Today's Economic Data Highlights
The pace picks up a bit today, with readings on home prices, consumer confidence, business in the Richmond Federal Reserve District, and a couple of Fed speeches…
9:00: S&P/Case-Shiller Home price index for July…turning down? This index rose almost 1.5% between March and June, thanks largely to the flurry of activity to get in under the deadline for the homebuyer tax credit. The index should start to turn back down now that the credit has expired. Other indexes already show renewed signs of weakening, but the Case-Shiller index lags because it is based on 3-month moving average of prices.
Median forecast (of 15): -0.1%, ranging from -0.8% to +0.3%; last +0.28%.
10:00: Conference Board confidence index for Sep…a setback? The Reuters/Michigan index gave ground in early September, falling about 2 points from its August reading, and most economists expect a similar result in the Conference Board index. As usual, we will look also at the gap between those saying jobs are plentiful and those saying they are hard to get. In August it widened to -41.9 from -40.7 in July. The cycle low was -46.1 in November, 2009.
GS: 51.5; median forecast (of 75): 52.1, ranging from 48 to 55; last 53.5.
10:00: Richmond Fed manufacturing index for July…will weaken further? This index has held up better than many of its counterparts, though it has dropped from a reading of +30 in April to +11 in August. Unlike other Fed business indexes, this one is a composite of indexes of new orders, shipments, and employment. Over the past four months, the new orders index has fallen from +41 to +10; the shipments index—like the composite—from +30 to +11; and the index of employment from +13 to +12. Given all the signs of moderation in this sector, most economists expect more convergence toward the zero line that indicates no change in sector activity.
Median forecast (of 6): +6, ranging from 0 to +10; last +11.
16:30: Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh speaks on the role of the capital markets in job creation…on a NYSE panel at Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
17:00: ABC consumer comfort index…Although we noted two weeks ago that the range for this index has a very slight upward tilt, it has nonetheless been much weaker than the major monthly surveys. Last week it lost 3 points to -46.
17:30: Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart speaks on the economy….at Sewanee University, in Tennessee. Mr. Lockhart’s next turn as a voting member of the FOMC comes in 2012.
From Goldman's McKevley