New Orders for Durable Goods Declined 1.7% in July
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Implications:  A dip in airline orders masked otherwise widespread gains in durable goods orders in July, pushing total orders down 1.7%.  Strip out the typically volatile transportation sector, and durable goods rose 0.2%.  A look at the details shows rising orders for computers & electronic products, machinery, and primary metals offset a 0.2% decline in orders for electrical equipment.  What is most important is that the trend in orders continues to show a healthy pace of activity, with total orders up 9.2% in the past year (though this was amplified by an abnormally large decline in the July 2017 report), and orders excluding transportation up 8.0%.  All this data begs the question, what about those pesky trade concerns the media keeps talking about?  As far as the data show, companies (and consumers) don't seem nearly as worried as the pouting pundits.  We expect this trend to continue as the tax rate cuts, full expensing of equipment for tax purposes, and easing of backorders boost business activity through the remainder of 2018 and into 2019.  Possibly the best news in today's report was a 0.9% increase in shipments of non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a key input in the calculation of GDP growth.  If unchanged in August and September, these shipments will be up at a 6.5% annualized rate in Q3 versus the Q2 average.  Paired with other recent data, it looks like real GDP is growing at a 4.5% annual rate in Q3.  How do you reconcile GDP growth on track for the best year since 2005 – and continued data refusing to show a slowdown - with calls that a recession is looming?  We aren't quite sure how the fearmongers are doing it either.  The Kevlar economy has the fundamentals behind it, and plenty of room to run.    

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Posted on Friday, August 24, 2018 @ 10:40 AM

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.