Rover's Weekly Market Brief - 05/19/2023


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The Commerce Department reported advance U.S. retail and food services sales rose 0.4% to $686.1B in April, this follows March’s revised (-0.7%) and February’s (-0.4%) readings. Retail sales which are adjusted for seasonal shifts but not inflation were up (+1.6%) year over year. Total sales for the February 2023 through April 2023 period were up (+3.1%) year over year. Much of the sales rebound is attributable to increases in spending for motor vehicles & parts (+0.4%) and internet retailers (+1.2%). In addition, miscellaneous store retailers (+2.4%), health & personal care (+0.9%), general merchandise (+0.9%), and restaurants (+0.6%) all saw sales increases. Sales at sport & hobby (-3.3%), gas stations (-0.8%), home furnishings (-0.7%), and electronics & appliances (-0.5%) all saw decreases. Excluding autos and gasoline, sales were up (+0.6%) for the month. Excluding autos, sales increased (+0.4%). Core retail sales, a measurement that excludes spending on autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services increased (+0.7%) in April, after decreasing (-0.3%) March, and increasing (+0.5%) in February and (+2.3%) in January.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported new residential building permits were down 1.5% in April to a seasonally adjusted 1.416M, (-21.1%) below the April 2022 rate of 1.795M. Single-family permits were up a seven-month high (+3.1%) to 855K, from a revised March figure of 829K. New residential building permits increased in the South (+4.3%) and West (+3.8%), while the Northeast (-23.6%) and Midwest (-15.2%) posted declines. Privately-owned housing starts were up (+2.2%) to 1.401M, (-22.3%) below the April 2022 rate of 1.803M. Single-family starts were up (+1.6%) to 846K, as single-family homebuilding increased in the West (+59.5%). The Midwest (-20.5%), Northeast (-10.3%), and South (-6.1%) all saw single-family starts fall. Privately-owned housing completions reported at 1.375M, down (-10.4%) from a revised March figure of 1.534M, up slightly (+1.0%) over April 2022. Single-family housing completions reported in at 15-month low 971K, a (-6.5%) decrease from the revised March rate of 1.039M, down (-5.2%) from March 2022.

The latest report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, indicated the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index increased to -10.4 in May, up from a nearly three-year low of -31.3 the prior month. The index rates the relative level of general business conditions in the Philadelphia region, with a level above zero indicating expansion and below zero indicating contraction. The index is also widely followed as an indicator of conditions throughout the U.S. This is the ninth straight negative reading and the eleventh in the last twelve months. The report also showed that manufacturing activity continued to decline overall, with new orders and shipments remaining negative and employment declining. The index for current new orders rose 14 points to -8.9, the current shipments index rose 3 points to -4.7, while the future employment index rose 9 points to 12.6. The price indexes remained below long-run averages, with prices received declining 4 points to -7.0. Future indexes reflected muted expectations for growth with the future general activity index declining 9 points to -10.3. Almost 37% of the firms surveyed expected a decrease in activity over the next six months. The future new orders index dropped from 9.8 to -2.3, and the future shipments index sank from 13.3 to 4.5.

Upcoming Economic Reports:

Tuesday May 23 – New Home Sales (April)

Thursday May 25 – GDP (QoQ) (Q1)

Earnings Calendar:


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