Economic Data In a Nutshell – September 29, 2017

A long week of incremental U.S. economic data closes on this final trading day of Q3, with August Personal Income and Spending results hitting the tape ahead of this morning’s opening bell. Both headline numbers came in exactly as expected: Personal Income +0.2%, Spending +0.1%.

Both figures are pointed in the right direction, but again we are seeing very sluggish inflation metrics, as we have for the past couple years or so. July’s income headline was revised downward by one-tenth to 0.3%. The Personal Consumption Expenditure Core came in at only half the expected 0.2%. And year-over-year, the 0.3% growth in August represents the lowest gains of the year. So while the upward momentum can still be seen in a positive light, its overall tepid results may continue to frustrate those looking for real traction of a robust economy.

That said, income growing at a faster pace than spending — slight those these numbers may be — is an overall good development, in that wage growth remains the missing puzzle piece for most of these robust economic scenarios. With jobs numbers remaining healthy (adjusting for hurricane-related losses over the past few weeks, which should come back as recovery efforts are completed), higher wages are what many economists have been looking for in order to see inflation increase at the optimum 2%.

ROKU Hits IPO Homerun

TV streaming start-up Roku Inc.  zoomed ahead 67% on its opening trading day, rising from its Initial Public Offering (IPO) price of $14 to roughly $23.50 at Thursday’s close. This relatively quiet entry into the stock market — as opposed to much louder (and tumultuous) bids from Snapchat (SNAP Free Report)  and Blue Apron (APRN Free Report)  earlier this year — looks to be the biggest IPO success story of 2017, if the company can hold its strong gains.

Roku’s CFO has already mapped out a fresh business plan for the company, saying that content is the future of its industry, not sticks and set-top boxes. According to a report this morning from MarketWatch, the executive says 80% of Roku’s gross profits currently come from its platform business. The Silicon Valley-based tech firm is up another 9.7% in today’s pre-market.

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