Beyond Jobs, Car Sales to Give Insight on Consumer Health

This week’s most interesting economic report is Monday’s auto sales release, which will offer a measure of the middle-class consumer and a sector of the stock market that has had a rough ride so far in 2017.

Economists are looking for another solid month of sales north of 17 million new vehicles at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate for March but nothing like the 18.4 million hit in December, the highest since August 2005.

The number would however point to a third consecutive decline on a 12-month rolling basis. With sales peaking and prices set to drop, the secondary effects are expected to be felt beyond car makers and dealers.

Lease and used-vehicle prices are expected to fall sharply this year, according to Ally Financial, which cited its estimate earlier this month when it lowered its 2017 profit forecast.

Morgan Stanley said in a Friday note used-car prices could tumble

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