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The Bull Thread

Discussion in 'Stock Market Today' started by bigbear0083, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Europe Breaks Its Range
    Thu, Oct 24, 2019

    Just like the US equity market, European equities have been stuck in a range for the last several months, bouncing up and down between the top and bottom of a sideways trend channel. While we haven't quite gotten there for the US market, Europe's STOXX 600 is actually breaking out to new 52-week highs this morning (although it is still below prior highs from back in early 2018 and then early 2015 as well). Now, if only the US could follow suit.

    [​IMG]

    From the perspective of a US investor, the breakout in European large-cap equities isn't quite there yet, but it's darn close. After adjusting for changes in the value of the dollar, the STOXX 600's 52-week high was back in early July, and even after this morning's gain, the index is just shy of taking out that prior short-lived peak. It may be hard to see on the large chart, so we have zoomed in on the last few days in the red-bordered inset chart in the lower right. As of this writing, the STOXX 600 is just 0.33% from a 52-week high in dollar-adjusted terms.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Initial Jobless Claims Back Down
    Thu, Oct 24, 2019

    After last week's reading was revised higher, this week's reading on jobless claims saw a decline from 218K down to 212K compared to forecasts of 215K. With this reading, jobless claims remain at healthy levels and are well within the range of the past several months. Claims have now spent 241 consecutive weeks at or below 300K and 106 weeks at or below 250K. Both are record streaks.

    [​IMG]

    Turning to the four-week moving average which helps to smooth out some of the week to week fluctuations, a higher print of 215K from September has rolled off of the average to be replaced by this week's 212K. That has brought the moving average down by 0.75K week over week. While that is a small improvement near term, the overall longer-term trend for claims has yet to see any significant and consistent improvements over the past year. That being said, there has not been any deterioration either as claims have held at strong levels relative to history.

    [​IMG]

    Ironically, the four-week moving average was also down 0.75K year over year with this week marking the first YoY decline in eight weeks. Just to illustrate how strong the downtrend in claims has been over the last decade, that eight-week streak was actually the longest streak of consecutive weeks where the four-week moving average was either unchanged or increasing in the last ten years.

    [​IMG]

    On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims fell to 186.3K this week from 201.7K last week. This was also a 12.4K decrease from the same week one year ago. Additionally, NSA claims continue to sit well below the average of 300.96K for the current week of the year since 2000.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Sentiment Turned Around
    Thu, Oct 24, 2019

    Hard to believe that only two weeks ago, AAII's reading on market optimism fell to its lowest reading since May of 2016. Since that bottom, bullish sentiment has rebounded to 35.6%. While still below the historical average of 38.08%, the percentage of bullish investors is now at its highest level since the first week of August when it was 38.4%.

    [​IMG]

    Likewise, market pessimism has fallen considerably since its recent peak of 43.96% from October 10th. Now at 28.27%, the percentage reporting as bearish is at its lowest since September 19th. Bearish sentiment is also back below its historical average for the first time since that same week.

    [​IMG]

    As shown in the charts below, it is not a common occurrence for either bullish or bearish sentiment to rise and fall, respectively, more than 15 percentage points in the span of just two weeks. For bearish sentiment, this was the 60th time that such a move has happened since the start of the survey with this week marking the largest two-week decline since January of this year as the market worked off of its 2018 lows. That time actually saw a larger decline of 20.93 percentage points compared to 15.69 today.

    For bullish sentiment, these types of moves have actually been more common with 78 other occurrences throughout history. In spite of this, it has been much longer since the last time such a move has been observed with the last time this happened being a 16.29 percentage point rise in September of 2017. This was also the last time that both bullish and bearish sentiment simultaneously moved over 15 percentage points in two weeks.

    [​IMG]

    In terms of how the market performs following such sentiment changes, the picture is mixed. The median performance of the S&P 500 has seen outperformance following similar instances one month, six months, and one year later, but underperformance over the next week and 3 months. Across each of the past 31 occurrences, the S&P 500 has been higher more than half the time with the most consistent positive performance being one month and one year later; 71% and 74.2% of the time, respectively. The other periods have been positive about 60% of the time.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    2019 May Be One of the Best Years Ever
    October 23, 2019

    “Everything is awesome, when you’re living out a dream.” The Lego Movie

    As the S&P 500 Index continues to flirt with new record highs, something under the surface is taking place that is making 2019 extremely special. Or dare we say, “awesome”.

