[Sorry for the delay getting my posts out today, its annoying when you have to both make a living and get some sleep. -ed]
In the Investors’ Soapbox AM feature by CSFB In U.S. Auto Sales Get the Bum Steer [Barrons] they find a very strong correlation between the demand for housing activity and full-sized pickup-truck sales (what about Porsches’ ?).
They were exploring the sources of demand for autos and were able to more narrowly define the sources of the swings in demand. Since auto-related jobs account for about 1/6 of US jobs, the direction of the housing market would appear to be magnified when combined with the plight of the auto industry. It makes a case for the Fed to stop after their 15th rate increase.
While scrap rates and household penetration (along with population growth) dictate the level of structural demand, we have identified four macroeconomic factors that explain about 85% of the swings above or below trend in any given year: income growth; unemployment; home sales (or the more primary factor — interest rates); and home prices. (This is an expansion on our old two-factor model, which included just unemployment and income growth.)
We also found a powerful relationship between housing activity and full-size pickup-truck sales. A housing-related slowdown in demand for pickup trucks could be particularly damaging for Ford Motor, who relies on the segment for about 30% of sales in the U.S. (versus 23% for General Motors and 17% for Chrysler).
I better wash my pickup truck this weekend because I don’t want anything to happen to my house.