Rover's Weekly Market Brief - 12/22/2023

December 22, 2023 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly


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The U.S. Census Bureau reported new residential building permits were down (-2.5%) in November to a seasonally adjusted 1.460M, (+4.1%) above the November 2022 rate of 1.402M. October’s reading was upwardly revised to 1.498M from 1.471M. Single-family permits were up (+0.7%) to 976K from a revised October figure of 969K. Regionally single-family permits were mixed with a reading of (-1.7%) for both the Northeast and South, while the West (+7.8%) and Midwest (+1.8%) saw increases. Permits for 2 to 4 units reported up (+2.1%), and 5 units or more were down (-9.6%). Privately-owned housing starts jumped a (+14.8%) to 1.560M, from an upwardly revised October estimate of 1.359M, and (+9.3%) above the November 2022 rate of 1.427M. Single-family starts were up a strong (+18.0%) to 1.143M as single-family homebuilding increased in the Midwest (+50.0%), Northeast (+43.1%), and South (+16.9%), while the West (-0.8%) dropped slightly. Housing starts for 5 units or more increased (+8.9%) to 404K from a downwardly revised October figure of 371K and are down (-33.7%) year over year. Privately-owned housing completions reported at 1.447M, up (+5.0%) from October’s downwardly revised 1.378M reading, and up (+6.2%) over November 2022. Single-family housing completions reported in at 960K, a (-3.2%) decrease from October ’s downwardly revised rate of 992K, down (-12.9%) from November 2022.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index® increased for the second straight month to 110.7 (1985=100) in December, marking a 5-month high. The headline reading is up from November’s downwardly revised 101.0, which originally reported in at 102.0. The uptick was driven primarily by consumer optimism related to current and future business conditions as well as the labor market. The Present Situation Index, which is based on consumers’ sentiment toward current business conditions and the labor market, increased to 148.5 from a downwardly revised 136.5. Consumers’ assessment of current business conditions were positive as 21.7% of consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 18.6% in November and 16.5% said business conditions were “bad,” down from 18.9%. The Expectations Index, based on consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions jumped to 85.6 from a downwardly revised 77.4 the previous month; 18.7% of consumers expect business conditions to improve, up from 17.2%; 17.8% of consumers expect more jobs to be available, up from 16.7%; and 18.7% of consumers expect their incomes to increase, up from 17.7%. “The top issue affecting consumers remains rising prices in general, while politics, interest rates, and global conflicts all saw downticks as top concerns,” said Dana Peterson, the chief economist at the Conference Board.

The Commerce Department’s third estimate on the third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth reported the economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.9%. Economic growth was revised down by 0.3 percentage points from the second estimate. The third estimate is well over the 2.1% growth rate set in the second quarter and marks the biggest gain since Q4 2021. Much of the increase can be attributed to a jump in consumer spending which accounts for over two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Increases in inventories, exports, residential investment and government spending were all factors. Consumer spending, as measured by personal consumption expenditures, jumped (+3.1%) in Q3 and follows (+0.8%) reading in Q2. Consumer spending was responsible for 2.11 percentage points (pp) of the total GDP increase. The increase in PCE was driven by spending on services (+2.2%), which added (1.02 pp) to the GDP, while spending on goods increased (+4.9%), adding (1.09 pp). Business investment added (1.74 pp) to GDP, with private inventories adding (1.27 pp). Exports increased (+5.4%) adding (0.59 pp) to GDP while imports increased (+4.2%) subtracting (0.56 pp). Residential spending was up (+6.7%) and added (0.26 pp). Government spending jumped (+5.8%) in Q3, adding (0.99 pp) to GDP. Federal government spending added (0.45 pp) and state-local spending added (0.53 pp) to GDP. The third estimate also includes an alternate measure of economic growth: Gross Domestic Income (GDI), which is a measure of the incomes earned and the costs incurred in the production of gross domestic product. The GDI is the sum of all income across the economy. The second estimate showed the GDI increased (+1.5%), besting Q2’s (+0.5%).

Upcoming Economic Reports:

Thursday December 28 – Pending Home Sales (MoM) (November)

Friday December 29 – Chicago PMI (December)

Earnings Calendar:


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