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Economic Data Deluge

Zacks Equity Research

New economic data adds information to a new trading day ahead of today’s opening bell, with Housing Starts and Building Permits, a fresh Philly Fed survey and, of course, new Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims. Nothing alarming in any of the new metrics, though there may be plenty of articulation of present narratives.

Housing Starts for September came in at 1.256 million seasonally adjusted annualized units, below the 1.32 million estimated and 9.4% lower than the upwardly revised 1.38 million reported for August. One might consider this a big disappointment, but consider the routine volatility for these figures month over month, combined with the 1.38 million starts the highest we’d seen in more than 10 years.

Building Permits for September reached 1.387 million — ahead of the 1.38 million analysts were anticipating, but down 2.7% from August’s read of 1.425 million. This is still an outperformance from the -6.3% month-over-month expectations in new Permits.

This housing data must be seen as good, though not necessarily great — certainly not as great as we’d seen. Lower mortgage rates based on lowering interest rates from the Fed are adding a little fuel to these numbers here, though it remains to be seen whether these sorts of improvements can be expected to continue on pace — assuming, of course, future rate cuts will be forthcoming, which they may not be.

The latest Philly Fed survey for October served up a headline of 5.6, down from the 7.6 expected and lower than the 0.2% drop expected by analysts. The Philly Fed had grown 0.6% month over month as of September, but again — these are volatile numbers that tell a clearer story when one takes a longer view. So we are seeing some weakness in Manufacturing in this region; one concern may be whether we might expect this to bleed over into Consumer numbers elsewhere.

As on almost every Thursday, we have new Initial Jobless Claims, and these continue to provide a very consistent and hearty illustration of the domestic labor market: 214K rose 4000 claims from the previous week’s unrevised 210K — both of which remain strongly within the 200-225K range, which we’ve enjoyed more or less every week for the past couple years. Continuing Claims dipped from a previous 1.69 million to 1.679 million in this latest read — again, strong and consistent with what we’ve seen from healthy jobs numbers elsewhere.

Q3 Earnings Roundup

Union Pacific (UNP) disappointed investors this morning, with a miss on both its Q3 sales and earnings. Reporting earnings of $2.22 per share was 7 cents short of the Zacks consensus, while revenues of $5.52 billion fell 1.9% from analyst estimates. For more on UNP’s earnings, click here.

Morgan Stanley (MS), on the other hand, posted $1.27 per share, easily surpassing the $1.10 expected, on $10 billion in revenues which also topped expectations of $9.68 billion in its Q3. Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) have risen 3.5% on this morning’s report, though still within the median trading range year to date. For more on MS’ earnings, click here.

Zacks Rank #4 (Sell)-rated Honeywell (HON) provided mixed results for its Q3 earnings report, beating by 7 cents on the bottom line to $2.08 per share on $9.08 billion in sales, which came up short of the $9.155 billion analysts were looking for, down 15.6% year over year. For more on HON’s earnings, click here.


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