I have to fight for my severance because the company claims "no money to pay me".

The company still has some money around but I need to engage counsel to go after it.  Remember, never screw with the accountant - they always know where the money is!

John Law Lives's picture

Good luck.  Yes, I know what you mean re. accountants...

willien1derland's picture

Very sorry to hear that mmlevine - that must be very difficult to endure as I am certain you worked very diligently doing all you could to keep operations afloat - four (4) months after the Sept 2008 financial crash the very large construction equipment mfg that I worked for had a handful of orders where we would normally have had thousands - it was a VERY difficult time & many people made incredible sacrifices to keep the ship moving - I can only imagine what you have been through - My sincere condolences & I will keep you in my prayers -  

mmlevine's picture

I appreciate yours and everyone else who sent good luck and well wishes.  We will be fine and I always have my Zero Hedge family - where I come for my daily dose of sanity in a very insane world.

And to the person who "junked" my original message - fuck you. I hope it was a mistake.

John Law Lives's picture

Anyone who junked you on this thread is an a-hole.  I defended muni bonds on this site and got junked to death by the anarchists.  BTW, Texas General Obligation bonds are selling like hotcakes.  Many people consider them more secure that US Treasuries.

Yes, it is an insane world.  Very scary that people like The Ben Bernank perform the way they do without any apparent restraint.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

mmlevine, that is tough. Good luck in finding a new occupation. I wonder who is the little bitch that junked you? Some of these junks on ZH lately are pointless. Whoever that little bitch is, here is your chance to junk me.

SheepDog-One's picture

Bullish, bearish, whats that matter? We're in a RECOVERY, dammit!

Misean's picture

We don't need no stinking orders! Gives us more time to front run the Feral on stock purchases. +200 point ramp!

Rockfish's picture

With average income in this country at 48k and after paying for housing, fuel, food, and phone and cable there is just isn't that much left to buy any more shit. Go figure.  Raw spinach,  11.48 per lb - Hot Pockets 1.29 - health care cost priceless

thepigman's picture

okay, I'm starting to short this

scam again.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Careful, take your cues from the primary dealers and the Fed.  I have been shorting most mornings at "safe" levels with a PM hedge, but if the manipulators want to, they can blow out all the shorts again very easily.

thepigman's picture

Gotta get some toes in. The bernank

has done nothing but manipulate

prices. This is a joke.

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

they might drop a money printing machine on your head.

thepigman's picture

Naw, this sucker was rolling
over before the earthquake. The hedge
funds are backing away.