Late August is like Ramadan for investors -- nothing to chew
on for weeks. But things are about to change as the calendar
advances toward September, and not only in that I'll be stuck in
traffic behind your trailer-hitched boat and Jet-Skis this
weekend. Jobs and consumer spending will be key to understanding
how the economy can be expected to perform in the back-third of
the year, especially when holiday season comes back around.
Personal Income & Spending numbers were flat this morning
-- +0.1% in both personal income and spending for July, so we're
looking a little harder in the rearview mirror here. But it's
hard to avoid that both are flat, which stays consistent with
previous months, and this reflects not much of a boost to the
Again, consider this is relative ancient history; August jobs
numbers, for instance, are up, and plenty of companies have
guided toward increased spending in our still-current month. Next
week's jobs numbers -- the ADP private sector report on Wednesday
and especially the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) non-farm
payroll report on Friday -- will be much more instrumental in
understanding where we are now, as opposed to how we were in the
middle of the summer.
What does this mean for the markets today? Hard to say, but I
wouldn't expect anything to really catch fire based on this
morning's data. And considering the ongoing saga in Syria and a
possible (probable) Congressional cat-fight over the debt ceiling
(again) this fall -- to say nothing of what may transpire from
the September Fed meeting regarding QE tapering (succinctly:
expect some) -- I think we're still looking at an unbaked cake.
After all, it's still August. I know lots of successful people
like to get ahead when they can, but honestly -- what is there to
move on right now?
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