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Economic Highlights

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Big econ data ahead of Tuesday’s bell is taking the headlines, and all of it is good: October Retail Sales rose 0.8%, better than the 0.5-0.6% analysts had expected. Imports rose 0.5% last month, one-tenth higher than anticipated. Exports were up 0.2% and the Empire State Index rose to +1.5% — the first positive read in the last four months.
Breaking down Retail Sales, ex-autos the read is still +0.8. Ex-food and energy we see +0.6%, which is double the 0.3 expected. Likewise with the Retail Sales Control Group (a measure developed from total industry sales used to determine Personal Consumption Expenditures), which was +0.8% from the +0.4% analysts were looking for.
 
The +0.8 figure is the highest read since April, which hit +1.057%. October also represents the second highest read of the entire year.
 
Import prices more than doubled from September’s +0.2%, revised up month over month, as the October read was. Year over year, imports are -0.2%, one-tenth better than expected. Exports, while up two-tenths in October, are -1.0% year over year.
 
By far the most volatile metric of those released this morning, the Empire State Index swung to a point-and-a-half gain after September’s -6.8%. So business activity in the state of New York finally got back to positive territory for the first time since June.
 
All of these moves are being watched by the regional presidents of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC, or simply The Fed), although Boston President Eric Rosengren is clearly paying even closer attention to economic developments regarding President-elect Trump’s early decisions. This morning, Rosengren said more fiscal policy could mean faster rate hikes.
 
The Dow hit another record high yesterday and looks for a seventh straight day of gains today. The index of 30 mainstay large-cap stocks is up 10 more points ahead of the bell. The S&P 500 looks toward another 5-point gain when the market opens and the Nasdaq — on futures strength of sold-off stocks like Facebook FB and Amazon AMZN in the wake of last week’s election — finally look toward gains, up 31 points 20 minutes before the bell.
 
Home Depot HD is also up following an impressive Q3 earnings beat and raised guidance. The home improvement major is up 73 cents in the pre-market, though the stock is still down 3% year to date.