The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Dueling Coincident Indicators

We all know about leading economic indicators, i.e., those that tell us where the economy is going.  There are also lagging indicators that tell us where the economy has been and are usually not worth knowing.  Lastly, there are coincident economic indicators that tell you where the market is right now.

Two coincident indicators are underwear and guns.  People defer purchasing new underwear during bad economic times, so an increase in underwear sales is a good coincident indicator.  On the other hand, when fear rises going into bad economic times, gun sales also rise.  So, rising gun sales is a bad coincident indicator.

This week, we have learned that underwear sales rose 3%, which is the first increase in three years.  This is good!  However, we also learned that gun sales rose 12% over last year.  This is bad!

So, what’s happening?  I don’t know but expect the increased underwear sales reflect the improving economic environment and fear rising gun sales reflect the worsening political environment.  I hope I’m wrong!