    First, let’s look back at last year. 2018 was the first year since 1969 in which both the S&P 500 (stocks) and the 10-year Treasury bond (bonds) both finished the year with a negative return. Toss in the fact that gold and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil were both down last year, and it was one of the worst years ever for a diversified portfolio.

    “As bad as last year was for investors, 2019 is a mirror image, with stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil all potentially finishing the year up double digits for the first time in history,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick.

    As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, it has been a great year for stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil. Of course, there are still more than two months to go in 2019, but this year is shaping up to be one of the best years ever for these four important assets.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Normally a top month, November has been lackluster in Pre-Election Years
    [​IMG]
    November maintains its status among the top performing months as fourth-quarter cash inflows from institutions drive November to lead the best consecutive three-month span November-January. However, the month has taken hits during bear markets and November 2000, down –22.9% (undecided election and a nascent bear), was NASDAQ’s second worst month on record—only October 1987 was worse.

    November begins the “Best Six Months” for the DJIA and S&P 500, and the “Best Eight Months” for NASDAQ. Small caps come into favor during November, but don’t really take off until the last two weeks of the year. November is the number-two DJIA (since 1950), NASDAQ (since 1971) and Russell 2000 (since 1979) month. November is best for S&P 500 (since 1950) and Russell 1000’s (since 1979).
    [​IMG]
    In pre-election years, November’s performance is noticeably weaker. DJIA has advanced in nine of the last 17 pre-election years since 1950 with an average gain of 0.3%. S&P 500 has been up in 10 of the past 17 pre-election years, also gaining on average a rather paltry 0.3%. Small-caps and techs perform better with Russell 2000 climbing in 6 of the past 10 pre-election years, averaging 1.2%. NASDAQ has been up in 7 of the last 12 pre-election year Novembers with an average 0.9% gain. Contributing to pre-election year November’s weaker performance are nasty declines in 1987, 1991 and 2007.
     
  6. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Looking for a Spark in Global Manufacturing
    October 24, 2019

    A U.S.-China trade truce wasn’t enough to spark global manufacturing activity in October.

    Manufacturing activity around the world remains sluggish despite trade progress, according to preliminary Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data for October. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, manufacturing PMIs for the Eurozone, Germany, and Japan remained near multi-year lows in October.

    [​IMG]

    U.S. and China relations have improved this month as both sides became increasingly optimistic before face-to-face talks earlier this month. On October 11, the United States announced that it had reached a verbal trade agreement with China, which both parties are expected to sign at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November. Positive headlines have encouraged investors that the United States and China could be finding common ground in their trade dispute, which has weighed on global demand and curbed manufacturing activity internationally.

    We weren’t expecting to see a significant reversal in manufacturing this quickly, but there were surprisingly few signs of optimism in the October Markit PMI reports. New orders, a gauge of future manufacturing activity, continued to decline across the globe, while measures of employment largely weakened.

    “We’ve taken one step toward a U.S.-China trade deal, but it may take some time for global demand to pick up,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Manufacturing is unlikely to meaningfully improve without significant progress on trade.”

    U.S. manufacturing has also softened this year amid slowing global demand, even though it has been fairly resilient compared to other regions. The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing PMI, our favorite gauge of domestic manufacturing health, has been in contractionary territory for two straight months.

    We’ll be watching for signs of recovery as October economic data starts to roll in, including the ISM report on November 1.
     
  7. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Bull Market Extends to 3,885 Days; 2x Longer and Stronger Than Average
    Mon, Oct 28, 2019

    It has been just over three months since the S&P 500 made its last all-time closing high on July 26th. If we get a close above 3,025.86 today, the current bull market will extend to 3,885 days using the standard bull market definition of a 20%+ rally that was preceded by a 20%+ decline on a closing basis. As shown in the table of post-WW2 bull markets below, this one easily ranks as the second longest and second strongest on record. We're now more than 1,000 days longer than the 1949-1956 and 1974-1980 bulls, and we're nearly 2,000 days longer than the 2002-2007 bull. We're also more than double the average bull market in terms of both length and gain. The average bull sees a gain of 154.4% over 1,700 days versus this bull's gain of 349.5% over 3,885 days.

    While this bull has certainly been a long one, the S&P would have to continue rallying for nearly two more years before it can take over the trophy for the longest bull market on record. From December 1987 to March 2000 (4,494 days), the index gained 582.1% without experiencing a single 20% decline on a closing basis.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    NASDAQ Best on November’s First Trading Day
    [​IMG]
    Based upon data in the soon to be available Stock Trader’s Almanac for 2020 on page 88, the first trading day of November is the sixth best of all monthly first trading days since September 1997 based upon total DJIA point gained. DJIA and S&P 500 have been up 12 of the last 21 years on the first trading day of November. NASDAQ has the best record, up 13 times with an average gain of 0.29%.
     
