Retail Sales (November 2011)
-Retail Sales, Month/Month +0.2%
-Previous and consensus were 0.5%
-Retail Sales less autos, Month/Month 0.2%
-Previous was +0.6% and consensus was +0.4%
-This will temper 4Q2011 GDP expectations, recovery is nearly stalled
Redbook (for ending 12/10)
-Store Sales, Year/Year 2.9%
ISCS-Goldman (for ending 12/10)
Store Sales, Week/Week -0.1%
Store Sales, Year/Year 2.9%
The Consumer Metrics Absolute Demand Index derived from recent 12/11 data on online discretionary spending continued the downward trend which started on 12/2.
All of this data point to a disappointing Christmas shipping season. The season started well with a strong Black Friday and appears to be vanishing like a miniature sleigh with eight tiny reindeer.
Business Inventories (October 2011)
-Inventories, Month/Month +0.8%
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (for December 2011)
-Level Index 92.0. Up from previous 90.2.
-This is an survey index of small businesses
Last Fed Meeting of 2011
FOMC is meeting today and the only topic appears to be whether or not they should announce if they are linking rates to key data such as unemployment or CPI. To me this is insane. The economy is vastly complex and it is not possible now to understand what factors will be important in six months. Moreover, what the Fed does will have more to do with what happens in Europe that it does with domestic fundamentals. Moreover, as I have mentioned here before the unemployment rate is not the best guage of the labor economy. What should be considered is the Labor Participation Rate. The unemployment rate is falling because people are leaving the job market when their benefits expire. That is not good news.