Short story: Inventories up, orders down. Here’s the slightly longer version from Zero Hedge:
We have been keeping a close eye on economic reports in the month of March and as of this morning’s just reported Durable Goods number we are now officially at miss 15 of 17. The headline print was +2.2% to a total of $211.8 billion, on expectations of +3.0%, up from a revised -3.6% decline in January. Ex-transportation, the number was +1.6% on expectations of a 1.7% increase, while Non-defense ex aircraft was up 1.2% on Exp. of 1.5%. The primary driver in the core slump was electrical equipment which slide 2.5% in February from $10.5 billion to $10.25 billion – are Americans getting all “gizmoed out?” And finally, for those who are saying the inventory restocking is over, we have two words: Dead Wrong. “Inventories of manufactured durable goods in February, up twenty-six consecutive months, increased $1.6 billion or 0.4 percent to $373.7 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 0.6 percent January increase.
Look for lower profits as businesses cut prices to clear inventories. They’ll have to cut hiring, too, until the shelves are emptier.