  9. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Typical November Trading: First Month of “Best Months”
    [​IMG]
    November’s long-term track record has been stellar. It is the number one month of the year for S&P 500 since 1950 with an average gain of 1.6%, up 47 times in 69 years. DJIA’s record matches S&P 500, up 47 of 69 with an average gain of 1.6% although November is DJIA’s second best month. NASDAQ also averages a 1.6% gain in November (second best), up 33 times in 48 years (since 1971).

    Over the more recent 21-year period, 1998 to 2018, November’s average performance has remained solid. November has opened well with gains during the first four or five trading days depending on index. From there trading has become rather choppy with gains receding through mid-month before a low around the fourteenth trading day. At which point bullish holiday spirit has kicked in around Thanksgiving propelling all indexes to a strong rally to finish the month.
     
  10. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Will The Fed Go Three For Three?
    October 29, 2019

    The Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) is widely expected to cut interest rates on Wednesday, October 30, which would be the third cut this year after nine consecutive hikes.

    The current fed funds rate target is 1.75–2%, with a 25 basis point cut likely happening this week. As discussed in Market Tricks and Treats, we think there will be only one more rate cut this year, and we don’t expect the Fed to take its policy rate below 1.5%, even in 2020.

    It is important to note that the Fed started new cycles of rate cuts in 2001 and 2007 with 50 basis point cuts, implying they were more worried than they were letting on. Seeing that this cycle has had cuts of only 25 basis points so far, the cuts are being viewed more as “insurance” rather than warding off an impending recession.

    “We’ve seen periods of economic slowdowns that had three consecutive 25 basis point cuts, most recently in the mid- and late 1990s,” explained LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “The good news is the economy accelerated after the slowdowns and stocks did quite as well.”

    As the LPL Chart of the Day shows, stocks delivered impressive results after three initial 25 basis point cuts in 1975, 1996, and 1998, with the S&P 500 Index up more than 10% six months later and 20% a year later.

    [​IMG]

    As history shows, we don’t have to fear more Fed rate cuts, instead they just might have bulls smiling.
     
  11. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    The U.S. Economy Chugs Along
    October 30, 2019

    Gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed for a third quarter, but the U.S. economy is still chugging along at an average pace.

    GDP grew 1.9% in the third quarter, its slowest pace of growth since the fourth quarter of 2018, as shown in the LPL Chart of the Day. Still, GDP increased 2% year over year last quarter, slightly below 2.1% year-over-year average growth since the cycle started in July 2009.

    [​IMG]

    The composition of growth last quarter showed U.S. consumers pulled the economy along once again. Consumer spending contributed 1.9 percentage points to the GDP increase during the quarter, while government spending added 0.4 percentage points. Housing contributed 0.2 percentage points, a nice surprise after residential investment dragged on growth for six straight quarters.

    Business spending reduced overall GDP growth by 0.4 percentage points, its biggest drag on growth since the fourth quarter of 2015. Growth in capital expenditures (capex) has stalled as U.S. companies have shelved expansion plans amid a surge in global uncertainty.

    “The economy continues to muddle through at an average pace of growth,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “While we’re not surprised to see another dull quarter for capex, we’d like to see business spending eventually pick up this late in the cycle. Higher business spending could provide a boost to productivity, and higher productivity could jumpstart GDP growth.”

    Unfortunately, we don’t expect to see a material increase in capex growth until the United States and China make more significant progress on the trade front. The U.S.-China limited trade deal could provide some lift as tensions thaw, but we think companies may need to see more evidence of a larger compromise before feeling confident enough to spend.
     
  12. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    New Highs for the Transports of Today and Yesteryear
    Thu, Nov 7, 2019

    The S&P 500 is trading at another new all-time high today and one development that has a lot of technicians excited is that the Dow Transports is also poised to close at a new all-time high as well. For many market watchers, the new high in the Transports helps to serve as confirmation of the rally in the overall market. For these investors, the emphasis on the Transports stems from the fact that companies in this index were always involved in moving goods from point A to point B, and therefore, these stocks would be the first to reflect strength or weakness in the broader economy. With the Transports on pace to close at an all-time high for the first time in over a year today, the strength helps to serve as confirmation of the broader market rally.

