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Markets on Cruise Control -- But Not for Fiat Chrysler (FCAU)

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Friday, May 25, 2018

This slow news week is at last coming to a close today. Aside from a healthy number of publicly traded retailers announcing quarterly earnings results and a scattering of economic data, there really hasn’t been a lot of news to trade on this week. Even the big peace summit with North Korea got called off — a news item simply for its lack of newsworthiness.

That all changes next week, and in a big way. Following Monday’s Memorial Day holiday here in the U.S. — of which Ahead of Wall Street will be observing, so no new article Monday morning — we see potential game-changers such as Consumer Confidence, a Q1 GDP revision, an ISM Manufacturing release, the ADP private-sector jobs and the big non-farm payroll reports, complete with a new Unemployment Rate.

Speaking of Memorial Day, and its status as one of the biggest travel periods of the year in the U.S., news has just been released that Fiat Chrysler is issuing a recall for 4.8 million domestic vehicles. Apparently, the cruise control feature may fail to disengage for 15 different models — including Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles — over 6 model years. These cars and trucks require a software update to fix the problem. But if you’re hitting the road this weekend in a Chrysler or Dodge vehicle, please take care.

Ahead of the opening bell today, we do see new reads on Durable Goods orders for April. The headline number of -1.7% — which is preliminary, meaning subject to change on future revisions — was worse than expected, and well down from the +2.7% reported in March, which was itself revised up 10 basis points. This figure for last month was expected to wind up in negative territory, but only by a percentage point or so.

However, strip out Transportation and we see this number swing up to +0.9%. This would point to a decline in auto sales last month. Take out Defense spending, this headline figure declines even further, to -1.9%. Core capital equipment orders, non-defense, ex-aircraft, went to +1.0% from -0.4% the previous month. We do tend to see a bit of volatility in these numbers month over month, but longer term we tend to see steadier trend lines.

Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend, everyone. We will catch you on the other side.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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