US: Durable Goods Orders


Tue Oct 27 07:30:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
New Orders - M/M change -1.0% -4.0% to 0.2% -1.2% -2.0% -3.0%
Ex-transportation - M/M -0.1% -0.6% to 1.2% -0.4% 0.0% -0.9%
Core capital goods – M/M change -0.3% -0.2% -1.6%
New Orders - Yr/Yr Change -3.0% -2.3% -3.3%
Ex-transportation - Yr/Yr -5.3% -3.9% -4.8%
Core capital goods – Yr/Yr -7.3% -5.2% -6.6%

Highlights
The factory sector is showing cracks with orders contracting slightly more than expected, down 1.2 percent in September with August's contraction revised lower to minus 3.0 percent. Other readings are likewise weak with ex-transportation down 0.4 percent following a downward revised 0.9 percent decline in August and with core capital goods orders down 0.3 percent after falling a downward revised 1.6 percent in August.

Other readings include a second straight and sharp 0.6 percent decline in unfilled orders and a third straight decline in inventories, down 0.3 percent which is the sharpest decline since May 2013. The decline in unfilled orders suggests that factories, lacking new orders, are working down backlogs while the decline in inventories points to growing caution in the business outlook. But factories are keeping up shipments which is good for GDP, up 0.2 percent after August's 0.5 percent decline with core capital goods shipments up 0.5 percent after a 0.8 percent decline.

Motor vehicles are a positive in the report, showing a 1.8 percent gain in new orders and a 1.6 percent gain in shipments with both reversing similar sized declines in August. Also positive are electrical equipment and fabricated metals, with both perhaps getting a boost from construction, along with defense aircraft and defense capital goods.

Industries showing declines in new orders include primary metals, machinery, and computers & electronics. Orders for civilian aircraft fell 62 percent in September following a 23 percent decline in August.

This report falls in line with industrial production data where manufacturing in September slipped for the fourth time in five months. Weakness in exports is the balancing factor tipping the factory sector away from growth.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
Durable goods orders are expected to dip 1.0 percent in September with the ex-transportation reading, where aircraft are stripped out, showing only marginal weakness at minus 0.1 percent. This report, together with the manufacturing component of the industrial production report, are definitive indicators for the factory sector, and both have been showing significant weakness over the last year. Softness in exports, the result of the strong dollar and weak foreign demand, has been tipping the factory sector into the contractionary column.

Definition
Durable goods orders reflect the new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for immediate and future delivery of factory hard goods. The first release, the advance, provides an early estimate of durable goods orders. About two weeks later, more complete and revised data are available in the factory orders report. The data for the previous month are usually revised a second time upon the release of the new month's data.

Durable goods orders are available nationally by both industry and market categories. A new order is accompanied by a legally binding agreement to purchase for immediate or future delivery. Advance durable goods orders no longer include data on semiconductors since semiconductor manufacturers stopped releasing this information to the Census Bureau.

The advance durable goods report also contains information on shipments, unfilled orders and inventories. Shipments represent deliveries made, valued at net selling price after discounts and allowances, excluding freight charges and excise taxes. Semiconductor data are available for shipments and inventories. Unfilled orders are those received but not yet delivered.

In 2001, the Census Bureau shifted from the standard industrial classification (SIC) system to the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). This caused some realignment of major industry classifications. Given the significant revisions incurred, the historical data now begin in 1992.




Description
Investors want to keep their finger on the pulse of the economy because it usually dictates how various types of investments will perform. Rising equity prices thrive on growing corporate profits - which in turn stem from healthy economic growth. Healthy economic growth is not necessarily a negative for the bond market, but bond investors are highly sensitive to inflationary pressures. When the economy is growing too quickly and cannot meet demand, it can pave the road for inflation. By tracking economic data such durable goods orders, investors will know what the economic backdrop is for these markets and their portfolios.

Orders for durable goods show how busy factories will be in the months to come, as manufacturers work to fill those orders. The data not only provide insight to demand for items such as refrigerators and cars, but also business investment such as industrial machinery, electrical machinery and computers. If companies commit to spending more on equipment and other capital, they are obviously experiencing sustainable growth in their business. Increased expenditures on investment goods set the stage for greater productive capacity in the country and reduce the prospects for inflation.

Durable goods orders tell investors what to expect from the manufacturing sector, a major component of the economy, and therefore a major influence on their investments.

Importance
Durable goods orders are a leading indicator of industrial production and capital spending.

Interpretation
The bond market will rally (fall) when durable goods orders are weak (strong). A moderately healthy report for new orders bodes well for corporate profits and the stock market, however. Durable goods orders are one of the most volatile economic indicators reported in the month and this series can be revised by significant amounts from one month to the next. More than any other indicator, it is imperative to follow either three-month moving averages of the monthly levels or year-over-year percent changes. These adjustments smooth out the monthly variability and provide a clearer picture of the trend in the manufacturing sector.

Whenever economic indicators are particularly volatile, it becomes customary to exclude the more variable components from the total. For instance, market players exclude defense orders and transportation orders from durable goods because these fluctuate more than the overall total. Incidentally, aircraft orders are the guilty culprit, which are included in both of these categories. Airplanes are ordered in quantity, not one at a time. Analysts exclude the categories containing aircraft orders because they obscure the underlying trend, not because the aircraft industry is unimportant.

Economists closely watch nondefense capital goods orders as a leading indicator of capital spending. Typically, traders follow the special series for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft because it shows the underlying trend for equipment investment after discounting sharp swings from aircraft orders.

Durable goods orders are measured in nominal dollars. Economic performance depends on real, rather than nominal growth rates. One can compare the trend growth rate in durable goods orders with that of the PPI for finished goods to assess the growth rate in real orders.