Long leading indicators show improvement in the economy

February 12, 2024 | by


Long leading indicators, such as interest rates and credit spreads, have shown signs of improvement, signaling positive growth in the economy. This is further supported by stock prices reaching another all-time high. However, there are some concerns among coincident indicators, particularly weakness in tax withholding. Housing indicators have also exhibited mixed results, with purchase mortgage applications and real estate loans showing varying trends. Another notable change is the monthly release of money supply data. While corporate profits for Q4 have declined sharply, they still remain positive. Credit conditions, as measured by the Chicago Fed’s indexes, have improved but are still classified as neutral. On the other hand, short leading indicators, such as the Miller Score and Financial Stress Index, suggest a possible future recession. The US dollar and commodity prices have both remained neutral. Despite the record-breaking stock prices, Regional Fed New Orders Indexes indicate a decline in business activity. However, there is a glimmer of hope as initial jobless claims have decreased.

Long leading indicators

Long leading indicators, such as interest rates and credit spreads, show improvement. This is a positive sign for the economy as it suggests that borrowing costs are decreasing and access to credit is becoming easier for businesses and consumers. The lower interest rates can incentivize borrowing and investment, which can spur economic growth. Additionally, improving credit spreads indicate that investors have a decreased perception of risk, as they are demanding lower yields for taking on credit exposure. A healthy credit market is crucial for economic expansion as it facilitates lending and investment activities.

Stock prices

Stock prices have reached another all-time high. This indicates strong investor confidence and optimism about the future prospects of the market. A rise in stock prices can stimulate consumer spending and business investment, as individuals may feel wealthier due to the increase in their investment portfolios. Moreover, it can provide companies with access to additional capital through equity financing, which can support their growth initiatives. However, it is important for investors and market participants to remain cautious and monitor any potential risks or vulnerabilities that may arise in the stock market.

5uHfSyjCti7s1nH4OXfpjAloJoU2gCdewViTlTaCl 1

Weakness in tax withholding

Weakness in tax withholding is a concern among coincident indicators. Tax withholding is a reflection of individuals’ income and employment levels. When tax withholdings weaken, it suggests a possible decline in employment or income, which can have negative implications for consumer spending and overall economic activity. Furthermore, weak tax withholdings can lead to reduced tax revenue for the government, which may limit its ability to fund public programs and initiatives. It is important for policymakers and economists to closely monitor tax withholding data as it provides insights into the overall health of the economy.

Housing indicators

Housing indicators, such as purchase mortgage applications and real estate loans, show mixed results. The purchase mortgage applications reflect the demand for housing, as individuals seek financing to purchase properties. Mixed results in purchase mortgage applications indicate that the housing market is experiencing fluctuations in demand, which may be influenced by factors such as interest rates, affordability, and consumer sentiment. Similarly, mixed results in real estate loans suggest variability in lending activity for real estate projects. Housing is a critical sector for the economy, and fluctuations in these indicators can have ripple effects on related industries, such as construction and home improvement.

Money supply data

Money supply data is now only released monthly. Money supply refers to the total amount of money in circulation within an economy. It encompasses both physical currency and liquid assets held by individuals and businesses. Previously, money supply data was released on a more frequent basis, which allowed for more timely assessments of monetary conditions. The shift to the monthly release of this data may limit the ability to assess changes in the money supply in a timely manner. Accurate and up-to-date information on money supply is essential for understanding inflationary pressures, liquidity in financial markets, and the overall health of the economy.

Corporate profits for Q4

Corporate profits for Q4 have experienced a sharp decline but remain positive. These profits represent the earnings generated by companies after deducting expenses and taxes. The decline in profits can be attributed to various factors, such as increased costs, changes in consumer behavior, or economic slowdowns. Despite the decline, the fact that profits remain positive indicates that companies are still generating earnings, albeit at a lower level. Monitoring corporate profits is crucial as they provide insights into the financial health of businesses and their ability to invest, hire, and contribute to economic growth.

Credit conditions

Credit conditions have improved but remain neutral according to the Chicago Fed’s indexes. The Chicago Fed’s indexes assess various factors related to credit availability and credit market conditions. The improvement in credit conditions suggests that lenders are becoming more willing to extend credit to borrowers and the overall credit environment is becoming more accommodative. However, the neutral assessment implies that while credit conditions have improved, they are not yet in an overly restrictive or overly expansionary mode. It is important to maintain a balanced credit environment to avoid excessive borrowing and potential risks to financial stability.

Short leading indicators

Short leading indicators, such as the Miller Score and Financial Stress Index, suggest a possible future recession. These indicators analyze a variety of factors, including economic data, market sentiment, and financial conditions, to assess the likelihood of a recession in the near term. The indication of a possible recession warrants attention and further analysis to understand the underlying factors and potential risks. By monitoring short leading indicators, policymakers, businesses, and investors can make more informed decisions and take appropriate actions to mitigate the impact of a potential recession.

US dollar and commodity prices

The US dollar and commodity prices remain neutral. The US dollar plays a crucial role in international trade and its value can have significant implications for exports, imports, and overall economic competitiveness. A neutral assessment suggests that the US dollar is not exhibiting significant strength or weakness relative to other currencies. Commodity prices, which include essential resources such as oil, metals, and agricultural products, are also critical for economic activity, as they can influence production costs, inflation, and trade balances. A neutral assessment implies that commodity prices are relatively stable without significant price spikes or declines.

Initial jobless claims

Initial jobless claims have decreased. This indicates that fewer individuals have filed for unemployment benefits, which suggests an improvement in labor market conditions. A decrease in jobless claims is a positive sign as it indicates a lower level of layoffs and potential job losses. A strong labor market is essential for overall economic growth, as it supports consumer spending, income growth, and business activity. However, it is important to continue monitoring jobless claims and other labor market indicators to assess the sustainability of the improvement and any potential shifts in employment trends.


View all

view all

Discover more from StockCoin

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading