My overall assessment of today's U.S. data releases is that -- from an equity market perspective -- one almost couldn't ask for more. I.e., the numbers are good enough to imply that recession risk remains notably low, but not so good as to suggest that the Fed needs to cool things off by raising interest rates anytime soon. Call it Goldilockish...
Here's my rundown:
Jobless Claims: 192k is yet another crazy-low number that, once again, suggests that the U.S. labor market is the definition of strong.
Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey: Headline score was 8.5, versus a consensus estimate of 10.2. Internals show a mixed picture, with strong new manufacturing orders and shipments, but with delivery times slowing (which is not consistent with rising activity) to their first negative score since late 2016. Also on the negative side, the 6-month outlook showed the least optimism since 2016.
Retail Sales: Rose 1.6% month-over-month, versus a 0.8% consensus estimate.
Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) FLASH (preliminary): The mid-April reading shows service sector optimism markedly less-rosy than anticipated (52.9 vs 55 estimate), while manufacturers feel a little better than expected (52.4 vs 52.2 estimate).
Business Inventories: Rose 0.3% in February, right in line with estimates.
Index of Leading Economic Indicators: Rose 0.4%, versus 0.3% consensus estimate.