Howdy y’all!

I am in the Dallas airport heading home from attending a fantastic Lions at Tampa win yesterday, hence today’s theme. Inflation is hotter than a Detroit Lions tailgate party, and the recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report is proof. The Lions have had a nice winning streak lately, and inflation continues to work the waiver wire, with a 0.4% increase – one-tenth hotter than expected. Year over year, it’s been a consistent 3.7% inflation rate, similar to the Lions’ consistent performance on the field.

The Core CPI, which takes out food and energy prices, offered little relief. It increased by 0.3%, right on the money with estimates, and year over year, it’s still hanging at 4.1%. We all knew energy prices would throw a wrench in our financial playbook, and they sure did, with gasoline prices rising by 2.1%. Food prices were comparatively tame, only rising by 0.2%, while used car prices took a nosedive, falling by 2.5%. Shelter costs? Well, they’re like the Lions’ hopes of a Super Bowl win – rising by 7.2% year over year.

How about Motor Vehicle Insurance, which is like the Lions’ defense – dropping the hammer. It rose by 1.3% and is up a whopping 19% year-over-year, thanks to natural disasters and car theft, hitting a 15-year high. The Fed can’t tackle that problem with a rate hike.

Meanwhile, the September Producer Price Index (PPI) report was a surprise. Producer inflation was as unpredictable, increasing by 0.5% when we expected 0.3%. Energy prices, just like a Lions’ comeback, rose by 3.3%. Food prices also joined the inflation party, rising by 0.9%. The Core rate, stripping out food and energy, rose by 0.3%, exceeding estimates. Year over year, it climbed to 2.7%, surprising everyone.

Initial Jobless Claims are looking stable in the job market, with just 209,000 claims. But when we look closer, there’s some inconsistency. Only 86,000 job gains in the Household survey, and all the gains were in part-time jobs. Full-time employment has dropped by 692,000 in the last three months. It’s like the Lions’ history, with ups and downs that remind us of past recessions.

As for the Fed, their playbook seems as varied as the Buc’s coaching staff. Some are calling for multiple rate hikes, while others think the current data suggests no more hikes are needed. It’s like trying to predict if the Lions’ will go for it on fourth down or punt. We’ve heard from a slew of Fed officials, and there’s clear dissension in their ranks. It’s like watching a Lions game where the fans are divided on what the team should do next. It’ll be interesting to see how they play it out before their November 1 meeting. Who will jump on the bandwagon?!

The market is placing an 86% chance on the Fed staying put in November. The Fed minutes may have given us some more clues, but like the Lions’ previous seasons, they’re already a bit dated. Let’s hope the Fed’s decision is more successful than the Lions’ last few seasons.

The 49ers and the Eagles both lost yesterday, so my Lions are now tied for the best record (5-1) in the NFL through the sixth week. Plenty of season left, but in this VERY rare moment, I must celebrate the small wins daily…as is life! 😊