Today's Economic Data Highlights
Small business sentiment and more from the Fed….
7:30: NFIB small business optimism index for Sep…back up? This index rose modestly in August and economists expect it to edge up further in September. But unless the index surprises substantially to the high side, it will remain depressed relative to other indicators of business activity. Companies have been saying that their number one problem is weakness in sales.
Median forecast (of 4): 89.6, ranging from 87.5 to 90; last 88.8. Update: Print misses expectations at 89.0
11:45: Kansas City Federal Reserve President Thomas Hoenig speaks at the NABE conference in Denver….The topic is “The Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy: Challenges Ahead.” Mr. Hoenig has dissented throughout the year and will undoubtedly offer a different view from the one expressed by Messrs. Dudley and Evans a couple weeks ago.
14:00: Minutes to the Sep 21 FOMC meeting…how much more concerned did they become? The statement following the meeting was remarkable for statements to the effect that inflation is too low relative to the FOMC’s mandate and that the committee was prepared to act to push both the unemployment rate and the inflation rate back towards levels that they deem consistent with their legal mandates. This encouraged market participants to build in more expectations of another round of quantitative easing, expectations that got a further boost when William Dudley, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, spoke on October 1. Against this backdrop, we will be looking to the minutes to answer three questions. First, what was the logic behind highlighting the low level of inflation? In particular, did committee members see it as a backdoor way to strengthen the rate commitment language? Second, how wide was the range of opinions on the wisdom of proceeding with QE2 and on what conditions did they think more asset purchases should be made—a further worsening in the outlook or was merely more of the same enough? Third, how significantly did the forecasts change? Near-term growth and inflation forecasts were almost surely marked down, but what about longer-term views?
17:00: ABC consumer comfort index…It remains mired in deep territory, down 2 points in the most recent week, to -47.
From Goldman Sachs