New Deal Democrat Blog | Weekly High Frequency Indicators: More Contrary Movement In Long And Short Leading Indicators | Talkmarkets
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As a professional who started an individual investor for almost 30 years ago, I quickly focused on economic cycles and the order in which they typically proceed. I have been writing about the economy for nearly 15 of those years, developing several alternate systems that include mid-cycle, long ... more

Weekly High Frequency Indicators: More Contrary Movement In Long And Short Leading Indicators

Date: Saturday, January 26, 2019 6:46 AM EDT

Summary

High frequency indicators can give us a nearly up-to-the-moment view of the economy.

The metrics are divided into long leading, short leading, and coincident indicators.

The long-term forecast has improved for the third week in a row.

But the short-term forecast is on the verge of becoming more negative, while the nowcast is only weakly positive.

Purpose

I look at the high frequency weekly indicators because while they can be very noisy, they provide a good nowcast of the economy, and will telegraph the maintenance or change in the economy well before monthly or quarterly data is available. They also are an excellent way to "mark your beliefs to market." In general, I go in order of long leading indicators, then short leading indicators, then coincident indicators.

A Note on Methodology

Data is presented in a "just the facts, ma'am" format with a minimum of commentary so that bias is minimized.

Where relevant, I include 12-month highs and lows in the data in parentheses to the right. All data taken from St. Louis FRED unless otherwise linked.

A few items (e.g., Financial Conditions indexes, regional Fed indexes, stock prices, the yield curve) have their own metrics based on long-term studies of their behavior.

Where data is seasonally adjusted, generally it's scored positively if it's within the top 1/3 of that range, negative in the bottom 1/3, and neutral in between. Where it is not seasonally adjusted, and there are seasonal issues, waiting for the YoY change to change sign will lag the turning point. Thus I make use of a convention: Data is scored neutral if it's less than 1/2 as positive/negative as at its 12-month extreme.

With long leading indicators, which by definition turn at least 12 months before a turning point in the economy as a whole, there's an additional rule: Data is automatically negative if, during an expansion, it has not made a new peak in the past year, with the sole exception that it's scored neutral if it is moving in the right direction and is close to making a new high.

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