    [​IMG]

    While transportation stocks are still heavily involved in the moving of goods across and into and out of the United States, the US economy of the 21st century is not the same economy of the 20th century. Economic activity today is much more service and digitally-oriented than manufactured and goods oriented. Because of the shift, the importance of the transports as a leading indicator of the economy has lost some of its relevance. We have contended for some time that the 'transports' of today's 21st-century economy are the semiconductors as they are embedded in just about every aspect of our lives from computers to cellphones and even toilets!.

    Whether you look to the semis or the transports as a market leader, today it doesn't really matter. That's because just as the Dow Transports hit a new high this morning, so too did the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX). Today's rally for the SOX only made a marginal new high, but with the index at all-time highs and sitting on a 51% YTD gain, they don't seem to be anticipating anything much in the way of a slowdown.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Bulls Stay in Motion
    November 5, 2019

    “An object in motion tends to remain in motion along a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force.” Sir Isaac Newton

    What a year it has been for the bulls. The S&P 500 Index recently made four more new highs, and it’s up more than 20% for the year (as of Nov. 4). This leads to the big question: What could happen in the final two months of 2019? Well, we think the bulls might like it.

    “A good year tends to see continued strong performance the final two months of the year,” explained LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “In fact, when the S&P 500 has been up 20% or more for the year heading into the usually bullish November, stocks have never dropped in November, while December also has tended to see a strong upward bias.”

    As the LPL Chart of the day shows, going back to 1950, when the S&P 500 was up more than 20% heading into November, then the final two months were up an average of 6.2%. The S&P 500 has also never fallen in the final two months of the year after closing October up more than 20% for the year.

    This phenomenon could be due to portfolio managers buying to play catch-up, or it could be that an object in motion stays in motion, as Newton noted more than 300 years ago.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Steady Services Activity
    November 6, 2019

    The U.S. services sector has steadily expanded this year, even as trade fears drag down manufacturing.

    The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing (services) Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) climbed to 54.7 in October, its 117th straight month in expansionary territory (above 50). As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, in recent months ISM’s manufacturing and services PMIs have diverged the most since 2015.

    [​IMG]

    While the growing difference between manufacturing and services data is curious, we see it as a reflection of global weakness in the midst of moderating domestic growth. U.S. manufacturing has been susceptible to a downturn in global factory production as international trade has broken down and demand has dried up.

    “We tend to write more about gauges of manufacturing health, as manufacturing is a bellwether for the economy and corporate profits,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Services data, however, shows that consumers are still willing to spend amid a tenuous global environment. That dynamic alone could power the expansion forward.”

    Manufacturing comprises about 12% of total gross domestic product, while services sectors (such as food services, real estate, and entertainment) account for a much larger swath of output.

    There are still signs of trade-related impacts in services, though. Respondents in the ISM’s October survey noted concerns about trade and geopolitical issues, as well as a shortage of labor resources. ISM’s services gauge hasn’t been completely immune from global weakness, either—it has dropped noticeably from an economic cycle peak reached September 2018.

    Still, we’d expect to see more deterioration in services activity if a recession were imminent. ISM’s steady low-50 readings show us the U.S. economy is slowing, but it’s still growing at a moderate pace.
     
  15. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Pre-Election Year Patterns: A November Market Pause
    [​IMG]
    Now that we’ve survived Octoberphobia and the market has begun to strengthen again, breaking out above resistance and logging new highs on DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ, we are likely to experience a bit of consolidation here in November. Normally the top S&P month of the year and #2 for DJIA, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000, November has been weaker in Pre-Election Years.

    As you can see in the updated chart of Pre-Election Year Seasonal Patterns overlaid with 2019 we have been tracking all year November tends to be flat in the Pre-Election Year with a pop around Thanksgiving. Then after the usual first half of December softness the market tends to push toward additional new highs near yearend. Considering the banner performance so far this year and the uncanny tracking of this historical seasonal pattern, we expect the stock to consolidate over the next few weeks and then resume its march higher.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Presidential Cycle Stars Align for Stocks in 2020
    [​IMG]
    Despite all of the geopolitical events, things still look good for stocks next year with an incumbent running. The potential for a decent trade truce with China, along with an economy that’s still growing and accommodative interest rates add up to a continuation of the bull market.

    With the Stock Trader’s Almanac 2020 coming off the press this week here’s a little preview of some our analysis and outlook that’s in the 53rd Annual Edition.

