Weak economic data is threatening the soft landing thesis. Is the soft landing narrative really changing, or was Wednesday’s retail sales and industrial production reports — both well below expectations — an outlier event? One thing’s for sure: it’s not about future inflation any more, it’s about how much damage the Fed is doing to the economy. Bears are seizing on this to assert that the Federal Reserve has already done so much that they have made a soft landing less likely. Bulls need the economic numbers to improve or have the Fed be less hawkish. That’s the problem: most feel the Fed needs to be hawkish no matter what. Maybe the Fed will stop talking Everyone on the floor is keeping an eye on Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard’s 1:15 pm speech Thursday, but the good news is the central bank’s blackout period begins at midnight Friday, so mercifully the Fedspeak will die down for a few days before the next Fed meeting on Feb. 1. The big story for the first half: Margins Procter & Gamble reported fiscal second-quarter earnings in-line with expectations on revenue that was above consensus and affirmed 2023 earnings, but is trading down 1.7% preopen. The problem: organic sales growth of 5% was entirely achieved by a 10% boost in prices during the quarter. Volumes were down 6%. Procter & Gamble (ex-currency) Organic sales: up 5% Price: up 10% Volume: down 6% The recipe for margin pressure is the consumer pushing back against price increases. We’ll see if we get any buying mid-morning.