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July CPI Unchanged, No Inflation in Housing Yet

Wednesday, 15 Aug 2012 | 9:37 AM ET

Empire Manufacturing is the first August data point...and at minus 5.8 it was well below expectations of a gain of about 5. Ugh.

AP

At least July CPI, unchanged, was a bit lower than expected. Have you noticed the 10-year yield — back up to over 1.7 percent — better July retail sales was a factor, but yields were heading higher even before that. Federal Reserve(explain this) Chairman Ben Bernanke is speaking at Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Aug. 31.

Curiously, owners equivalent rent (what you could charge if you rented your house out) has remained fairly tame, up 0.2 percent; it has been 0.1 percent or 0.2 percent for months. I had been expecting some increases due to housing bottoming, but apparently not.

The NAHB Housing Market Index for August will soon be out — that has been one of the few bright spots in the economic data.

Elsewhere:

1) China and Hong Kong markets down another 1 percent. No particular catalyst, just lingering concern about lack of stimulus coming from Beijing.

If you doubt that central bank intervention doesn't move markets, look at the Bombay Sensitive Index, closing at a five-month high, reportedly on hopes of central bank easing. A report yesterday showed less inflation than expected, providing cover for bank authorities to ease.

2) Deereput in a rare miss, on both the top and bottom line. Earnings of $1.98 a share, versus expectations of $2.30 a share? Man, that is a miss.

Not surprisingly, the miss was in the biggest unit — agriculture and turf — which is 75 percent of revenue. Sales growth was only 14 percent, about half what was expected. Looks like Europe is really a drag, since the company maintained its full-year sales outlook for the U.S. and Canada, but lowered it for Europe and Asia. About 40 percent of Deere's sales are outside the U.S. and Canada.

Even that optimistic outlook on North America seems a bit suspect — wouldn't the drought make it less likely farmers will buy more machinery?

Deere CEO Samuel Allen said no: "...this year's drought could positively influence our outlook, as it spotlights the need for John Deere's highly productive agricultural equipment."

Really? Really: He insisted higher commodity prices "should result in robust field activity in the 2013 crop year in markets throughout the world."

Sales guidance was lowered to 13 percent, even after it said it will be raising prices by about 4 percent.

3) Abercrombie & Fitch looked poor, with same-store sales down 10 percent. So why is it trading up? Because it pre-announced the miss: On the conference call it said that the last few weeks same-story sales trended a little better. A bigger share buyback also helped. About 25 percent of the retailer's sales are in Europe.

4) Target beat and raised full-year guidance.

—By CNBC’s Bob Pisani

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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