Morning Report: Retail Sales improve 11/15/16

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2165.0 5.0
Eurostoxx Index 338.3 0.1
Oil (WTI) 44.6 1.3
US dollar index 90.5 0.0
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.22%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.89

Stocks are up modestly this morning on no real news. The bond bears are taking a break today, everywhere except Japan, where the JGB 10 year yield is now positive.

You can see just how dramatic the sell-off in the 10 year has become. Note the big drop in yields as the election was called for Donald Trump, and then the huge reversal. That is the mother of all head fakes. Carl Icahn was buying about a billion dollars worth of S&P 500 futures contracts during that head fake.


Retail Sales came in stronger than expected in October, rising 0.8%. Ex-autos and gas, they rose 0.6%. The October readings are in that sort of trough period between back to school and the holidays. BTS sales were on the weak side, FWIW so I am not sure what this necessarily means for holiday sales. Stocks seem to like it, with the S&P SPDR retailer ETF (XRT) up a couple of percent pre-open.

More stirrings of inflation? Import Prices rose 0.5% in October, higher than expected. The headline number is even more surprising given that the dollar rose during the month, however the increase was pretty much concentrated in the petroleum sector. Export prices fell.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey increased modestly in November, climbing out of negative territory for the first time in 4 months. New York State remains in a bit of a funk compared to the rest of the US. The employment indices fell.

More good news for housing: The Despot reported better than expected earnings this morning as people spend more on home improvement.

Is the firing spree finally over in the financial sector? It could be. Since 2005, approximately 800,000 jobs have been shed in the sector. About the only demand came in compliance.

People have been saying for a while that auto loans are the new subprime. It looks like the next subprime is online consumer loans, which were supposed to disrupt the banking industry, but are taking way more credit losses than anticipated. Technology is all fine and good, but if you can’t analyze credit risk properly, you aren’t going to make it.

Head of the SEC Mary Jo White submitted her resignation, which clears the way for a more pro-free market head of the regulatory body.

The jump in rates has been bad news for many in the mortgage business, as it weighs down the refi shops. VA IRRRLs have been a gravy train for many shops and that party looks to be winding down between higher rates and new rules on securitization. Certainly this isn’t great news for the first time homebuyer, however if the employment market continues to improve, that should offset the increase in rates. It will almost certainly mean that further home price appreciation will be harder to come by, as the affordability gift of low rates goes away. Does that necessarily mean the refi market is dead? Cash-out refis where borrowers can refinance their credit card debt will still make a ton of sense, even if mortgage rates top 4%. We may see an increase in ARM demand as a way to lower payments, but with the Fed in a tightening cycle, that is a risky way to go.

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