Economic data: Home builder survey, NY Fed survey

Home builder survey punk but we know that already
The Jan NAHB home builder survey came in at 16, 1 pt below expectations and flat with Dec and Nov. Both the Present Conditions and Future Expectations components were unchanged too with Dec and Nov. Prospective Buyers Traffic inched up 1 pt to 12. To put all these figures into perspective, 50 is the breakeven between expansion and contraction. NAHB Chairman said “a severe lack of construction financing, and widespread difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisal values, continue to limit builders’ ability to prepare for anticipated improvements in buyer demand in 2011.” Certainly in parts of the West and South, they also have the still competitive threat from foreclosures. Bottom line, we know housing remains depressed in many areas of the country and thus the data is neither a surprise nor market moving.

NY Fed survey about in line
The Jan NY Fed survey at 11.9 was about in line with expectations of 12.5 and up from 9.9 in Dec. The data is typically volatile and thus becomes much less of a market mover. For example, New Orders rose from +2 to +12.4 but was -23.8 in Nov and +10 in Oct. Backlogs rose 7 pts but is below zero for a 10th straight month. Employment rose almost 12 pts to 8.4 but was 9.1 in Nov. Inflation pressures were clearly apparent as Prices Paid rose 7 pts to 35.8, the most since May ’10 and Prices Received were up by 12 pts to the highest since Oct ’08 at 15.8. The overall 6 month outlook rose 10 pts to the best since Apr ’04. Bottom line, notwithstanding the monthly bounce around of this figure, the expansion in mfr’g in the NY region continues but let’s wait to see other regional indexes and the ISM in order to draw conclusions on the degree.

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