The Day’s Economic Data

There was some modestly good news on CPI, industrial production, and the Empire State business conditions index. I don’t know if that’s what is moving the stock market today — I hope not for all the data is pretty tenuous.

All of the following is from Reuters:


Consumer prices rose 0.7 percent in June, the biggest gain since July 2008, although most of the increase was due to soaring gasoline prices and so-called core inflation remained relatively tame, Labor Department data showed.

Gasoline prices jumped 17.3 percent last month, the largest increase since September 2005.

Still, compared with the same period last year, the Consumer Price Index was down 1.4 percent, the biggest decline since the period ended January 1950.

Stripping out volatile energy and food prices, the closely watched core CPI edged up 0.2 percent in June to stand 1.7 percent above its year-ago level.

That should for the time being put the deflation talk to bed.

Industrial Production

Federal Reserve data showed that U.S. industrial production fell by a smaller-than-expected 0.4 percent last month, reinforcing hopes the pace of the economy’s decline was slowing, although the result was helped by strong utilities production.

For the second quarter as a whole, output fell at an annual rate of 11.6 percent, a more moderate contraction than in the first quarter, when production fell at a 19.1 percent rate.

Lots of second derivative grasping at straws in that analysis. Note that utilities production helped the numbers. Summer is here, it gets hot and electricity production increases. Somehow that doesn’t tell me that the economy is doing all that much better, oops, I mean getting sicker slower.

Empire State Index

A separate report from the New York Federal Reserve Bank showed the decline in factory activity in New York state was easing, bolstering recovery hopes. The Empire State business conditions index rose to minus 0.55 in July, the highest reading since April 2008, from minus 9.41 in June.

The improvement reflected a big jump in the new orders index, which reached its its highest point since December 2007, while the inventories index fell to a record low.

There is a positive here but it’s only a one month data point.

I don’t intend to be negative, it’s against my nature. Nevertheless, I can’t get that worked up about these numbers.

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