Small Business Optimism

August 13, 2019 .Small business optimism rose 1.4 points in July to 104.7 after having declined 1.7 points in June.  The August 2018  level of 108.8  broke the previous record high level of 108.0 set 35 years ago back in July 1983.  The current level of confidence...

Trade Deficit

August 2, 2019 The trade deficit for June was largely unchanged at $55.2 billion compared to $55.3 billion in May.  The $887 million trade deficit in goods for 2018 was a record high level. Trump’s latest round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion of...

Corporate Profits

June 27, 2019 Corporate profits before tax with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments fell 2.6% in the first quarter to $2,251.5 billion after having fallen 0.4% in the fourth quarter.  During the last year profits on this basis have risen 3.4%.  The...

Corporate Leverage

April 2, 2019 Economists like to keep an eye on the amount of leverage amongst corporations.  When corporations take on huge amounts of debt in relation to their net worth, any economic downturn will be much more severe than it would otherwise be as corporations...

S&P 500 Stock Prices

March 15, 2019 The S&P fell 20% in the fourth quarter of last year.   The market appeared to be concerned about a variety of factors.  The expansion is approaching its tenth anniversary which is geriatric, so some economists fear that,for that reason alone, the...

Corporate Cash

December 13, 2018 Corporate cash holdings rose $49 billion in the third quarter to $2.62 trillion (above).  At 9.1% they are a shade lower than their long-run average of 9.4% of non-financial assets (below).  The problem with this series is that every time the Fed...