Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 23 Sep 16

Podcastlogo 150x150Ted Cruz announced his endorsement of Donald Trump, and #NeverTrump went apoplectic. Meanwhile Trump tightens the race with Hillary to a neck and neck contest, according to the wildly unreliable polls. So, the contest is now down a preference for a candidate who will start Civil War II at home, or World War III abroad. The Fed has no tools left to fix the economy or to unwind the monetary lossening they’ve already made. Michael went to the MRC gala, which sounds like a hoot. Dale continues to wait for an iPhone 7, and notes that innovation at Apple is as dead as fried chicken.

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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Economic Statistics for 22 Sep 16

A tough week, including bad weather and a power outage has impacted my ability to keep up with the economic stats this week, but I think we’re back on track, now.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell from 0.27 to -0.55 in August.

The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.5% in July, and is up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis.

Existing home sales softened in August, falling -0.9% to a 5.33 million annual rate. Sales are only up 0.8% on a year-over-year basis.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators fell -0.2% in August, retracting some of July’s 0.5% gain.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose from -4 to 6 in September.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 8,000 to 252,000. The 4-week average fell 2,250 to 258,500. Continuing claims fell 36,000 to 2.113 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.9 points to 41.3 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-8.6 billion last week, with total assets of $4.473 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $2.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $37.4 billion in the latest week.


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 16 Sep 16

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Donald Trump disavows Obama Birtherism, and says it was all Hillary’s fault, anyway. Hillary takes time out from convalescing to campaign a bit, looking hale and healthy. For now. Not that we’ll know how healthy she actually is, unless she collapses again. There’ll never be another movement Conservative as President, because Americans want their free stuff. Finally, remember to stand, sit, or kneel for the National Anthem.

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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Economic Statistics for 16 Sep 16

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in August, with core prices (less food and energy), up 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis, prices are up 1.1% overall and 2.3% at the core.

Aggressive foreign buying sent net foreign demand for long-term US securities up from $-3.6 billion in June to $103.9 billion in July.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index was unchanged at 89.8 for September.


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Economic Statistics for 15 Sep 16

Producer Prices for Final Demand were unchanged in August. PPI-FD ex-food and-energy rose 0.1% and less trade services rose 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis, PPI-FD is unchanged, prices less food and energy are up 1.0%, and prices less food, energy, and trade services are up 1.2%.

August retail sales fell -0.3% as consumers pulled back. Sales less autos, and sales less autos and gas, were both down -0.1%.

The nation’s current account deficit narrowed in the 2nd Quarter to $-119.9 billion from a revised $-131.8 billion in the 1st Quarter.

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey rose from 2.0 to 12.8 in September.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey rose from -4.21 to -1.99 in September.

Industrial Production fell -0.4% in August, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories also fell -0.4% to 75.5%.

Business Inventories were unchanged in July while sales fell -0.2%. The stock-to-sales ratio was unchanged at 1.39.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 1,000 to 260,000. The 4-week average fell 500 to 260,750. Continuing claims were unchanged at 2.143 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.8 points to 42.2 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $22.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.482 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-22.4 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-8.0 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 13 Sep 16

The Treasury reports the federal government’s deficit is growing, at $-107.1 billion for August. The year-to-date deficit is $-620.8 billion, 17.1% higher than  August, 2015.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell -0.2 points to 94.4 in August.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth rose to 0.8% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 0.4%.


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 9 Sep 16

Podcastlogo 150x150The Seattle Seahawks may do an anti-flag protest on Sunday…the Anniversary of 9/11. Because justice. Donald Trump loves black people. Europeans have much better banking and cell phone technology than we do. The Big Short is a great movie that explains how deeply cronyist corruption has spread in our financial system, and also has Margo Robbie in a bubble bath explaining credit swaps. Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees for creating 1.5 million fraudulent banking accounts to collect service fees from unknowing customers. Apple announced the new iPhone this week, along with the fact that they no longer do innovation. But, really, who does, anymore?

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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Observations: The QandO podcast for 2 Sep 16

Podcastlogo 150x150Hillary Clinton  can barely remember being Secretary of State, much less what happened to her emails. Gun sales to medical marijuana cardholders are banned, so no more shooting while high. SJWs are punchably irritating in every way. 2nd Lieutenants are pretty dumb. Gene Wilder dies. Comedy idea: A half-hour sitcom based in a Nazi prison camp. What is porn good for? Not families, apparently. Government makes a bad family. Black people hate Republicans, but Manhattan millionaire Donald Trump thinks he can change that.

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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Economic Statistics for 2 Sep 16

A lackluster 151,000 net new jobs were created in August, while the Unemployment Rate was unchanged at 4.9%. The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.8%. Average hourly earnings rose 0.1%, but the average workweek fell -0.2 hours to 34.3 hours.

A rise in exports lowered the July trade deficit to $-39.5 billion, down from $-44.5 billion in June.

After monthly declines of -1.2% and -1.8%, factory orders rose 1.9% in July, with core capital goods orders up 1.5%.


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