Morning Report: Retail Sales disappoint 7/17/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2457.0 2.0
Eurostoxx Index 387.2 0.4
Oil (WTI) 46.5 0.0
US dollar index 87.3 -0.1
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.30%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 102.625
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.59
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.96

Stocks are higher this morning after a strong GDP report out of China. Bonds and MBS are up.

There isn’t much in the way of market-moving events this week with a sparse economic calendar and the Fed is in the quiet period ahead of their FOMC meeting next week.

Inflation at the consumer level remains below the Fed’s target as the consumer price index was flat MOM and up 1.6% YOY. Ex-food and energy, it was up 0.1% MOM and 1.7% YOY.

Retail sales disappointed, falling 0.2% MOM. The prior month was revised upward however from a drop of 0.3% to a drop of 0.1%. The Street was looking for 0.1% gain. The control group fell 0.1% versus expectations of a 0.4% gain.

Industrial production rose 0.4% MOM while manufacturing production rose 0.2% and capacity utilization ticked up to 76.6%. Improvements in the mining sector accounted for the rise.

Business inventories rose 0.3% as autos increased. Inventory will amount to a slight positive in the Q2 GDP report. The inventory-to-sales ratio is at 1.38, which is elevated compared to historical norms and would ordinarily be associated with a downturn in the economy.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey fell to 9.8 last month, but is still reasonably strong.

Earnings season gets into full gear this week, with a lot of the big banks reporting.

Wells Fargo reported better-than-expected earnings last week. The stock was down about 2% on the news, despite the earnings beat as improvements in credit quality were offset by high expenses. Mortgage origination was down 11% YOY to $56 billion, while applications fell 13% and the size of their pipeline fell 28%. Nonconforming loans rose by $7.3 billion, while second mortgages fell. Mortgage banking revenues fell 19%, however which indicates margin compression.

Mortgage banking revenues at JP Morgan and Citi also fell by 26% and 52% respectively.

Defaults are soaring for subprime auto loans, as the sector has hit new post-crisis highs. While subprime auto loans are not going to have the impact on the economy that subprime mortgages did, this is a tell that all is not necessarily well in consumer-lending land. Despite the aggressive underwriting in auto loans, mortgage credit remains tight as a drum. The auto loan issue is yet another one of the unintended consequences of Fed policy: many of the biggest investors in this sort of paper are pension funds, insurance companies, etc, who have to hit a return bogey and cannot earn enough in government and investment grade paper to meet their actuarial obligations. Many of the state pension funds are solvent only if you squint at the asset return assumptions.

Mortgage credit eased a touch in June, according the the MBA Mortgage Credit Availability Index. Conforming and non-conforming credit eased while government credit tightened.

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