Saturday, July 17, 2010

What's Up with ECRI?

For more than two years, I have been checking out the Economic Cycle Research Institute's data that is released every Friday morning. Until yesterday, I always recall an associated press release, almost always via Reuters, though for a couple of weeks the release was via Dow Jones.

Yesterday, ECRI reported a week-on-week flat Weekly Leading Index number. The data massaging to show a year-on-year growth rate of said WLI came in at a worsening -9.8% (the method of calculating this growth rate has been revealed to me under pledge of confidentiality). Basically this percentage change can worsen or improve despite an unchanged numerical WLI due to year-ago data dropouts and averaging techniques.

ECRI does not publicly release other measures such as its Long Leading Index.

My unscientific observation is that major changes in ECRI's outlook are often reflected in that day's stock market. In other words, I am concerned that the continued worsening in the WLI Growth Rate, recent rapid drop in the absolute number of the WLI itself, other comments that ECRI has made, the lack of a press release, and the sharp drop in the stock market might
indicate that ECRI is questioning its no-double dip recession call.

As always, stay tuned.

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