Since consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of economic activity, investors keep a close eye on the retail sales data. Following strong readings during the fall, retail sales posted unexpected declines for three straight months.
However, the data recently released for March showed that they increased a healthy 0.6% from February, breaking the unwelcome trend, and positive for rates.
However information on housing starts was not as encouraging as the retail sales data. On the surface, overall home construction in March looked good with a stronger than expected increase from February, but this was completely due to strength in the multi-family segment.
Single-family housing starts fell 4% from February, and permits to build single-family homes dropped even more to the lowest level since September 2017. This is a time when we desperately need housing starts to be be increasing.
And Here’s Your Monday Morning Coffee…
It is still graduation season, so here are some great quotes from famous commencement speeches:
Pursue whatever it is that you want to do with your life. It is the only secret to happiness that I know except for maybe true love, that and maybe having the amazing health insurance plan that our congressmen have. ~ Lewis Black
From where I stand from an outsider’s perspective, here’s the truth: You are all nerds, all of you, except here’s the difference. You are the nerds who are going to make some serious bank, which is why I am here today … to marry the best-looking amongst you. ~ Mindy Kaling
Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
There is also sadness today, a feeling of loss that you’re leaving Harvard forever. Well, let me assure you that you never really leave Harvard. The Harvard Fundraising Committee will be on your ass until the day you die. ~ Conan O’Brien
Even though, as a class, you are smart, you are still allowed to say, “I don’t know.” Just because you are in high demand, you are still allowed to say, “Let me get back to you.” This will come in handy when your parents ask when you plan to move out of their basement and you answer, “I don’t know. Let me get back to you. ~ Amy Poehler
You will never have more energy or enthusiasm, hair, or brain cells than you have today. ~ Tom and Ray Magliozzi
And don’t worry if we do not approve of your choices. In our benign self-absorption, I believe we have given you a gift; a particular form of independence, for you do not owe the previous generation anything. Thanks to us, you owe it to the Chinese. ~ Steven Colbert
So, what’s it like in the real world? Well, the food is better, but beyond that, I don’t recommend it. ~ Bill Watterston
Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that. ~ Ellen Degeneres
You’re going to fall down, but the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up. ~ Aaron Sorkin
Go to it. Be bold. Be true. Be kind. Rotate your tires. Don’t drink so much. There aren’t going to be enough liver transplants to go around. ~ Richard Russo
I just listened to that inner voice. By the way, it’s always a good move to listen to that inner voice… if it doesn’t lead to a crime. ~ Lisa Kudrow
If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. ~ Bette Reese
It doesn’t matter that your dream came true if you spent your whole life sleeping. ~ Jerry Zucker
You will find the key to success under the alarm clock. ~ Benjamin Franklin
Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere. ~ Erma Bombeck
So long as your desire to explore is greater than your desire to not screw up, you’re on the right track. ~ Ed Helms
The unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing about your life, is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective. ~ Jon Stewart
If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of payments. ~ Earl Wilson
Now, I know that having a honorary doctorate degree will do nothing for me, but I’m here to tell you today that your degrees, the ones you toiled to get, the ones you actually took classes to earn, those degrees, will also basically do nothing. ~ Charlie Day
Your whole life is ahead of you. Not the fun part. That part’s over. ~ Seth Meyers
I know that I am supposed to say something meaningful to you. Maybe some good advice for you to always remember. Now, I usually try not to give advice. Information, yes; advice, no. But what has worked for me may not work for you. Well, take for instance what has worked for me. Wigs. Tight clothes. Push-up bras. High-heel shoes. ~Dolly Parton
Be the left shark. Remember last Super Bowl, when the Patriots won? You may be thinking of Tom Brady’s deflated balls right now, but I’m thinking of Katy Perry’s half-time performance. She was on stage dancing with two sharks. The shark on the right knew every dance move and performed perfectly. But it was the left shark, the one who went rogue and danced to his own crazy beat, who stole the show. So don’t ever be a conformist for convenience’s sake. ~ Meredith Vieira