This morning's stock market news review highlights data on Industrial Production, NY area manufacturing, mortgage activity, import and export prices, petroleum status, the WTO meeting and the corporate news schedule. The "Greek Factor" ranges from +3 to -3, and is a subjective measure of The Greek's view of the market impact of individual and aggregate news and the day's scheduled events.
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.
Just about every data point in this morning's stock market news review rubs us the wrong way, though only mildly so. Thus, the aggregate "Greek Factor" rating for trade today is only modestly negative, and we expect the market will remain relatively flat through close, barring any unforeseen event.
Industrial Production Greek Factor: -1
Industrial Production increased 0.2% in August, meeting economists' expectations, but the gain came with the aid of a downward adjustment to July's expansion. Capacity Utilization fell to 74.7% in August, falling short of forecasts for 74.8% and the prior month's mark of the same. This is not good news folks, and reinforces concerns about the US manufacturing space.
NY Manufacturing Greek Factor: -1
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey showed the General Business Conditions Index slipped 3 points to 4.1 in September. That's still a positive reading, but represents deterioration and is nearing a point representing economic contraction. Therefore, this is NOT good news, no matter what the NY Fed tells you.
Mortgage Activity Greek Factor: -1
Although the Mortgage Bankers Association says it adjusted for Labor Day, you tell me… The Market Composite Index fell 8.9% in the week ended September 10. Despite the fact that rates fell, with the 30-year mortgage and 15-year mortgage average contracted fixed rates dropping to 4.47% (from 4.5%) and 3.96% (4.0%), the Refinance Index sank 10.8%. Purchase activity also declined from its already slim volume, as the Purchase Index indicated in its 0.4% decline. Though this latest data is clearly skewed by Labor Day, it offers no reason to cheer, and boy could we use one.
Import/Export Prices Greek Factor: -1
Import and Export Prices were reported this morning for the month of August, and both increased significantly. The 0.6% increase in import prices was 58% explainable by a rise in energy prices in August. Export prices rose 0.8%, and were largely driven by both agricultural goods and non-ag prices, but wheat jumped 31.1%, no doubt impacted by the drought in Russia. Might those old suspects again return to pressure overall pricing, like we once warned; those are fuel and foods folks, and we worry they could force general pricing higher despite the economic situation. It's an unhealthy situation though, not an appeasement to deflation. Thus, rest not.
The EIA reports Petroleum Status at 10:30 this morning. Last week's report covering the period ending September 3, showed crude oil inventory fell by 1.9 million barrels. Gasoline stocks fell by 0.2 million barrels last week as well. Both oil and gasoline inventories remain above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Thus, there's little pressure on prices at the moment, and so expect to see energy prices move on current economic data and economist warnings regarding longer term demand.
New World Order maniacs get on your guard, as the WTO is meeting in Geneva to discuss world trade, common currency and microchips. Okay, just the world trade thing... as far as we know...
Corporate News Drivers
In corporate news, look for the FDA to take up cardiovascular effects of Abbott Labs' (NYSE: ABT) Meridia, a drug meant to treat obesity. The Deutsche Bank Securities (NYSE: DB) Technology Conference highlights presentations by Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI). The Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Retail Conference will showcase Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Target (NYSE: TGT). The CLSA Investors Forum headlines a presentation by Merck (NYSE: MRK).
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