Don’s Notebook March 15, 2018


This morning’s jobless claims report points to strength in the labor market with initial claims down 4,000 in the March 10 week to 226,000.

  • The 4-week average, at 221,500, is down for the seventh time in the last nine weeks and is nearly 7,000 lower than it was a month ago.

Wholesale prices have been uneven and were flat in yesterday’s PPI report, a sharp contrast to the inflationary readings in recent Philly Fed and Empire State reports.

Today’s Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey displays both strength and capacity stress among respondents:

  • At 22.3 in March, the headline index is once again over 20 and shows new orders, at 35.7 (an 11.2 point monthly gain), and unfilled orders at 20.1 (a 5.6 monthly gain).

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, reports 22.5 for March vs a consensus for 15.0 and a high estimate of 16.0.

  • Like the Philly Fed, new orders and backlogs are strong in this sample, at 16.8 for a 3.3 point gain and 12.7 for a respective 7.8 point gain.
  • This sample also shows employment is up, delivery times are slowing and forecasts and could be a forecast of selling prices rising sharply in the months ahead.

Adobe Systems, Broadcom, Dollar General and Ulta Beauty, hold earnings calls today.

P. S. Remember that tomorrow is one of the “Quadruple Witching” Expiration Fridays as March Index Futures, March Index Options, March Single Stock Futures, Equity Options go off the books with either AM or PM Settlements.

P. S. S. Today is the start of “March Madness,” the 64-Team NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

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Dr. Don Pratl is Director of Trader Development and Education for TradeStation. He joined TradeStation in 2016 after holding similar roles with other online brokerages. Don’s long career in the financial services industry reflects expertise in administering trading and investment strategy programs for retail investors as well as financial services professionals. Since the 1980s, he has held various positions in areas including CBOE trading floor order execution, marketing, sales, personnel management, training and customer service. Don holds series 3, 4, 7 and 63 FINRA licenses, earned his Ph.D. in Organization and Management, and his M.A. and B.A. in Political Science. He has been an occasional adjunct college instructor since 2004 at a range of institutions, teaching undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students using in-class and online formats.