Perspectives Blog

Hanging in

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | September 20, 2013

…ly an indication that consumers have become more cautious about spending with interest rates leaping higher. Generally, spending trends remain in place with only some modest deceleration. Core retail sales (ex-autos, building materials and gas station sales) serves as a proxy for personal consumption in GDP, and this rose a puny 0.2% in August, the smallest gain in ten months and well below the usual 0.4% gain typically seen. In the last year, th…

Half-time report on the U.S. consumer

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 28, 2014

…to the slower growth trends within these latter two spending categories is health care (pharma and physician services), where real purchases are increasing about 2.5%, and also housing-related categories (furniture, building materials) which have climbed about 8% annually on the housing recovery. Consumption trends (real personal consumption expenditure) tend to be driven by the 87% share of non-durable goods and services purchases (Exhibit 1)….

Gimme credit

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | August 22, 2013

…month. The proxy for Personal Consumption Expenditures (in GDP) rose 0.5%—decent, but revisions to prior months were downward. A bit more worrisome were the very weak results from housing-related spending (furniture, building materials, appliances), likely related to the softer housing activity seen recently and probably in response to the spike in interest rates seen in the second quarter. Some discretionary categories did well (restaurants, clo…