The Market Bull – March 14, 2019
The major averages finish about even on disappointing economic data. No resolution to the trade war as the next meeting with China gets pushed back to April at the earliest.
Import prices advanced .6% in February on another large jump in energy costs. Export prices snapped a string of declines with a .5% gain. On a year ago basis import prices came in negative for a 3rd month, down 1.3%. Export prices advanced just .3%. Looked at from the perspective of tariffs and year-over-year growth in core consumer prices is running 0.1 to 0.2% over the past 12 months.
New home sales missed expectations in January falling 6.9% to 607,000 units annualized. This marks the 3rd decline in the last 6-months for the series. All regions fell except the West which jumped 27.8% to 184,000 units annualized. November and December were revised up by 60,000. Month’s supply jumped to 6.6. The median price gained 2.6% to $319,700. On a year ago basis prices are down 3.8% and the inventory situation will start to put increasing pressure on prices going forward.
Rising online sales continue to decimate brick and mortar retail with a 12.1% gain in the 4th quarter to a new record 132.8 billion. This pushed the 2018 total to 513.6 billion, a 14.2% gain from 2017. Traditional Mall Retailers in comparison have seen no sales growth since 2005. While the parade of bankruptcies and store closings continues with no respite in sight.
Standard and Poors 500 Index closed at: 2,808.48 down 2.44
NASDAQ finished the day: 7,630.91 down 12.50
Gold ended trading at: $1,295.80 up $13.50