Today, October 19, Procter & Gamble (PG) reported fiscal year first quarter earnings of $1.61 against Wall Street projections of $1.59. (That’s down 1% from the first quarter of the prior fiscal year.) Sales grew to $20.34 billion versus Wall Street expectations of $19.89 billion. Organic revenue growth was 4% against Wall Street expectations for 2.1%. So as the close today of the stock is down 1.18%. And the results today are seen as disappointing. To figure out why, look beyond those top of the report numbers to the squeeze on margins from higher raw materials costs and from rising expenses for shipping.
China’s economy grew more slowly than expected in the third quarter. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 4.9% in the July-September quarter from a year earlier, the national statistics bureau said today, October 18. That’s a big drop from the 7.9% year over year growth in April-June. Economists had projected growth of 5.2% for the quarter.
As we contemplate the extraordinarily strong earnings from Wall Street’s big banks last week, it’s important to remember that Wall Street isn’t Main Street.
U.S. retail sales rose by 0.7% in September. That follows an upwardly revised 0.9% gain in August, the Commerce Department reported today. The biggest surprise came in autos. Motor vehicle and parts dealer sales rose 0.5% in September after a 3.3% decline in August. Excluding autos, retail sales advanced 0.8% in September. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were looking for a 0.2% decline in overall sales and a 0.5% rise excluding autos.
Need anymore evidence than the stock market action yesterday and today? Yesterday, October 13, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 down for three straight sessions and the index lower by 4.1% from its September 2 high, the market reversed. Suddenly everyone wanted to buy risk again. The most momentum-y of momentum stocks tacked on 4% or more. CrowdStrike gained 7% on the day. Veeva Systems (VEEV) added 4.55%. SentinelOne (S) moved up 7.5%. Even China’s internet giants showed big gains with Tencent Holdings (TCEHY) up 3.62% and Meituan (MPNGF) gaining 4.43%. Today, October 14, investors and traders piled in to pick up the momentum favorites that had been left behind, relatively, in yesterday’s risk-on move. As of 3 p.m. New York time Nvidia (NVDA) up “only” 1.30% yesterday was ahead 3.32% today. Applied Materials (AMAT) u only 1.14% yesterday was up 2.78% today. PayPal (PYPL), which gained just 0.20% yesterday, higher by 4.13% today
Inflation wasn’t so bad in September–as long as you didn’t eat or use any energy. Headline inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% from August and climbed at a 5.4% year over year rate. Core inflation, which excludes increases in the prices of food and energy on the grounds that they’re “volatile” rose by 0.2% from August.
In the last few days both Goldman Sachs and the International Monetary Fund have cut their forecasts for global economic growth. The predictions don’t call for a big slowdown in growth but the trend is definitely downward.
Big bank earnings begin on Wednesday and Thursday. Unfortunately, won’t tell us anything useful about the margin pressures from rising global supply chain shipping costs or higher prices for raw materials. Those are the factors that could produce a quarter’s worth of warnings and unpleasant surprises once third quarter earnings season starts on October 13. But to learn about the effect of those margin pressures on earnings we’re going to have to wait for reports from the consumer and industrial companies that are on the front lines of these trends.
On paper, there was no way that the U.S. economy added less than 200,000 jobs in September–after a strong private payrolls number the previous day from ADP Research and with economists predicting 500,000 jobs or more. But this morning’s report from the Labor Department said the September total was just 194,000. Non-farm payrolls were expected to pick up from August’s weaker than expected 235,000, but instead September’s total showed the job market expanding at an even slower pace–although this morning’s report revised the August total to 366,000 and raised the July total up 38,000 to 1.091 million.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are expecting the economy to have added 500,000 jobs in September. Anything way above or way below the number will move expectations on when the Federal Reserve will begin to reduce its monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed assets from the current level of $120 billion a month. That taper is being widely watched as an indicator of when the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates themselves.
Yesterday Fantasia Holdings Group became the latest property developer to fail to repay a maturing bond. That, plus ratings down grades, put Chinese junk dollar bonds on the edge of their biggest selloff in at least eight years, according to Bloomberg calculations, and pushed yields near a decade high. Fantasia’s missed payment “provides a clear sign that despite piecemeal bailouts of select Evergrande assets, property market stresses remain elevated,” Craig Botham, chief China economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told Bloomberg “The rot is unlikely to stop here.” Traders and investors are clearly worried that other real estate companies will be sucked into the debt crisis