Atlanta Fed Stuns Everyone, Revises GDP Higher Despite Retail Sales, Inventory Miss

Following today's triple whammy of economic misses, in which first retail sales both declined and missed expectations, and then both business inventories and sales declined and missed from downward revised numbers, AtlantaFed watchers were certain that the keeper of the GDP Nowcast would cut its GDP estimate from 0.1% to zero or even negative.

However, this did not happen. Perhaps due to another tap on the shoulder as a negative GDP print would be just too much to justify the relentless market rally, or as a result of the NY Fed's own competing service now trying to steal the limelight with its own 1.1% GDP forecast, moments ago the Atlanta Fed stunned everyone when it announced that instead of revising its concurrent GDP tracker lower, it actually pushed it up from 0.1% to 0.3%.

This is what it said:

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2016 is 0.3 percent on April 13, up from 0.1 percent on April 8. After this morning's retail sales report from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the forecast for first-quarter real consumer spending growth increased from 1.6 percent to 1.8 percent.

 

What makes this particularly curious is that even Goldman Sachs, which keeps a concurrent tally of GDP components and revises it after every major data point, revised its GDP estimate down from 0.9% to 0.8%: "Details of the retail sales report were slightly negative for our tracking estimate of Q1 GDP growth: we revised down by one tenth to +0.8% (qoq ar)."

Stocks, enthused by this curious interpretation of today's economic data, just took out intraday highs.