The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI), as of Monday (3/24)

Led by improvements in production related indicators, the CFNAI increased to +0.14 in February from -0.45 in January. The index’s three month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) decreased to -0.18 in February from +0.02 in January marking its first reading below zero in six months. February’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was below its historical trend.”

This is not a good sign; the index peaked around the third quarter of last year and has been sliding toward negative territory since then. To me, it appears the best case scenario now is continued sluggish growth. Continued weakness in the CFNAI-MA3 will portend just that, weakness. Should it fall below -0.7, say hello to the next recession.

Also on Monday the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced flight 370 ended up at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. He has not been forthcoming with information during the search and his words today, absent solid evidence, are certainly suspect.

The Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders for February:

  • New orders for manufactured durable goods in February increased 2.2 percent. The increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases followed a 1.3 percent decrease for January.
  • Shipments of manufactured durable goods in February, following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased 0.9 percent.
  • Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in February, up twelve of the last thirteen months, increased 0.3 percent, the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992.
  • Inventories of manufactured durable goods in February, up ten of the last eleven months, increased 0.8 percent.
  • US raw steel production climbed 3.1 percent last week from the previous week as mills operated at an average capability utilizati0on rate (ACUR) of 78.4 percent. The highest weekly output since last August. In the corresponding week last year mills operated at an ACUR of 76.2 percent. Thus far this year mills have operated at an ACUR of 76.6 percent, down 0.4 percent from the ACUR of 77 percent in the same period last year.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third and final estimate of fourth quarter 2013 growth.

The output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter).”

World Events

Thursday’s news reports an additional 30,000 troops have been amassed on the Russian/Ukrainian border in the past 48 hours. In the mean time, the US House and Senate have voted to expand sanctions against Russian officials against those deemed to be threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty (they continue to shake in their boots). The U.N. General Assembly approved a non-binding resolution calling the Crimean vote to re-join Russia invalid and urged nations not to recognize it. In my opinion, they are a day late and a dollar short. Putin has taken Crimea and he won’t give it back. With our weak leadership at home, lack of leadership (and balls) abroad, Putin may be getting ready to suck up the Ukraine and the other satellites lost as the Soviet Union collapsed. Who is going to stop him?


Fast & Furious-providing weapons to criminals leading to a loss of American life. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The loss of 4 American lives at our embassy in Benghazi, Libya. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The IRS targeting conservative political groups for tax-exempt status. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The National Security Administration eavesdropping on the phone calls of American citizens. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The software program created for the Affordable Healthcare Act, at a cost of $1 billion (thus far) and 3 ½ years to “perfect”, has been unusable to the American people. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
Spying on our Allies, specifically Angela Merkel of Germany. No one held accountable. The president was unaware. (although these things go on knowingly between countries all the time, the fact that our president denies knowledge of this is just another sign of his incompetence as the leader of the most powerful country on the planet).
“If you like your current insurance plan you can keep it. Period” Barack Obama
“If you like your doctor, you can keep him. Period” Barack Obama

Have a great weekend and….

Hug your children and grandchildren, tell them you love them.
Buy American made products whenever you can.
Hire a Veteran: they are patriots, honest, hard working, disciplined, loyal…. and …. They need and deserve our support.

God Bless America