Today's Economic Data Highlights

Lot’s going on today—retail sales, Empire index, import/export prices, TICS, housing market index, business inventories, two rounds of budget testimony, and the usual weakly consumer confidence…At 11am a $5 – $7 billion POMO in 02/28/2015 – 08/15/2016 closes. Look for CUSIP 912828PS3 to be monetize like hotcakes.
8:30: Retail sales for Jan…another sturdy gain?  This report is apt to show large increases in both the headline and ex auto components, with higher gasoline prices a significant contributing factor.  The core component (ex autos, gasoline, and building materials) should nonetheless show a sturdy gain, probably on the order of about ½%.
On total sales, median forecast (of 79): +0.5%, ranging from -0.5% to +1.1%; last: +0.6%;
On sales ex autos, median forecast (of 68): +0.6%, ranging from -1.0% to +1.2%; last +0.5%.
8:30: Empire Index for Feb…ongoing growth?  This index posted another firm, if unspectacular, gain in January, confirming that the sharp drop reported for November was a fluke.  Analysts expect a modest acceleration in February.
Median forecast (of 56): +15, ranging from +11 to +21; last +11.92.  
8:30: Import/export price indexes for Jan….another large, energy-driven increase?  The median forecast shows another substantial gain for January, most likely reflecting the upward pressure on crude oil prices.  However, prices of imports other than petroleum accelerated in the fourth quarter after a hiatus in the third.  Chances are this continued into January.
Median forecast (of 53): +0.8%, ranging from +0.2% to +1.5%; last +1.1%.
9:00: TICS net inflows for Dec…
Median forecast (of 5): +$40bn, ranging from +$10bn to +$66bn; last +$85.1bn.
10:00: Housing market index for Feb
….still at a very low level?  This index continues to hang in the mid teens, where it has been for most of the past three years.  Nobody expects much of a change this month.
Median forecast (of 47): 16, ranging from 15 to 18; last 16.
10:00: Business inventories for Dec…did retail remain flat?  The median forecast of a 0.7% increase implies no change in retail inventories given what has already been reported for manufacturing (+1.1%) and wholesale (+1.0%).
Median forecast (of 51): +0.7%, ranging from +0.2% to +1.0%; last +0.2%.
13:00: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies on the administration’s FY 2012 budget…before the House Ways and Means Committee.
14:00: OMB Director Jacob Lew testifies on the administration’s FY 2012 budget…before the Senate Budget Committee.
17:00: ABC consumer comfort index…can’t seem to hold those gains.  This index fell back to -46 in the first week of February from a comparatively high -41 in the last week of January.  Its nearly 3-year range is -54 to -40.

using GS data


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