Thursday, May 9, 2013

Economy/Stock Market May 2013: The Reality Check

If we believe the media the U.S. is still in a recession and the average American is getting poorer. This morning we got the reality check.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the weekly initial jobless claims fell to 323,000 (bloomberg). This is the lowest level since January 2008. The 4-week moving average (which fluctuates less erratically) shrank to 336,750. This is the lowest level since December 2007.

The numbers show that the job market got back to normal. They also signal that the risk for losing ones job is shrinking. Both trends are animating consumer spending - the engine of the economy.

The rising consumption is already translating into climbing revenues & profits for companies that focus on the consumer. Take for instance Walt Disney. The media giant is as American as apple pie and a bellwether for the U.S. economy.

In the first quarter 2013 Disney´s revenues climbed 10% from the year-ago period, their profit jumped 32% (cnbc). Revenue from Disney’s media networks rose 6% , while parks and resorts revenue was up 14% and studio entertainment climbed 13%.
And sales at upmarket grocery stores are accelerating as well. Whole Foods Market reported that same-store sales (without new shop openings) rose 6.9% in the fiscal second quarter that ended April 14. So far this quarter, those sales are up 9.4% (   

The shrinking jobless claims are another confirmation for the upward trend on the stock market. They will fuel more consumer spending in the coming months that will boost company revenues & profits further and fuel the  continuation of the stock market rally.

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