    Presidential incumbency is a powerful phenomenon and the driving force behind the 4-Year Presidential Election Cycle. This quadrennial quadrille is what has made the Pre-Election Year the best year of the cycle and Election Year second best. Since 1952 S&P 500 is up 12.5% on average in election years when a sitting president is running for reelection vs. 6.7% in all election years and –1.5% in election years with an open field and no incumbent commander-in-chief running for a second term.

    We are also arguably now experiencing some fiscal and monetary policy synchronicity. After several years of conflicting policy the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Federal government are finally getting in synch. Interest rates are historically low and the Fed has lowered rates again at the last three scheduled FOMC meetings at the same time as fiscal policy has been lowering taxes and increasing spending. These dual pro-growth policies should continue to propel the stock market higher.

    Gains will of course not come without pause and correction. The world stage will continue to feature some challenging geopolitical, political, diplomatic, trade-related and economic storylines. U.S. presidential campaign politics will increasingly focus on domestic political disputes, standoffs and unfinished business – as well as impeachment proceedings. But when all is said and done, we expect 2020 to be a positive year based on the historical patterns and cycles and current favorable policies, healthy economics, and positive market behavior.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Seasonally Strong Period, But…
    [​IMG]
    As I head to Las Vegas for my annual pilgrimage to @MoneyShows TradersEXPO I am both thrilled and shocked to hear everybody on Wall Street and the financial media talking about bullish yearend market seasonality and practically every one of them has used the phrase, “seasonally strong period.”

    I’m thrilled because it validates what we already know and what I live and breathe: that there are clear evidence-based results of real, consistent, tradable and investable seasonal market patterns. I am shocked at how late many of them are to the party. We’ve been in bullish Best Six Months mode since our Seasonal MACD Buy Signal on October 11.

    Since our October 11 Buy Signal we have tactically maneuvered out of our defensive positions in Bonds, Cyclicals, Utilities and others and into the main U.S. equity index ETFs: DIA, SPY, QQQ and IWM and the gamut of seasonally strong growth sectors over three weeks ago. We also put out a brand new Stock Basket of undervalued growth stocks under Wall Street’s radar.

    Market seasonality is clearly firing on all pistons as it has been all year, but everyone’s is jumping on the seasonal bandwagon just a two regular seasonal soft patches are about to come around on the calendar. Now that our Bullish Halloween Trading Strategy is complete with some big market gains at the end of October and the beginning of November we are on the lookout for weakness ahead of Thanksgiving.

    Next week is two weeks before Thanksgiving and we’ve shown in several recent posts, it is part of the mid-November soft patch. Then stocks usually pick up in anticipation of Thanksgiving and continue to rally through the end of November. After thanksgiving watch out, the first couple weeks of December are notoriously choppy and not especially bullish as tax-loss selling kicks into high gear.

    With the market elevated and the news ever changing, stocks will be vulnerable to these perennial weak spots.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. bigbear0083

    bigbear0083 Content Manager
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    Small Business Optimism Bounces More Than Expected
    Tue, Nov 12, 2019

    Small business optimism increased more than expected in October, rising from 101.8 up to 102.4 compared to economist expectations for an increase to just 102.0. After a sharp drop from its high in August 2018, small business sentiment hasn't rebounded much off its lows, but it is at least showing some sign of optimism.

    [​IMG]

    We have pointed out in the past how drops in sentiment among small business owners have typically peaked well in advance of recessions, and looking at a long-term chart, every prior recession was preceded by a peak in this indicator. While that's true, we would also note that there are also a number of periods early and mid-cycle where sentiment also declined by similar amounts but rebounded to make new highs. Therefore, we wouldn't put too much into the recent decline as a high confidence indicator of an impending recession.

    [​IMG]

    With regards to the biggest issues small business owners are facing, labor continues to be a big problem. In this month's survey, one in four small business owners cited Quality of Labor as the most important problem, which was up from 23% last month. Behind Labor Quality, Taxes, Red Tape, Cost of Labor, and Competition were all cited by at least 10% of small business owners. Way on down the list are Inflation and Interest Rates which were cited by a total of only 3% of small business owners.

    [​IMG]

    Below we show the historical percentage of small business owners who cited Labor Quality as their number one problem. Back in August, this reading hit a record high of 27%, but at 25%, it still sits at extraordinarily high levels. While labor costs have been held in check to this point, never before have employers had so much trouble finding qualified workers.

    [​IMG]
     

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