Friday, January 17, 2014

More Weakness Following Mixed Data

Industrial capacity utilization rose last month from 79.1% to 79.2%. While that may seem only marginal, analysts had expected it to decline instead. Ironically, this news is often a precursor to recession. So who knows?

But just after we learned that mortgage foreclosures had declined sharply last year, this just out:
Housing starts declined 9.8%, and permits for new construction declined the most in 7 months. Not pretty!

UPS, the delivery carrier, announced disappointing earnings, but isn't blaming slack Holiday sales. They are blaming the weather instead. Weather seems to be the "go to" excuse for many disappointments on Wall St. By blaming the weather, they can dismiss the bad news as a one-time event that won't recur. (As if weather doesn't recur -- ever!) In other words, "please ignore our disappointing earnings, because we'll do better next time -- we hope!"