Small Business Optimism

November 12, 2019 .Small business optimism rose 0.6 point in October to 102.4 after having fallen 1.5 points in September.  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...

Trade Deficit

November 5, 2019 The trade deficit for September narrowed by $2.6 billion  to 52.5 billion.  The $887 billion trade deficit in goods for 2018 was a record high level. Trump’s latest round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion of consumer goods from China, the...

S&P 500 Stock Prices

November 1, 2019 The stock market continues to power its way upwards to a series of record high levels. Given that many economists worry about slower growth overseas particularly in China which is the world’s second largest economy,  weakness in the U.S....

Trade-Weighted Dollar

October 8, 2019 The trade-weighted value of the dollar, which represents the value of the dollar against the currencies of a broad group of U.S. trading partners has risen 4.0% from where it was at this time last year. When you try to figure out the impact of currency...

Corporate Cash

October 8, 2019 Corporate cash holdings rose $134 billion in the second quarter to $2.80 trillion (above).  At 10.5% they are significantly higher than their long-run average of 9.8% of non-financial assets (below).  The problem with this series is that every time the...

Corporate Profits

August 29, 2019 Corporate profits before tax with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments jumped 5.3% in the second quarter after having fallen 3.8% in the first quarter.  During the last year profits on this basis have risen 2.7%.  The IVA and CC...