Friday the 13th occurs at least once and as many as three times a year. Superstition holds it to be a day of bad luck. The fear of Friday the 13th is called “friggatriskaidekaphobia” which is really a concentration of Greek words. The word came about in 1911 and mainstreamed in 1953. In numerology, the number 12 is considered completeness as reflected in 12 months of the year, 12 hours on the clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 bottles of beer in a twin pack, and the list goes on. Many people are scared to death of this day. Some cannot even get out of bed. Just don’t go to Camp Crystal Lake, especially if the tour guide’s name is Jason.
Earlier today, CPI, inflation at the consumer level, hit the tape plus .3% while the core index was up .1%. Auto prices and gasoline were all to do about the increase which in the big picture is quite tame. Actually, our bigger concern is about disinflation as the economy cools. Retail Sales were also in the mix, up .4% with the ex-autos component up .2%. Auto sales were behind most of the push here as well, rising 1.6%. While the numbers look encouraging on the surface, we see the loss of Census workers, loss of emergency unemployment benefits, and the withdrawal of various forms of stimulus starting to drag on the consumer. Retailers will need a great holiday season to make it a good year.
Business Inventories completed the economic trifecta, rising .3% as sales fell .6%. We talked about this earlier in the week, commenting about inventory builds with sales faltering. Not a good prescription for GDP. Trading, post data has been a light volume affair with the 10 year note up 8/32’s, mortgage backs unchanged to up 2/32’s, and stocks down 22 on the big board. We expect a quiet day with a neutral bias.
We see a ton of pessimism build into pricing which could limit further rallies but at the same time, any dips will be a buying opportunity for investors. Given the auction paper to digest and the soft economic background, we expect the market to trade in a small range with a bullish bias, allowing for Austin mortgage pricing to be slightly better or worse from today’s levels over the next week or so. We’ll wrap it up later today.