Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence
The major averages shrugged off their early losses to enter the final hour with modest gains on mixed data. The mainstream media is making much of today’s inflation data, after the CPI or Consumer Price Index beat expectations with a .5% gain in January. One month does not make a trend and the year ago rate was unchanged at +2.1% slightly above the Fed’s stated target of 2%, but below the long-term historical average of 3%. Once again, a large jump in energy prices led the advance. Given recent energy price data and this series should start to decline notably with next month’s release.
Mortgage activity fell 4.1% last week as per the Mortgage Bankers Association with refi’s slipping 1.9%, while purchase apps dropped 5.9%. the 30-year jumbo loan rate increased again hitting 4.55%
Retail sales missed expectations in January with a .3% decline on weakness in Motor Vehicles and Building Materials. Were it not for higher gasoline prices the drop would have been even larger.
Business Inventories advanced .4% in December, a second solid gain. All three of the sub-categories advanced with manufacturing and wholesale particularly strong.