Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 29 Dec 15

November’s international trade goods deficit narrowed to $-60.5 billion from the revised $-63.0 billion in October. Exports fell -2.0%, while imports fell -1.8%.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index rose to 108.3, up 1.0 point from November’s revised reading of 107.3. 

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose 6.1 points in December to 96.5.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.9% in October, and is up 5.5% on a year-over-year basis.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose to 2.5% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.8%.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 23 Dec 15

November durable goods orders were unchanged—which counts as good news now, I guess—while ex-transportation orders fell -0.1%, and core capital goods orders fell -0.4%. On a year-over year basis, Durables orders rose 1.2% overall, but ex-transportation orders fell -1.9% and core capital goods orders fell -1.8%.

Both personal income and spending rose 0.3% in November, while the PCE Price Index was unchanged overall, and up 0.1% at the core. On a year-over-year basis, the PCE Price index is up 0.4% overall, and 1.3% ex-food and -energy.

New home sales rose 4.3% in November to what is still a lower-than-expected annualized rate of 490,000.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose 0.8 points to 92.6 in December.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 7.3% last week, with purchases up 4.0% and refis up 11.0%.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 22 Dec 15

The final revision of 3rd Quarter GDP came in at 2.0% annualized growth, down -0.1% from the 2nd revision. The GDP Price index was unchanged at 1.3%.

Corporate profits in the 3rd Quarter were revised to $1.784 trillion, up a year-on-year 1.3%, down from the initial revision’s 1.4%.

The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.5% in October, which is up 6.1% on a year-over-year basis.

Existing home sales plunged -10.5% in November, to a much lower-than-expected annualized rate of 4.760 million. On a year-over-year basis, sales are down -3.8%.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index climbed back into positive territory in December, rising from -3 to 6.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose only to 1.8% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.5%. Sales have been consistently weak this holiday season.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

An interesting thought experiment

Brought to you by Victor Davis Hanson.  I’m sure you can recognize the intent as well as the real subject:

Would Donald Trump cross the racial line to weigh in on a current high-profile criminal case, and suggest that had he another daughter she would have looked just like the deceased? Would he dare go to the UN Assembly to deplore an average bloody and lawless weekend in Chicago, reminding the world that a tribal U.S. has a long way to go? Or at an Islamic prayer breakfast, would Trump remind Muslims not to get on their religious high horses given the outrages of the Caliphate? Perhaps if Guantanamo is closed by executive order, Trump would reopen it by one too?

Would Trump dare use his sloppy epithets in reference to foreign leaders? Would he dismiss Putin as a back of the class cutup or obsessed with “macho shtick?” Would his aides with impunity tell reporters that the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was a “chicken sh*t?” Would he lecture us that America was as exceptional as Greece or Britain? Maybe he would visit the Middle East and Turkey and remind the world from foreign shores that the U.S. had a lot to own up to?

If Trump were to take selfies, claims he was usually the most interesting guy in the room, set a new presidential record for golf outings, pick the Final Four on live TV, would we still dub him narcissistic, distracted, and buffoonish?

And the biased institution in this bit?

Yup, that’s right, the so-called “unbiased media” which is about as unbiased and a Grand Dragon at a KKK rally (and no, in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t mean I’m for Donald Trump … just to clear the air).  Just remember, in the years since GW Bush left office, not once have we seen a report on anti-war protests, even though Afghanistan still continues, Iraq smolders and we toppled Libya.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 17 Dec 15

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey fell back into negative territory again, facing 6 points to -5.9 in December.

The US current account deficit grew sharply in the 3rd quarter, to $-124.1 billion from a revised $-111.1 billion in the 2nd quarter.

The Conference Board’s Index of leading Indicators rose by 0.4% in November.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 11,000 to 271,000. The 4-week average fell 250 to 270,500. Continuing claims fell 7,000 to 2.238 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.8 points to 40.9 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $9.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.490 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $12.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $15.4 billion in the latest week.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Stray Voltage

There’s a reason the GOP has become known as the “stupid party”. There’s a reason voters seem to be in open rebellion against establishment Republicans. If you are in the dark for reasons there are many, but if you need a couple recent ones, this 1.1 trillion budget deal that raises the deficit by billions of dollars, throws a lifeline to Obamacare, and apparently funds the climate deal might give you a clue.

What in the world does a majority in both houses of Congress do for the GOP if they’re simply going to capitulate to the Democrats and give them everything they want and the Republicans claimed they were against (and if you gave them the chance they’d show you … not). Is it any wonder that there’s a rebellion in the ranks? Keep it up GOP, and you’ll go the way of the Whigs.

And, in case you were wondering if what I said above is true, try this:

Hours after the mammoth spending bill dropped, Democrats are counting their triumphs, outlining conservative policy riders and priorities that were not included in the final spending bill.

A top Democratic Senate aide summed it up in a single tweet. Adam Jentleson, Minority Leader Harry Reid’s deputy chief of staff, wrote:

 

screenshot7

Say, wasn’t that Paul Ryan guy supposed to be the bee’s knees when it came to budget stuff?  Pro Tip: When Harry Reid is celebrating, you did it wrong!

And then there is the Idiot-in-Chief, someone you can always turn too reliably to observe what being totally out of the loop looks like:

Flanked by his national security team, President Obama reassured Americans that there was “no specific, credible threat” against the country ahead of the holidays.

“We do not have any specific and credible information about an attack on the homeland,” Obama said today at the National Counterterrorism Center. “That said, we have to be vigilant.”

That’s always true when you don’t read or attend your own intel briefings.

And on the Social Justice Warrior front, WalMart doubles down on stupid while Martin Luther King rolls over in his grave:

Backlash is growing for the CEO of Sam’s Club after she discussed her dislike for dealing with white men on CNN.

BPR reported Sunday that the company’s black, female CEO Rosalind Brewer planned to call a supplier she met with because she was disgusted that his management staff was filled with all white males.

It was more important to Ms. Brewer that a staff be racially and gender diverse rather than the best people be picked for their jobs. A practice she admitted to CNN’s Poppy Harlow she practices herself.

The president and CEO of WalMart Stores Inc., who owns Sam’s Club, Doug McMillon said the company supports Ms. Brewer and added that they ask their suppliers “to prioritize the talent and diversity of their sales teams.”

“Roz [Brewer] was simply trying to reiterate that we believe diverse and inclusive teams make for a stronger business. That’s all there is to it and I support that important ideal,” he added in the statement.

Yup, it’s not about the content of one’s character or who might be the best person for the job, but instead the color or one’s skin or their sex.  Back to the 40’s WalMart, next you’ll be putting in “separate but equal” water fountains.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Buy Dale’s Books!