Good News on Durable Goods, Disappointing New Home Sales

I guess the meme that said we need to see housing rebound before we really start pulling out of the recession has been put on the shelf. A lackluster new home sales report for May was overshadowed by the durable goods report. The news is pushing up equities across the board.

Here is the news from the NYT on durable goods:

The Commerce Department said demand for durable goods rose 1.8 percent last month, far better than the 0.6 percent decline that economists expected. It matched the rise in April, with both months posting the best performance since December 2007, when the recession began.

Orders for non-defense capital goods, a proxy for business investment plans, rose 4.8 percent, the biggest increase since September 2004. That could signal that businesses have stopped trimming their investment spending.

The back-to-back monthly gains in orders for durable goods — items expected to last at least three years — were further evidence that a dismal stretch for manufacturers may be nearing an end. But analysts say any sustained rebound is months away.

“This is a pretty good report and welcome news in the hard-pressed (capital expenditure) sector,” M. Cary Leahey, an economist at New York-based consulting firm Decision Economics, wrote in a research note.

And also from the Times, the info on new home sales:

Still, new new-home sales dropped 0.6 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000, from a downwardly revised April rate of 344,000. Economists had expected a sales pace of 360,000 last month, according to Thomson Reuters. Sales were down nearly 33 percent from May last year.

The median sales price, $221,600, was down 3.4 percent from a year earlier but up 4.2 percent from April.

It’s probably a good idea to keep the durable goods order report in perspective. It’s a very volatile number, subject to significant revisions as well as wild month-to-month fluctuations. It’s nice to see an upward trend but part of it could be due to inventory rebuilding rather than strong end-user demand. Don’t get too excited.

About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

Visit: But Then What

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.