10 Things You Need to Know: February 21, 2024

 Key data releases this week include: leading economic indicators (Tue), FOMC meeting minutes (Wed), and existing homes sales (Fri).


February 13, 2024

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% during January following a 0.2% December gain. A 0.2% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The 3.1% y/y rise remained below the peak 9.1% y/y increase in June of 2022. Prices excluding food & energy rose 0.4% (3.9% y/y) last month. A 0.3% increase had been expected.


February 16, 2024

The Producer Price Index for final demand rose 0.3% (0.9% y/y) in January after easing 0.1% in December. A 0.1% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Producer prices excluding food & energy rose 0.5% (2.0% y/y) in January after easing 0.1% in December. A 0.2% increase had been expected.


February 15, 2024

Retail sales declined 0.8% (+0.6% y/y) during January after increasing 0.4% in December, and little change in November. A 0.1% easing had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales in the retail control group declined 0.4% (+2.5% y/y) after increasing 0.6% in December.

Financial Times

February 15, 2024

The UK slipped into a recession in the second half of 2023 after GDP fell more than expected. Economists were forecasting a 0.1% drop for the fourth quarter but data from the UK Office for National Statistics revealed it shrank 0.3%, which sent the economy into a technical recession following a 0.1% decline the quarter before.


February 20, 2024

China cut its benchmark mortgage rate by 25 basis points, the biggest ever cut, as authorities seek to boost the economy. The five-year loan prime rate was cut from 4.20% to 3.95%, and the one-year LPR was left at 3.45%. Economists had predicted a cut of between five and 15 basis points.

Nikkei Asian Review

February 15, 2024

Japan has slipped into a technical recession after reporting a higher-than-expected 0.4% contraction in the fourth quarter of last year. The slip cost it its title as the world’s third-biggest economy, with Germany taking its place. Markets were expecting the economy to grow 1.4% in the final three months of 2023.


February 19, 2024

Are investors getting complacent? Last week’s Investors Intelligence sentiment survey showed the highest percentage of self-described bulls since the summer of 2021. Market strategists have been raising year-end price targets for the S&P 500. The Cboe equity put/call ratio is about as low as it gets historically, meaning more bets on rising stock prices than falling. Fund flows have been strong, even with the S&P 500 trading at a demanding 20.5 times 12-month forward earnings.

Reuters, MarketWatch

February 14, 2024, February 14, 2024

Inflation could still be on track to return to 2% even if inflation numbers are higher than expected for a few months, according to Austan Goolsbee, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. However, uncertainty about inflation is encouraging the Fed to take a patient approach to rate cuts.


February 13, 2024

OPEC only partially delivered new oil production cuts in the first month of its latest supply pact, according to a report from the group. The uneven compliance adds to the challenge of balancing world oil markets faced by OPEC, which also nudged up its estimates for rival oil supplies this year and next by 150,000 barrels a day.