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Q2 GDP 2.0% (Final), Wall Street Has One Eye on DC

Mark Vickery

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The third and final read on Q2 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has come out this morning, with no change on the headline: 2.0%. Estimates had been for a tick higher, but 2.0% it is. Forward estimates for Q3, ending the last day of September, are for between 2.0% and 2.6%.

Personal Consumption stayed strong but ticked down 10 basis points to 4.6%, with core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) at +2.9% quarter over quarter. The PCE price index is at +2.4%. However, a big downward revision on Business Investment, from +4.4% previously to -1% now, points to the consumer doing even more of the heavy lifting.

Advance Trade in Goods for August came in more or less expected, to -$72.8 billion, lower than the -$72.3 billion reported for July. Advance Wholesale Inventories grew +0.4% — certainly somewhat skewed by Boeing’s BA inability to sell 737 MAX airplanes, based on company-centric issues. But these figures may also be a sign of the year-long U.S.-China trade war making an appearance in the data. Retail Inventories were 0.0% last month. Not-seasonally adjusted Advance Trade in Goods brought about an even bigger deficit, to -$76.96 billion.

Initial Jobless Claims remained firmly within a range consistent with a strong domestic labor market (220-225K), to 213K from an upwardly revised 210K from the previous week. Continuing Claims continued to impress even more, dropping to 1.65 million from 1.665 million reported the week prior, still down among lows not seen for nearly a half-century.

We will get a more comprehensive look at the jobs market a week from tomorrow, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases its non-farm payroll reports. Strength in the U.S. labor market has been among the most consistent economic metrics we’ve seen over the past several years. Month over month job growth does appear to be slowing, but that is largely because years of employment growth has taken substantial slack out of the market.

Ahead of the opening bell, major indexes are moderately in the green. A continued focus on hope the trade war will reach a conclusion soon are keeping sentiments buoyant. However, political heat in Washington DC threatens this outlook today, so we expect traders to have one eye on the national news during today’s trading.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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