Despite the recent downbeat economic news, the State Street Investor Confidence Index rose 8.6 points to 123.0 in February.
In weekly retail sales, Redbook reports a 2.9% increase from the previous year. ICSC-Goldman reports a weekly sales drop of -0.6%, and a weak 1.4% increase on a year-over-year basis.
The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.8% in December, a 7.7% increase from the previous year.
The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.8% in December, which was 13.4 higher than the previous year.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index for February fell from 80.7 to 78.1.
The Richmond Fed manufacturing index for February plunged from 12 to -6, the first negative reading since July.
The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey’s business activity index fell 3 points to 0.3 in February. Conversely, the production index rose 3 points to 10.8.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) US Services Flash fell nearly 4 points to 52.7 in February.
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell from 0.16 to -0.39 in January.
This week, Michael, and Dale talk about the Ukraine, Free Speech, and guns.
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The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% in January. The "core" CPI, which excludes food and energy, also rose 0.1%. On a year-over-year basis, both the headline and core CPI rose 1.6%.
Initial jobless claims fell 3,000 to 336,000. The 4-week average rose 1,750 to 338,500, while continuing claims rose 37,000 to 2.981 million.
Markit Economics’ PMI Manufacturing Index Flash for February rose 3 points to 56.7.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.1 points to -30.6 in the latest week.
The Philadelphia Fed Survey’s general conditions index was very negative, dropping to -6.3 in February from January’s 9.4.
The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators rose 0.3% in January.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $29.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.149 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $35.5 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $41.3 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.1% last week, with purchases down -6.0% and re-fis -3.0%.
In weekly retail sales, ICSC Goldman reports a 2.5% weekly sales increase, and a 2.1% year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, Redbook says sales rose 3.2% on a year-ago basis.
Thanks to the extreme cold, housing starts plunged -16% in January to a 0.88 million annual rate.
A completely revised method of reporting Producer prices was released today. The overall PPI for January rose 0.2%, which was 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. The core PPI, less food, energy & trade services, rose 0.1% for the month. There is no annual comparison for the latter method of calculating the core PPI rate. The PPI for goods rose 0.4% for the month, and 0.9% for the year. The PPI for trade services rose 0.1% for the month, and 1.3% for the year.
In the post below, Billy Hollis complained that he’s never really done well shooting in black and white. Of course, I haven’t either, mainly because I don’t shoot in black and white. Instead I shoot in raw, and depend on post-processing to make things look the way I want them to look. For instance, here is a plain old photograph, exported to JPG as shot.
It’s a pretty meh picture. The colors are bland, and frankly, it’s over-exposed by about 1/3 stop. Here is where using a camera that shoots in RAW becomes important. In my case, I’m shooting with a Panasonic Lumix FZ-200 superzoom. Not a pro-grade DSLR, just a regular consumer superzoom with a tiny 1/2.3" sensor (about 6mm x 8mm in size). That’s pretty close to a cell phone camera sensor. But, because it shoots in RAW, I can fiddle with stuff. RAW is a non-compressed photo format that allows you to do non-destructive editing, which means if you fiddle with something and it goes totally wrong, you can always go back to the original shot and try again. You get really fine control over just about everything you can imagine, without affecting the digital negative. In my case, I do the image processing in Adobe Lightroom. You can’t do that sort of image processing when you shoot straight to JPG. Shooting is RAW, therefore, is massively useful, and allows you to do stuff like this to make the colors pop more:
Of course, that means that you get the full range of black and white darkroom options as well. In the picture below, I’ve popped the contrast and clarity, to try and capture the look of 1950s black and white film.
Here, I’ve kept the high contrast, and added graininess, as well as vignetting the edges. 1930′s and 1940′s black and white.
Now, I’ve reversed the contrast to reduce it a lot, removed the grain, and softened the clarity all the way down. This gives it a flat texture and a soft dreamy feel, eliminating fine details.
So, the key takeaway is that pretty lousy shots can be massively improved simply by shooting in RAW format, and spending a little time in post-processing in Lightroom to get the effect you want. Of course, you can take that a bit too far…
There is, after all, such a thing as too much processing.